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.
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It was late fall during my freshman year at college.
Sure, teens still meet in the same ways that kids always have, but the low social risks associated with flirting online have made that option more acceptable to some than trying to talk face to face in a crowded school hallway.
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.
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.
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.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.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.Though teens think they know everything, they really can be naïve and trusting just when they need to be wary and skeptical.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.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?