Many parents create strict rules about dating to try to keep their teens safe. Others regard teen dating as a natural part of the maturation process—an activity not without its risks but not a threat to the teen's health and safety. Whatever side of the fence you're on, it's important to know that teen dating can come with negative consequences. Talk with your teen about the dangers of dating and educate her about the risks of certain behaviors. The more knowledge both parents and teens have, the more prepared you'll be if a situation arises.
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Internet predators are adults who post as teenagers on the Internet and gain the trust of teens they have contact with. These people are often sexual offenders, and they promise your teen gifts, parties and other incentives to get together. Internet predators used to primarily work chat rooms, but in the new age of social media, they often have fake MySpace and Facebook accounts with convincing profile information and pictures. Teens who agree to meet these predators can be sexually assaulted.
According to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three teens will experience some form of physical dating violence in their lives. This violence could include anything from shoving to hitting to more serious violence, such as strangulation and murder. This violence is likely to be a secret, since neither the victim or the abuser want to admit there is a problem.
Strong indicators of physical violence in teen relationships are jealousy, possessiveness and angry behavior from the teen's partner. An abusive partner may try to control how the teen dresses, whom she hangs out with or what activities she participates in. Your teen may see these behaviors as a sign that her partner loves her.
Acquaintance rape (formerly known as date rape) is one of the most common forms of sexual assault. It occurs when a person is sexually assaulted by someone she knows and trusts, such as her date.
Sexual assaults can also occur at parties where sexual abusers take advantage of teens who have been drinking. Teens who attend parties are at an increased risk of consuming a date rape drug, which renders them unconscious long enough to be sexually assaulted.
Pregnancy & Sexually Transmitted infections
Teens who date begin to form intimate relationships with their peers. These relationships may lead to sexual behavior. When teens aren't properly prepared to have sexual relationships, they run the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections such as HIV or chlamydia. Sexually active teens can also face teen pregnancy issues.