My budding romance depended on whether I heard the shrill ring of an old-fashioned land-line phone. The social lives of today’s teens don’t revolve around waiting for their phones to ring.Teens are much more likely to connect with each other through some form of social media, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or matchmaking apps such as Tinder and Hot Or Not.Plus, there’s time to think about how to respond in the most perfect, witty way, which just doesn’t happen in that awkward moment when you’re trying to talk to a crush.Still, my daughter says, talking and flirting online really isn’t the same as doing so in person.It’s no surprise to learn that 81 percent of teens use social media, according to data from The Pew Research Center.Sure, teens still meet in the same ways that kids always have, but the low social risks associated with flirting online have made that option more acceptable to some than trying to talk face to face in a crowded school hallway.The gist is that both users answer extensive lists of questions, which then scientifically connect you with really strong potential matches.
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When they’re online, teens have the freedom to be whoever they want, which may be a good thing for a shy kid who just doesn’t feel comfortable talking directly to people. One mom I know was distressed to discover that her daughter had created multiple personalities on Tumblr, including one that seemed to invite followers of her blog to send inappropriate photos to her.
Some of the girls quoted in the high school newspaper story said they got fed up with using Tinder when boys immediately requested that they send nude photos.
As with most parenting issues concerning teens, one of the best things we can do is to talk to our teens about the possible dangers of dating online, experts say.
Though teens think they know everything, they really can be naïve and trusting just when they need to be wary and skeptical.