It might not always seem like it but there are lots of opportunities for young people to meet someone in school, through a sports club, hobby or youth group.
If your child continues dating online, it’s important to have ongoing conversations with them about their use of dating sites to ensure they aren’t exposing themselves to harm.
Make sure they know how to spot the warning signs by discussing this age appropriate advice with them: Who doesn’t enjoy being made to feel special or given lots of attention?
If they are being made to feel this way, they should tell you.
Make sure they know it’s important not to trust everything you hear online, no matter how nice or flattering it sounds! At CEOP, we’ve been told by offenders that another tactic they use is to look for young people who use a sexy username, post sexy pictures or talk about sex online.
We know this is a tactic that many offenders use to gain the trust of a young person quickly.
It’s much harder for your child to think critically about someone if they’re inundated with ‘likes’ or compliments about how sexy or talented they are.
Meeting and chatting to others online is a normal part of life for most teenagers, but using online dating services could put them at risk. So much of a teenager’s social life happens online and many feel really comfortable using the internet to meet people.
The opportunity to meet and flirt with people outside their immediate social circle can be hugely exciting to a young person, particularly at a time where they are exploring their understanding of sex and relationships.
If you do find out your child has shared something, try not topanic.
Watch these short films created by CEOP which will help you understand why they might have done it, how to talk to them about it and where to get help should you need it.
Talk to them about what drew them to online dating, what services they’re using and how they’ve been using them.