In The News
“Seventeen” Under Fire for Online Dating Article. Parents Need to Wake Up.
Seventeen Magazine has come under fire recently for allowing their college-age dating blogger to pose the question: Should I try online dating? Here's the meat of the post:
“Let's face it: we're all techoholics! Even though we do basically everything online, I always thought of online dating as something older people do. Personally, I would rather just wait and see what happens in my love life, as opposed to trying to find it online. Maybe if I'm a single cat lady when I'm 30, I'll consider an online dating site, but I'm just not interested yet. Am I being romantic? Or am I narrowing the playing field so much that I could be missing out on lots of awesome guys?”
“Last week, I was talking to a new friend and she was telling me all about her boyfriend. I admit it, I was a little jealous. He sounded so great and she was so happy in her relationship. When I asked her how they met, she told me she had signed up for Match.com and had met him online right away. Now, six months later, they're engaged! When I asked her why she joined Match.com, she simply said it was because she hadn't met any guys she wanted a serious relationship with. Fair enough. The guys I know at my college definitely don't want anything serious, but I still don't think I'm ready to join. I mean, haven't you seen Catfish?! “
For those of you who haven't, "Catfish" is a documentary about an older woman/ mother in Michigan duping a young man in New York into an online relationship by posing as a young woman.
The writer ends her post by stating that she is in college, and that she is not ready to join online dating because she's afraid of being deceived. However critics have said that because Seventeen targets readers ages 12-19, the post is irresponsible and encourages young girls to make themselves online prey for internet-trolling pedophiles.
The fact of the matter is, 16 or 19, if a kid is talking to someone on the internet they don't really know who they're talking to. I repeat this over and over to my kids, who are not chatting online yet but will be someday. Social media and online communication is a way of life and we have to educate our children on how to navigate this faceless world. Could the writer of this blog have taken this opportunity to write "How do I know that Surferdude94 from California isn't really Creepshow666 from prison?" Yes, definitely. I don't think we can overstate the dangers that lurk beyond our front door. But I think parents are kidding themselves if they think their kids don't know about online dating.
I have two friends who met their husbands on dating sites. The first couple of dates they made sure they were in a busy, public place and that someone knew where they were and who they were meeting. They had their cell phones with them and alerted a friend to call them an hour into the date to make sure they were ok. These are things we have to teach young men and women. And by young I mean 18 and older. Kids’ brains are not fully developed until the age of 25. We can't shelter them forever, but we can inform them and teach them the skills they need to keep themselves safe.