The ability to make contact with strangers located nearby is exciting, but young people should never be encouraged to meet up with anybody they’ve only ever met online.If you find out that your child has been using online dating services, remain calm and try not to get angry with them.and most have never been caught, so they don’t appear on any sex offender list.

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Here is my top 10 list of things parents and people dating parents should never do, based on my experience as a child psychiatrist, step-parent, parent, step-child and recent online dater.

Armed with these tips, you can confidently get back in the dating pool knowing that you are not putting your children at risk.

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.

This is much safer and it’s a better way to build a friendship and possibly a relationship over time.

It’s also not as awkward to flirt with people online as it is in school corridors!

The majority of online dating apps and websites are designed for adults, but even those which are for teens can present risks to young people if they choose to use them.

They may try to trick a young person into believing that they are trustworthy, that they are a friend or they may even pretend that they are the same age.

Many popular dating apps allow the user to share their location or chat to people in their area – this increases the potential for a ‘real-life’ meeting.

As popular as online dating has become, it’s not a good idea for young people and isn’t a safe way for children to explore relationships.

Some people who want to harm children use the internet to look for young people to target, and they use sites and apps where they know young people go to look for love, to flirt or to make friends.

Talk to them about what drew them to online dating, what services they’re using and how they’ve been using them.