Teens looking to date online don't necessarily have to turn to websites that are labeled as actual dating websites, although these sites certainly exist. Many teens instead choose to meet new people on other social websites that are not necessarily labeled as dating sites. They use these popular sites as a way to meet other teens who have similar interests, and get to know them initially without the pressure that can come with actively pursuing a relationship.
Websites for Socializing
Some of the best places online to meet other teens aren't actually labeled as dating sites; instead, they are geared toward socializing and meeting other people with similar interests.
Instagram: Photos and Much More
Instagram began as a way to share photos with friends but has quickly evolved into a social media platform that allows users to meet new people. Search for people in your age range with similar interests using the "Suggested Users" function or by searching for certain hashtags that interest you.
Instagram's usage among teens is steadily increasing, meaning there will be plenty of options to meet people using this tool. In fact, 17% of teens rate Instagram as the most important social network according to FactBrowser, which is up five percent from the previous year.
Tumblr began as a platform for micro-blogs and has evolved into the number one social media network for teens. It is a micro-blogging site, so people post pictures, poems, quotes or short thoughts. Unlike Twitter, there is no character limit, but longer posts are unusual. Like other social networks, you can tag posts which will help other teens with similar interests find you. You can also use the hashtag #meetnewpeople with each of your new blog posts. Likewise, try searching for the same hashtag to see which teens are also looking to meet new people online.
A Virtual World: IMVU
IMVU allows users the opportunity to create 3-D avatars, and explore virtual communities while chatting with other users. Though this website allows adult users, the minimum age to create an IMVU avatar and enter the virtual worlds is 13. IMVU takes extra precautions to protect younger users and is quite popular with teens around the globe.
Join an IMVU group for teen dating to narrow down your prospects. Simple registration is required to enter the IMVU community, as is a download of the IMVU software. New users should consider that avatars created in IMVU are supposed to be based in fantasy, as are the virtual worlds within IMVU, so proceed with the knowledge that the other users you "meet" may be nothing like their avatars in real life.
Teen Dating Websites
For Teen Chat: Chatpit
Chatpit is a website designed specifically for teens to chat and interact. While the website is appropriate for teens who want to simply hang out and chat, it is designed as an actual dating website for teens and encourages users to flirt with each other. The site even boasts some marriages from among its users within the ten years of its existence.
Public chats on this website are watched by moderators in an attempt to make sure there are no abusive or inappropriate chatters. There is no charge to chat, but Java is required in order to access the chat rooms.
For a Traditional Dating Site Format: Flirtbox
Flirtbox will allow you to register if you're 16. There is a search option that will show you 16-19 year olds in your area, so this is a good option if you want to find someone local to date. In addition to profiles that you can browse through, you may also participate in chat rooms, discussions, and rate men and women in the Hot or Not section. This is one of the most traditional online dating sites, and it's easy to navigate.
According to a Dating Wise review, the features on Flirtbox make it easy use. Look for people using the Quick Search function or review the suggested matches provided by Flirtbox. Registration is required.
For Older Teens: Dating Friend
Dating Friend requires that users are 18 or older to sign up. Get an overview of who's online in your age range by clicking on Advanced Search on the main page. You can specify the gender, age range, and location of the type of person you're looking for. There are also blogs, chat opportunities, and more.
This website gets high marks from a reviewer at DatingSitesPro who likes the ease of use and the customer service provided by the website.
Staying Safe on Dates
With everything exciting, like online dating, there's a word of caution to be said:
- Don't give out your personal information online. This includes your name, address, where you work, where you go to school, or who your parents are.
- Don't meet anyone alone.
- Meet in a public place-and stay in that public place rather than leaving with your date-for at least a few times if you do decide to meet.
- If you feel pressured to do something you're not comfortable with, leave.
- Trust your instincts.
- Don't go anywhere in secret. Tell someone where you're going, who you're meeting, and when you expect to be back.
- No drugs or alcohol is a no-brainer, but always get your own drinks rather than letting your date go purchase it and bring it to you. Date rape drugs are a real possibility, especially when you're with someone you don't know very well.
Find Your Match Online
While school gives you a pool of potential dating partners, sometimes you just don't click with anyone there, or the person you want to date is busy dating someone else. Finding someone online is one way to broaden your dating pool, and stop crushing on the same guy as all your friends. Plus, the one that's right for you right now may not even go to your school. Use these tips to find your perfect match:
- Look for people who share your interests.
- Be honest.
- Post appropriate pictures if you post pictures at all. Don't post pictures of yourself that you wouldn't want your parents, teachers, or future employers to see.
- Don't mix up the people you're talking to-keep lists of subjects you've chatted about and tidbits about their lives they've shared with you.
- Don't spend multiple hours a day scouring sites for a date. Remember to get out and have fun while you wait for the right person to contact you or send you a message back.
Though teen dating, including online dating, can be fun, you shouldn't exclusively seek out prospects online. You could have a cute new guy in biology class. Be open to dating people you already know or see face-to-face every day. Dating is a time to explore, so don't limit yourself to just one group of people when you look for a new relationship.