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Indeed, a recent report found that rates of teenage births and sexually transmitted infections dropped in communities as high-speed internet access improved.The researchers concluded that the reduction in adolescent births was not clearly linked to a shift in abortion rates and was likely explained, in part, by increased access to information about contraception and how to obtain it.Parents can address both of these fronts by talking with teenagers about pornography and by directing them to dependable online information.While books about healthy sexuality can serve as excellent resources for children and tweens, older adolescents may appreciate (or, at least, tolerate) having their parents highlight online options such as Sex, Etc., a youth friendly website sponsored by Answer at Rutgers University.In addition to contending with heartbreak, the suddenly single teenager has to find a new way to begin and end each day and to fill a lot of the time in between.Lovelorn teenagers usually bounce back pretty quickly, but parents shouldn’t underestimate the scale of the loss in the short term.The topic of teenage romance and sex has always been charged, but today’s pervasive digital technology has succeeded in turning up the wattage.
In talking with our teenagers about coercive relationships, we should acknowledge that “if someone wants to know what you are doing all the time, that can feel like a really close relationship” but that healthy romances are grounded in trust and support, not spying or intimidation.Even if their love lives don’t look like the ones we remember, we still owe it to teenagers to find ways to offer our support and guidance.When you ask a couple how they met, it's pretty common for them to answer, "On the internet." So, it's no surprise that online dating has trickled down to teens.And though most opt for Snapchat or Instagram to widen their social circles, some are curious enough to try one of the many messaging apps that promise to help them "make new friends." While these apps are designed more for casual communication than are the mainstream fee-based dating services such as Match and Ok Cupid, they make it super easy to text, video-chat, and share pics with strangers.At this point, most parents would say "no way" and stop reading right now.
In a recent survey, more than half of adolescent girls and boys had dated someone who tried to monitor or control them by texting so frequently that it made the recipient uncomfortable, expecting immediate responses, asking for their passwords, or tracking their location or social activity.