Online culture means parents need to tune into teens

By: Alex Hambrick Email
By: Alex Hambrick Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- College football star Manti Te'o is making a splash in the headlines, not for a big play on the field, but for an online relationship gone bad.

While not every online relationship ends up like that one, it is an evolving culture that many parents aren't sure how to tackle, especially when it comes to monitoring how serious kids get with a person they've never met.

One mom says it's a parent's job to know who their teen interacts with, whether its online or on Friday nights.

"I think that online dating is extremely scary because you really don't know that person," said dedicated mom and founder of Wake up Sleeping Beauty June Fellhauer.

Fellhauer is dedicated to guiding teens through relationship issues.

"Before my daughters were ever allowed to date or go out with anybody, they had to bring them home, and maybe that's old fashioned, but old fashioned is good," said Fellhauer.

Family counselor Chris Cline said children are not developmentally ready for a relationship until they are over the age of 15. However, if a parent becomes aware of an online relationship, there are still ways to get to know that person.

"Skyping, if they are doing a long distance relationship, friendship whatever it is, they can be Skyping so the parents can see who is this real person," said Cline.

On average teenagers spend two and a half hours a day online, and Cline said that means parents need to be one step ahead of them. Cline suggests monitoring their online history and keeping computer time out in the open.

"Mothers especially should be testing checking their gut, checking their intuition. If they are feeling there is something off with this person, check it out. Most names you can Google," said Cline.


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