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The fall formal dance was just a week away and I was hoping a boy I liked would ask me to go with him.There was no way I could leave the room: What if he called and I wasn’t there to answer the phone? Dorm rooms didn’t come with answering machines and the development of voice mail was light years away.At least that’s what teens said in a recent story about online romance in the student newspaper at my daughters’ suburban Maryland high school.According to that story, “students initiate relationships online to meet new people, avoid stressful in-person meetings and hide their dating lives from their parents.” That’s certainly the case for some kids, according to my 17-year-old.

My friends and I were piled on my dorm bed, staring at the phone and willing it to ring.As with most parenting issues concerning teens, one of the best things we can do is to talk to our teens about the possible dangers of dating online, experts say.Though teens think they know everything, they really can be naïve and trusting just when they need to be wary and skeptical.But, really, what can we expect from a dating app that focuses on appearance?Another troubling aspect: Sometimes, these teen relationships take place entirely online—the couple might go out for months and then break up without ever actually meeting in person. How are we parents to know who our kids are connecting with online?

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