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teenagermom
teenagermom asks:
Q:

My daughter's heart has been broken by an internet romance.  What do I do?

I found out about a year ago that my daughter, who is 16 years old now, had been carrying on an internet love interest for about 6 months before i knew anything about it.  My husband and I were very concerned, but thought that eventually it would fizzle out.  Unfortunatlely, they still have been instant messaging, and communicating through the computer.  I know it was wrong not to break it up earlier, but we were hoping not to have to break her heart.  They live very far apart, and have never seen each other.  But we found out they having been professing their love, and talking about getting married, etc.  I also recently discovered from an unclosed computer screen that he (17 years old)  had planned to run away to meet her last month, but plans fell through.  Last night we told her we wanted her to end it.  She hasn't eaten anything today.  And hasn't talked to us much at all.  Do you have any advice or suggestions to help?  Thanks
In Topics: Children and the internet, Teen sexuality and dating
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 24, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Unfortunately, it's easy for teens and adults to quickly get swept up in internet infatuations and romances.  You're right to be concerned about your daughter's feelings toward this person she has never even met.  I would highly encourage you to tell her to end this relationship.  Of course your daughter will be crushed and feel like it's the end of her world if she can't be with this boy.  However, because they have discussed meeting and running away together, it's time to put an end to it.  She will most likely be angry and rebellious for some time, however this is one of those times where you as a parent need to put your foot down. It's a matter of her safety and well-being at this point and it's your job as her parent to keep her safe.

Also take this opportunity to talk to your daughter about appropriate relationships and boundaries.  Explain what it means to be in love and the difference between love and lust.  Keep an eye on her and be there to listen and support her frustration during this time.  If you feel that it is necessary, take her to a counselor to talk about her break-up.  I know it's going to be a rough road, but this is a lesson you don't want her to learn on her own.

Sincerely,
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (15)

sedwards
sedwards writes:
It could be very dangerous if he runs away to meet her. If that is a situation that is likely to happen then I would first attempt to at least arrange a meeting between them in a safe environment. Then you could meet him too. Internet relationships can be founded too much on fantasy. If you let them meet, then perhaps her fantasy image of him will be shattered by reality and she will end the relationship herself.<br />
> 60 days ago

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becks
becks writes:
I might try to arrange them to meet somewhere, but with &nbsp;parent supervison. I would also inform the boy that he also needs to involve his parents as well. That may be the safest bet. If the boy lives as far as a plane ride away, then you should somehow encourage your daughter to forget about the boy.<br />
<br />
I have a 14 year old daughter myself and she pretty much eats, sleeps and lives on her computer.<br />
> 60 days ago

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onherownmom104
onherownmom... writes:
I would sit there with your daughter while she is on the computer while they are talking and you ask the questions. If your daughter has nothing to hide then she should welcome the idea you are at least keeping an open mind and not just saying end this internet romance<br />
> 60 days ago

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kevin_edu
kevin_edu writes:
There's no reason to force your daughter to break up with her 'internet boyfriend'. That's exactly the wrong approach to take with an adolescent. For her, the draw is less about having an online relationship and more about rebelling.

Open up a dialogue with her to talk about the risks and rewards of dating (on-line and off-line). You can turn this undesirable situation into a productive conversation about dating and sexuality. It's important that your daughter realizes you're looking out for her best interests.

You mentioned that they have never 'seen' each other. Encourage them to converse via webcams and social-networking sites. Internet relationships invite distorted realities; enabling them to trade pictures and use webcams will remove the fantasy element. Bringing the relationship out into the open lowers the likelihood that one of them will do something dangerous, like running away from home to meet the other one.

Although extremely difficult, the best thing you can do is to support your daughter.
> 60 days ago

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SMPTUE
SMPTUE writes:
Prove he really is a 17 year old boy.  Honestly, pay attention - VERY close attention - to the news.  

