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New World of Teen Online Dating

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Should teenagers be allowed to love and date? This is a common question that confronts many parents of teenagers. Dating in the 21st century has drastically changed so much that parents are no longer aware of how their children are dating. The traditional model of dating has transformed and modified to meet the needs of the current generation, where parents have much less involvement in their children’s dating lives. However, today’s teens conduct dating with fewer rules and more ambiguity. Technological advancements such as online dating influence the changing trends of dating, and teens desire less to go on formal dates. Psychologists and lifestyle experts advise that teen dating is beneficial because it offers teens opportunities to learn practical social skills. Meanwhile, academic research studies caution about the negative impacts of teen dating. The two articles “Teen Love and Dating in Today’s New World” by Sara Villanueva and “Biggest Changes in Dating from the ’90s Until Now” by Brain M agree that teen dating has changed lately. It is under no doubt that dating has a connection to psychology. Controversy has existed whether dating has positive or negative impacts on the psychological well being of teens. Despite changing dating patterns, dating is useful to teens as opposed to many researchers’ beliefs that dating lowers motivation, emotion, and academic performance of teenagers, and parents should not discourage teenagers from dating.

Today, parents are often confused due to the drastic changes in dating practices. Unlike in the past, today’s teens hide information to the extent that parents are unaware of who they are dating. A few years back, most parents had to meet the teen’s date before they went out. In many cases, the parents did some research about the boy and his family before the date was allowed to take place.This helped the parents be aware of where their teenager was going and holding the child accountable for being back home on time. The lack of this bond among modern adolescents and their parents makes it hard for parents to allow their children out because they do not know who their children’s friends are. In addition to this, parents in the modern world are busy trying to achieve their dreams and provide for the family. The increased demands of life, such as work and business and social obligations, have prevented parents from monitoring their children, particularly the adolescents who develop an attachment to others in school for dating and emotional support. 

Dating involves “hanging out” rather than an established process of planning a date, asking, and accepting a date. People marry much later, so their goal for dating is not necessarily to find a spouse. Sometimes time pushes people to marry with immediate effects with fears that it may be too late for them. Consequently, people may end up getting into messy relationships and marriages, leading them to suffer from depression, lower self-esteem and bitter unhealthy experiences with their partners. These issues are putting most parents in dilemmas on whether or not to trust their children with modern dating ways. However, the shift from the traditional purpose of dating to a new dating world has given teens entering relationships an opportunity to state what they want from the relationship. Unlike modern dating, the sole purpose of traditional dating was only for mate selection and marriage in the past generations. Since the notion of dating shifted to intimacy, relationship roles, and sexual orientations, people now have a chance to define what they want before going far with the relationship. Keeping teens away from dating is a risk as the action may negatively affect future relationships and marriage because they don’t get know each other through the common sharing of their motives and dreams. In this sense, dating has changed its meaning.Sometimes it is unfortunate to see how the rate of divorce is increasing. Early dating avoids this scenario by allowing the partners to clearly define what they want from their partners before proceeding and wasting time. It is no longer the mate selection of the traditional setting that could be kept away from teens until they attained the right age of marriage. To this end, parents should play indulgent roles to help them engage in relationship emotionally.

Research studies back up what many parents already know, teen dating is not good for the student’s grades. Adolescent dating is the first stage of transition between parent-child love to romantic love. Adolescents are interested in developing peer relationships outside their family and dating from those around them. Teens enjoy their schooling life when they get to form good working relationships. Many opponents of early dating state that it introduces children to another world that distracts their emotions, motivation, and further degrades their academic performance. However, based on the new purpose of dating, these claims are surpassed by the reality of wanting to date. Early dating by teenagers links with poor academic performance as they tend to invest more time in seeking out for relationships. Rather than focusing on school, teens who date, spend all their time getting together with their boyfriend or girlfriend. It is not that dating does not have some negative effects on the academic performance of teenagers, but it is also true that dating status is an achievement to the adolescent and the teen who combine their two objectives to ensure the relationship lasts while achieving academic progress. It is through dating that both boys and girls learn about relationship responsibilities, romantic love, and other critical virtues in later married life. In this case, teens are prepared psychologically to face the world ahead of them. Due to psychological motivation, teenagers are likely to put more effort into whatever they are doing socially or academically on the verge of bettering their tomorrow.

