In this day and age, the dating scene seems to be a far cry from what we’ve been used to, back in our young days, which seem like a forever ago. No more is the art of letter writing and little notes for the one you fancy. That’s been replaced by something that you could do on the go: instant messaging. Quick, easy and convenient, this is now the primary channel for courtship amongst teens these days.
With that, comes also the myriad of smartphone apps. It seems like there’s an app for everything now and dating is not excluded. Dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Grindr and many other similar apps out there have been around for quite some time and many teens and young adults have been frequenting such apps in hopes of finding the right one.
However, online dating does have its fair share of horror stories to tell. There have been multiple reports of violence, sexual assault and in some marginal cases, murder, that have all been tied to an instance of having a date with someone met online. The threat is very real and it’s up to us as parents to keep our teens safe when on an online date.
#1 Keep Connected
An open communication channel is the most crucial when it comes to letting your teen meet the person she met online, in real-life. Be sure that they let you know, in regular intervals, how the date has been going. Having constant updates would give you some idea on the kind of person that your teen is meeting with and the current situation that your teen is in. This gives you leverage to be able to act immediately, should your teen need help or if you begin to suspect that something isn’t going right.
#2 Know Their Location
Make sure that you know where your teen is at all times. Try to do some research on the place as well as the neighborhood that it is in. A quick address search would be able to give you full details about the history of the location, and uncover any sinister dealings that may be hiding behind a storefront. This helps when you need to reach them immediately and can’t afford to spend the time locating them based on their phone’s GPS location tracker, which may be inaccurate if your teen no longer has their phone with them, for any reason.
#3 Provide Them with Tools
Always teach your teens to be prepared when going on first dates with anyone that they’ve never met before. Many things can happen when meeting someone you’ve only known through chats and messages, and some of these out comes may not be favorable ones. An emergency “Call Home” panic button and a pepper spray would be the most basic tool that any teen should have with them at all times, just to be on the safe side.
#4 Be Close By
Try to be as close as possible to the location your teen is at. This doesn’t mean that you would be lingering around the courting couple at all times but more of being in the next-door grocery shop, doing your groceries while waiting for your teen to finish up with their date. Talk your teen into having the date at home and leave them with complete privacy, for the ultimate safe date strategy for your teen. Otherwise, get them to pick a location that is closer to home, say a local café that is just 5-10 minutes away from your home. This gives you the upper hand to be able to take immediate action, should something go awry.
Having a dating teen isn’t always a walk in the park and as parents and guardians, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that our teens are safe when they go out to meet the people they fancy. If you suspect that your teen’s date may be a little bit off, our people search lookup would be able to give you a quick low-down on the kind of person they are.