It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner.Several different words are used to describe teen dating violence.But, really, what can we expect from a dating app that focuses on appearance?Another troubling aspect: Sometimes, these teen relationships take place entirely online—the couple might go out for months and then break up without ever actually meeting in person. How are we parents to know who our kids are connecting with online?Today’s teens are flirting in an entirely different landscape.Sure, they are still flirting in hallways and movie theaters but they are also flirting over text message, social media, and apps specifically designed for flirting and dating.The 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey [2.77MB,180Pages, 508] found that nearly 12% of high school females reported physical violence and nearly 16% reported sexual violence from a dating partner in the 12 months* before they were surveyed. As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by experiences in their relationships.For high school males, more than 7% reported physical violence and about 5% reported sexual violence from a dating partner. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development.
Claire Mc Carthy, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said it best in a Huffington Post blog on teen online dating.Plus, there’s time to think about how to respond in the most perfect, witty way, which just doesn’t happen in that awkward moment when you’re trying to talk to a crush.Still, my daughter says, talking and flirting online really isn’t the same as doing so in person.One couple she knows chatted constantly on Facebook for more than two months—even though they saw each other every day at school—before the boy got up the nerve to ask out the girl.Connecting online is appealing, kids say, because it’s easier to present yourself in a different light than if you were meeting someone in person.“Safety has to be first and foremost,” she wrote in a 2013 post.“Parents need to help their teens understand that all is not necessarily as it seems; they need to be extremely careful with what they share online.” Cover image courtesy of Flickr.At least that’s what teens said in a recent story about online romance in the student newspaper at my daughters’ suburban Maryland high school.According to that story, “students initiate relationships online to meet new people, avoid stressful in-person meetings and hide their dating lives from their parents.” That’s certainly the case for some kids, according to my 17-year-old.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.