Protecting Your Teens from Harmful Online Relationships
The online world can lead young ones and teens to all sorts of things, both good and bad. On the one hand, they can communicate with their friends online, play games with them, watch movies, and use social media platforms. But on the other hand, they can also be exposed to multiple online risks including online dating and relationships.
Most teens think online dating and relationships are fun and exciting. They meet someone online and become friends with them without knowing much about them. What started as an online friendship leads to a romantic relationship where the teens get fully involved with the other person. The other person may happen to be a predator pretending to be a kid of their age or simply be him/herself, trapping the young kid.
If your teen happens to be in a relationship with a person having vicious intentions, the one who only wants to fulfill their filthy desires, then your teen can land in hot waters. This is what needs to be stopped. You can protect your teens from a harmful online relationship only if you know what’s going on in their lives. And, that’s only possible if you keep track of their cell phone and internet activity.
Problems with Teen Online Dating
Teens do not necessarily have to use online dating apps to be in a relationship with someone on the internet. They can meet someone on social media or any other public forum and take things forward. They may think that they know everything about technology but they certainly do not know how to keep themselves safe online.
They can use most social media and dating apps with convenience but they may not have the capability to deal with the problems that stem from building and managing online relationships. Smart teens may be able to recognize the dangers of online dating but we cannot say the same about teens with disabilities or special needs. Because they are socially naïve, vulnerable, and more trusting, it could be hard for them to understand the risks involved with online relationships.
One of the major problems with teens forming online relationships is that they can be interacting with predators. Most predators either disguise themselves as kids of the teen’s age or interact being themselves, luring teens with their compassionate conversations. They can trick teens into believing that they are their well-wishers and that they are trustworthy. Teens are not be blamed here because most predators are trained in trapping young ones into their vicious games.
Another problem with young ones having online relationships is sexting. When teens form an online relationship with someone, it’s likely for them to explore each other’s sexual desires. This can lead them to exchange sexually explicit messages with each other, laden with inappropriate photos and videos.
It becomes hard for them to say no to each other. Therefore, they do things to please each other and take their relationship to the next level. Teens often do not realize that once a sext goes into the wrong hands, it can lead to harassment, embarrassment, revenge porn, bullying, emotional abuse, low self-esteem, and depression.
Online harassment is also one of the displeasing outcomes of harmful online relationships. The more your teen gets involved in an online relationship, they may experience harassment, unwelcome advances, and inappropriate pictures and videos through online platforms including social media, chat forums, instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, and dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, etc.
Remember, teens may go to an extreme extent to seek validation from the person they are involved in an online relationship with. They can do and say whatever their partner wants only to make them happy and to gain their acceptance.
How to Protect Your Teens from Online Relationships?
Parents can play a proactive role in protecting their teens from harmful online relationships. As it is already known to them that the easy access to the internet, social media, and gaming platforms have allowed young kids and teens to communicate with others, and sometimes develop romantic online relationships with them.
Using monitoring solutions such as monitoring and SMS tracker app can definitely help parents to keep a close eye on their teen’s online interactions, even remotely. Parents who cannot be around their teens all the time can especially benefit from these monitoring and SMS tracker free apps to spy on their text messages, instant chats, and emails.
On the other hand, parents should make sure that their teens make safer choices when they are online and equipped to think critically once they interact with someone online. This can only happen if parents can have a conversation with teens about healthy online relationships.
Teens can be prepared to build and manage online relationships only if they know how to think critically, how to judge someone’s intentions, and make smart moves. Online relationships aren’t as bad as we think they are. All online relationships, whether romantic or platonic, helps teens to learn and develop important social skills. The only thing teens need to know is how to keep themselves safe in a relationship without compromising their self-esteem, opinions, and values.
It is important that parents create room for an open and honest conversation with their teens so that they can come to them and ask them everything about relationships. Parents can offer tips on building and managing healthy relationships, even if they are online.
Teens should be comfortable enough to share the problems and issues they are facing in their relationships with their parents and seek advice from them when something goes wrong. As parents are more mature and know how to handle relationships better than teens, they can offer a great piece of advice to teens, especially when it comes to their safety.
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