This is Grooming 101, dear.  Sexual predators do this all the time.  This exact scenario is carried out in attempt to keep her hooked, to see how deeply involved she will be (by agreeing to meet him and then willing to try again when his first attempt failed, she has proven to him that you pose no threat to him and she is lonely and easy).  

All the time she spends talking to him, also, lets him know her parents have placed no limits and that her parents aren't monitoring her online activities.  You've set your daughter up as bait, whether you want to believe that or not.  

By allowing this ridiculous "romance" to continue, you send her the clear message that you don't care if she has a relationship with an unknown stranger on the net.  You, also, send him the clear message you don't care about the safety concerns police warn parents about on a daily basis.  

You are the parent.  To the point, it is you NOT her who makes the decisions.  And if you are allowing her to continue a relationship online with a complete stranger, the result will be on you.  She is a teenager.  A kid.  She needs discipline (self-control, self-respect) and parental responsibility. She seems to, also, need more involvement by the two of you in her life and real life human interaction.  Please show some or she will be another statistic on the evening news.

I would strongly advise getting the police involved.  They do not take this kind of thing lightly.  The very fact that he has told her he tried to run away and had her agree to a meeting is enough for them to do a full investigation into his true identity.  Your daughter is in danger.  Do something about it before it is too late.

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Jaded
Jaded writes:
<p>Don't EVER EVER EVER let your kid do webcam with strangers on the net! OMG!!!  That is totally right about you not knowing its a boy or not.  Don't you watch the news?  It's on all the time about teen girls from like myspace being kidnapped and r*ped by pervs that said they were teenage boys.  If your daughter can't understand why you don't want her talking to this guy, that's her problem.  I would rather my mom be my MOM and keep me from being R*PED than be my friend and let it happen.</p>
<br />
> 60 days ago

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NavyDad
NavyDad , Parent writes:
My wife works with sexually abused kids and teens who have been raped and abused by older kids and adults. Many of the girls met their abusers online and thought they were other kids and many of the parents my wife helps are parents of girls that have disappeared because they met "boys" online.  Theres a growing industry of selling girls on the black market for prostitution in other countries and my wife is part of an organization that alerts people to things like "rapto".  Over half of the girls kidnapped met their abductor online. It is unwise for you to allow this "relationship" and to listen to anyone who tells you to let it continue and to develop into anything including sharing videos and photos. I see what my wife works with and the families destroyed by one mistake.  You don't wnat to to be one of these parents.
> 60 days ago

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L_Holden
L_Holden , Student, Child Professional, Caregiver writes:
Involving the police, or asking your daughter if she’s watched the news lately will make her feel alienated and stereotyped, and she will be more likely to rebel, and put herself in a potentially dangerous situation.
 
I agree with the comment about breaking down the fantasy. Allow them a supervised meeting, or let them speak over a webcam. If she can hear his voice, and see him, she will likely see someone different than she pictured in her head. This will give her a reality check.
 
Bottom line: No one wants her to run away from home and meet some guy who may or may not be who he says he is. The role of a parent is to teach a child how to be an adult. Using force will not educate her on personal responsibility, or encourage her to think critically about the situation.
 
If it turns out he is who he says he is, and they hit it off in person, maybe they'll end up together. Would it really be so terrible if two teenagers met and fell in love over the internet?
> 60 days ago

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zhannawithmore
zhannawithm... writes:
I am sorry that you are getting though a hard time with your daughter. I was that kind of daughter and I left my home in Russia to come to the USA through correspondence. My mom tried to talk sense into me, too. But I insisted on my way for my inner desire for what I decided was very strong. I came to the USA and got myself in a pickle.

I wish you the best luck with your daughter, perhaps, she is still young and she will understand and will act mature, but you are doing all you can and you are a good mother and some kids just do not listen...

