Dating online? Here's how to keep things healthy (and safe)
If you're missing regular run-ins with cuties in the hallway at school, you may be tempted to try online dating. While there are tons and tons of success stories to point to, there are also some pitfalls that you'll definitely want to avoid when flirting virtually.
Stick with people you know or friends of friends
We're not going to give you a #StrangerDanger talk here, but until you're over 18, only chat with people who are already in your social circle. Maybe there's a cute guy or girl from school that you've never actually spoken to but suddenly follows you on Insta, or your cousin from another town wants you to "e-meet" a friend...in that case, chat away!
Don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
The conversation is flowing naturally, but all of a sudden your new texting buddy says something unexpected that makes you feel uneasy. Trust your gut big time. You can either let them know that they're crossing a boundary, or end the convo and take some time to think about if you want to continue talking at all or not.
Keep your online footprint clean
Once on the internet, always on the internet! When chatting online, even if it's in a DM, keep in mind that this is the internet and not the secret shoebox underneath your bed. Posts, comments, messages and pictures can live online forever...and may be seen by people other than the original receiver. Think of future job employers and your parents before sending anything over social media or text.
Consult family and friends
If you are ever uncertain about how to respond or react to any type of correspondence or post, don't feel afraid to ask family or friends for tips on how to handle the situation. It helps to get a reality check and a second perspective.
Have you ever flirted online? Let us know in the comments!