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Meeting and chatting to others online is a normal part of life for most teenagers, but using online dating services could put them at risk. So much of a teenager’s social life happens online and many feel really comfortable using the internet to meet people.
The opportunity to meet and flirt with people outside their immediate social circle can be hugely exciting to a young person, particularly at a time where they are exploring their understanding of sex and relationships.
Dating sites encourage users to share their personal information, but it isn’t a good idea for your child to do so.
Remind your child that they should never do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
They may try to trick a young person into believing that they are trustworthy, that they are a friend or they may even pretend that they are the same age.
Many popular dating apps allow the user to share their location or chat to people in their area – this increases the potential for a ‘real-life’ meeting.
The ability to make contact with strangers located nearby is exciting, but young people should never be encouraged to meet up with anybody they’ve only ever met online.
If you find out that your child has been using online dating services, remain calm and try not to get angry with them.
Talk to your child about their online dating profile. Young people might do these things because they’re naturally curious about sex and relationships, but it can make offenders think they’ll be open to sexual behaviour and could put them at risk.