Another significant change in the dating world is the introduction of social media. This piece of technology did not exist in the past generations and has proved to be on the top of the current dating. On one hand, adolescent’s use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter has been increasing dramatically in the last decade resulting in inadequate parental monitoring and unhealthy dating relationships. Teens caught up in social media end up developing poor self-esteem when rejected by those they consider as their targets for romantic relationships. Rejection triggers stress and depressive symptoms such as loss of interest in activities and isolation from supportive peers and family. The rejected teen does not have the maturity and experience to handle the emotions and thinks that it is the end of the world. The teen can develop psychological issues and demonstrate increased aggression and anger which negatively affects their relationships with others such as family. On the other hand, technological progress has changed dating skills significantly and can make dating more efficient. Technology brings new ways of reaching out to people who are geographically apart. Brian M, in his article “The Art of Charm” emphasizes that online dating saves teenagers the hassle of searching for the right person by sampling. Online dating connects people according to specifications; thus, the modification saves the time and effort of having to talk to every girl or boy and without spending a lot of time together. To this end, little effort is used to ensure the love does not burn out while each one is committed to the academic schedule. To make dating beneficial, adolescents should be supported through adequate guidance by parents and teachers to understand the importance of academic accomplishments in their lives and to cope with peer pressure and disappointments. Furthermore, proper safeguard measures must be administered to protect teens from using online dating.

Although negative effects can result from early dating, it can still be an overall beneficial experience with the right guidance. Parents can create awareness for their children on the correct procedures to enter into dating while still concentrating on academic performances to achieve their dreams. Teens get the chance to define their expectations and develop social skills in a relationship as they progress with the dating process. Dating helps teens avoiding to choose people with different motives than their own. Recreational dating behavior is a factor that reduces depression in school going couples. People who have people they love, share their emotional state to live a trustworthy, fulfilled relationship. According to Villanueva, dating among adolescents has ample benefits, which include growing as healthy and mature individuals, training for actual relationships, establishing behavior autonomy, and the development of gender identity. All these benefits are links to emotional growth in some way. A dating relationship would seem like a distraction to parents, but this is usually not the case; instead, love and relationships are becoming dynamic to fit the achievement of the couple’s goals.

Overall, dating among teenagers has many potential benefits. Parents should engage in meaningful discussions with the teens to help them improve their relationships. Parent’s guidance can help a teen find true love and avoid uncertainties that could interfere with schoolwork. Furthermore, happy relationships strive to prevent stress levels and create a proper mindset for other life functions such as academic achievement. A steady and healthy relationship creates the vibrancy of fun and killing the boredom that can lead to a definite vibe of going school and accomplishing school work. Additionally, parents need to be alert and keep the conversation going to spot signs of depression and other emotions. Guardians can set parameters about how often dating happens, the amount of time spent online, ensure communication about when the child gets back home, and where and who they are with. Parents should also discuss the potential negative dating issues with adolescents so that they also understand the reasons for undertaking such protective measures. With the changing and more fluid world of dating, parents should ensure that teen dating occurs safely and without negative consequences. Parents should always strive to keep the lines of communication open for this purpose and should not restrict children from dating practices.


  1. Accessed on 18 Nov. 2019.
  2. Quatman, Teri, et al. “Academic, Motivational, and Emotional Correlates of Adolescent Dating.” Genetic, Social & General Psychology Monographs, vol. 127, no. 2 May, 2001, p. 211. EBSCOhost, Accessed on 18 Nov. 2019.
  3. Villanueva, Sara. “Teen love & dating in today’s new world.” Psychology Today, 22 Dec. 2015.
  4. Accessed on 18 Nov. 2019. 

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