A link to my story below.
> 60 days ago

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New'New
New'New , Student writes:
She does not know him your doing the right thing she will get better! Your NupPing it in the Bud exaclty what a parent should be doing.
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Helpful information is available on these websites.  
www.netsmartz.org
www.WebWiseKids.org
> 60 days ago

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ravens12
ravens12 writes:
well tell her to just calm down and end the process because she might get very stressed out and get depressd and do something bad to herself.
> 60 days ago

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jeanetteH
jeanetteH , Student writes:
i would try to tell her that internet dating could be dangerous for teen because the male could end up being older like say fourty years old so i would try not to date one the enter net if it was me. i am a 17 year old and scared of dating on the enternet. you also can't trust all guys
> 60 days ago

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hiimmary
hiimmary , Student writes:
Let her know straight up that this guy probably doesn't mean half of the stuff he was saying, it's kind of idiotic to marry someone you don't even know, and online romances alone say NOTHING!
> 60 days ago

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DreamChaser94
DreamChaser94 writes:
I know I am very late, but I couldn't help but answer. I am a 18 year old boy that is in an online/long distance relationship. I live approximately 9 hours away from my girl friend. First off I want to say, Yes it is good that you are worried. People are crazy out there and you should take every precaution you can to protect your daughter. At the same you should be open minded to the idea. My girlfriends mom thought I was some 40 year old guy but I quickly purchased a webcam and proved to her mother that I am who I say I am. So if her "boyfriend" has some lame excuse as to why he can't web cam with her then that is a red flag right there. Web cams are nothing but 10-15$. Also if he has made plans with meeting your daughter with out you being involved in the meeting, that should also be a red flag. When I first met my girlfriend of 2 years, it was on her birthday. We planned it so her Mom and step dad would be present. My mother also came along with me. This meeting helped our parents feel more comfortable and open to our relationship. I am now planning to travel to her home town to visit for a week since it has been over a year since I have last seen her in person. Even though her parents met me they are cautious about us seeing each other.(which I understand) They have set very strict rules for us upon my arrival. We will be monitored at all times which is okay with me. But, enough of my story back to your question. It is wrong for you to be so close minded about the relationship. At least try to find out more about the guy and talk to him via calling him. Ask him the serious questions you want to know. I say call him because if you text or message him you give him time to think of a response if he is not who he say he is. If your on the phone he has to respond quickly. Show her that you are open to the idea of them dating, "IF" she can prove who he really is and if you can talk to or meet his parents. If she can not provide you with that then she needs to open her eyes and see that he is not who he say he is. He is even a predator or a kid that pretends to be someone else because they are not comfortable with their self. Doesn't matter which one they are, your daughter should not be involved with them. If it turn out that he is truly who he says he is. Then you should accept the relationship. She will eventually grow out of it or they will end up being a happy couple for a long time. Pros and Cons of being a parent of a child in a long distance relationship.
Pros:
1. Your child having sex will not be a worry of yours.
2. Don't have to worry about your child sneaking out the house.
3. Your child will be home more.
4. For punishment you can take away communication with their bf/gf.
Cons
1. Your kid may or may not become a loner because they are constantly home talking to their gf/bf. (Depends on your child's personality)
2. Child may experience random stress and depression because they have no intimacy in their life.
3. Child may be bashed and criticized for their relationship. (With that being said, it is your job to support them.)
4. Child won't be able to experience the ideal teenage romance. High school sweet hearts, Prom, Homecoming, and walking in the hall holding hands etc...

Pros and Cons of being a parent of a child in a regular relationship.
Pros:
1. You will be able to meet your possible son/daughter in law.
2. Child will be able to experience the perks of a relationship. Dates, Cuddling, etc...
3. Your child will have more of a social life and might even be happier.
4. You really get to know your child's gf/bf and their parents.
Cons:
1. Mostly likely your child will be having sex.
2. Your child can get pregnant or get some one pregnant.
3. Your child will even lie to you just to spend more time with their gf/bf.
4. Child can sneak out at night or while your at work just to have more sex with their bf/gf.
5. Child may be distracted in school because of their bf/gf.

Hope I helped answer your questions and opened the eyes of all the people who are completely bias. Just because some guys on the internet are pedophiles doesn't mean all guys are.
> 60 days ago

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