The study’s findings may help explain why the teen birth rate rate is lower than ever, Twenge says, and why teenagers get in fewer car accidents than they used to.
“Teens are safer and healthier than they’ve ever been,” she says, “and that’s obviously a very good thing.” (The latter statistic comes from research Twenge did for her new book, MORE: Teens Are Getting More Depressed But Using Fewer Drugs The new study did not investigate why maturity has slowed among teenagers, but the researchers have a few guesses.
They’ll probably report or at the very least ignore underage profiles.
But anything that helps you connect with people can be abused. Anyone who’s sexually active or considering having sex should know what they need to do to protect their health, like getting tested regularly, knowing their partner’s STI status and using protection.
Some adults may use online dating specifically to target children, and because these services are focused on sex and relationships, young people who use them could be more vulnerable to this kind of exploitation. Some medical professionals have linked online dating with increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia. It’s a good idea to talk to your children about sexual health before it becomes an issue, so they’ll be able to stay safe when the time comes. It may be worth raising the topic of online dating with your child.
If you’re not sure where to begin, you might start by saying you’ve read something about it and asking what they think.
Meeting someone on the internet can be risky, though, a fact that dating sites like Ok Cupid admit – and try to guard against – in their safety tips. However awkward it may be, it’s much safer for young people to explore relationships with people they know offline. Most adults dating online are looking to meet other adults and won’t be too happy if someone underage turns up in their matches.Today, the researchers say, 18-year-olds act more like 15-year-olds from previous decades.That was true across all demographic groups in the study.Be prepared to listen, but make sure to explain the risks of meeting people you don’t know and to emphasise that these services are meant for adults.Sexual communication with a child is a criminal offence, so let them know that adults who want to talk about sex are breaking the law and shouldn’t be trusted.