Being a parent to a teenager is sometimes more challenging given the rise of technology and teens advanced knowledge of it versus the parent’s learning curve with tech. The amount of apps that are now making their way to center stage are the countless dating apps that allow you to easily download to your phone, making a way to “meet” people as easy as turning on your device.
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Downloading Tinder or Grindr on your smartphone takes less than a minute, next link it to your Facebook, so that your personal pictures upload. Don’t forget to put your social media information on there as well and BOOM…dating in the 21st century! Not only is this extremely invasive, but very public as well. Your teens can put any information out there for people to see, so it’s an uneasy feeling for most parents.
Sadly, if you’re teenager is looking to date or looking for a long-term relationship this probably isn’t going to be the most successful way to achieve this goal. Yes, technology is taking over everything, but tell your teens that it does not have to control their relationships too!
Dating Apps and romance on your smartphone doesn’t typically result in dating for teenagers.
Matching with somebody online really isn’t a deep connection. It’s scrolling through pictures and having an attraction for about a minute. The attention span on dating apps like Tinder lead many to believe that they can have their cake and eat it too, so to speak. If one match doesn’t work out then they can just go back on and match with somebody else and try again. Not to mention the amount of matches can be endless, so your teens could be exposing themselves to countless strangers. In some extreme cases, this could expose your teens to the types of people that could possibly stalk them online or worse.
Perception of Teen Dating Apps
As always, with anything on social media there is the risk that the person your teen is talking to doesn’t match their photoshopped or even “catfished” pictures. In light of the MTV show, Catfish many people are now more aware of how common this is in the online dating world. Your teen could easily be subjected to a person playing a cruel joke, messing with their emotions or even someone trying to make financial gain because of what they interpret from your teens online social media profiles. Additionally, many teenagers have reported having their personal photos stolen when putting them on a dating/hookup app profile comes with a set of additional risks.
Typically, these dating apps tend to lead to hookups only. Not many romances tend to bloom from Tinder, but that’s not to say that it’s entirely impossible. However, these types of “dating” apps have been typically designed for the purpose of hooking up. Your teen should be cautious if using these apps and aware of the stigma around them because people abuse their online power and taking advantage of teenagers is sometimes easy to do.
Unfortunately, most of these “hook-up” apps are anything but helpful when it comes to dating, especially for teens! As parents, most of us have met our significant others the “old-fashioned” way and it is probably always best to encourage that in your teens as well. At least until they are more mature and more prepared to conquer the online dating world.
Solutions For Parents
We encourage you to talk to your teens on a regular basis about the dangers of online dating and using “hook-up”apps on their smartphones. Encourage them to make new friends and build relationships at school, by participating in after-school sports and clubs, or by joining a religious group that offers clubs or meet-up groups designed specifically for teenagers.
If the types of apps that your teenager uses becomes a problem make sure that you are using a trust-worthy parental control that will allow you to block inappropriate apps like Tinder, Grinder, or Down on their devices. Encourage your teen to build relationships the “old-fashioned” way by starting a conversation and getting to know potential dates in person so that they won’t need to be swiping left!
Also published on Medium.