For many teenagers, their first relationship is an exciting experience as they learn to navigate the dating world. However, it’s important to talk to your children about establishing healthy relationships and giving them tools for dating safety to help protect themselves in unsafe situations. According to LoveIsRespect, 1 in 3 U.S. teens are victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse while dating. Being equipped with teen dating safety knowledge to recognize and prevent unsafe situations could be lifesaving.
DoSomething.org reports that roughly 1.5 million U.S. high school boys and girls admit to being physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with. In a world filled with more and more dating sites and apps, it’s imperative to practice sound and secure dating habits.
Here are 10 dating safety tips your teens should follow to ensure they are aware, prepared and make it home safe from their dates.
When it comes to teen dating safety, have an open line of communication with family and friends. You should always let your parents know who you are meeting and where you are going, as well as when you plan on being back. Share your location, and even give your date’s name and number to trusted individuals. While it’s not ideal, plans may change during the date. If so, let your parents know about any changes.
Emphasis on meet. Provide your own transportation when going on a date with someone new. Yes, your dream from every 90s rom-com movie of being picked up by your date (or vice versa) may be dashed away, but there will be way more peace of mind knowing you have a way home if the date goes sour.
Also, don’t “Netflix and Chill” on the first date. Or even the second or third one. It’s not conducive to the definition of a date, and if someone really likes you, they’ll have no problem being seen in public with you.
Try to finish your meal before excusing yourself to the bathroom. Date rape drugs are colorless, odorless pills that can make you disoriented and even hallucinogenic. While, of course, no one wants their date to drug them, anything can happen and it’s important to be aware and stay safe.
This should be a given for teenagers (it’s illegal), but it still has to be said. Alcohol lowers your perception and limits your cognitive skills. Lower cognitive function = less room for reason, and that’s never a good idea, especially on a date.
Giving out personal information can be a recipe for disaster. Don’t give out your home or work address. Leave no room for your date to be able to stalk or harass you in case things go awry.
Know the warning signs when a date begins to exhibit inappropriate or unusual behavior. At the end of the day if you’re not sure, it’s always best to listen to your gut. Humans are embedded with a fight or flight instinct, listen to it and know when red flags are being triggered.
Group dates are often a fun time, and can also be a good way to see how your date interacts with others in a social setting. Be sure to invite people you know and trust. You and your friend can also keep tabs on each other and make sure both of you remain safe.
Researching your date before meeting them is always a good idea. Doing this will give you a sense of who your date is beyond what they’ve told you.
If your date asks you to do something that goes against every fiber of your being, learn how to say no. You should know your limits and be able to communicate them. Even if you said yes previously, you’re always allowed to change your mind. If your date cares about you, they’ll respect your decision.
The Silent Beacon is a dating safety device and dating safety app that calls 911 or any pre-stored number while sending multiple contacts to your GPS location. The device uses your smartphone’s GPS to send your location in real-time via text, email, and push notifications to people who can help you in an emergency. This feature adds a whole extra layer of safety, enabling contacts to find you if you’re incapacitated or unable to talk.
Silent Beacon also has a Silent Alert Mode feature, so with one press, you can disable the sounds and lights to discreetly send for help without your date knowing.
Silent Beacon is a great way to be prepared when dating and meet up with unfamiliar people.