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It’s important to make sure teens understand that they should never provide personal information to strangers, such as where they go to school, and never agree to meet someone in person without bringing along a responsible adult.Claire Mc Carthy, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said it best in a Huffington Post blog on teen online dating.It was late fall during my freshman year at college.My friends and I were piled on my dorm bed, staring at the phone and willing it to ring.Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive.To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships.Few Americans had online dating experience when Pew Research Center first polled on the activity in 2005, but today 15% of U. adults report they have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.
Still, my daughter says, talking and flirting online really isn’t the same as doing so in person.She says that teens she knows often meet online by contacting each other through Facebook and by commenting on each other’s Twitter feeds and Instagram photos. If that person “likes” you back, it’s time for a digital chat.Or they play around on Tinder, that popular matchmaking app that allows users to find potential matches based on their proximity to each other, a couple photos and their common interests. “If you want to talk to someone, but you’re too embarrassed to do it in real life, it’s easy to do it over the Internet instead of face to face,” she says.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.