It is imperative that parents are aware of what their child is doing online especially in the dating space. While in most cases it is unsafe for teens to be dating online, it is best to have an open and honest conversation with them about meeting people online. There are a number of social network sites for teens to date or meet new friends, many of which are could make your child a target for online predators.
So what should you do if you discover your teen is online dating? The first step would be discussing the dangers of online dating and that the people they are talking to are essentially strangers with some who have possibly created a fake profile and could be a predator. The next would be to monitor their behaviour online and if you discover they are still online dating you can block those websites.
An app that has come under fire for its lack of age barrier is Tinder, a matchmaking mobile app that uses GPS technology to match with anyone within a certain radius. The minimum age to create an account is just 13 and currently according to Tinder 7 per cent of its total user base is between the age of 13 and 17. Recently a group of Melbournians created fake profiles on the app and exposed paedophiles who were undeterred by the fact that they revealed to them that the girl they were talking to was underage.
Other online teen dating sites that parents should be aware of include:
- MyLOL – Site for teenagers that has a teen dating component
- OurTeenNetwork – A place for teen dating and social networking
- Fun Date City – A community for young people to chat, date and play games
- Crush Zone – Free teen dating site and mobile app
Hear more on this topic at our upcoming conference “Protecting Children and Youth Online” which will discuss some of these important issues over two days in April.
The conference will address how to:
- Develop and continuously improve execution of your school policy
- Engage, educate and empower parents to support school cyber safety
- Utilise existing school resources to efficiently implement online safety
- Support and maximise youth led initiatives to build a culture of digital responsibility
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