Positives and negatives of internet dating

Adolescents in healthy dating relationships -- which are characterized as having "open communication, high levels of trust and partners who are relatively close in age" according to Sarah Sorensen of the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence --learn about romance and intimacy in ways that will help forge solid self-concepts, interpersonal skills and partnerships in their adult lives.

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Having spent more than a decade working with victims of sexual and domestic violence, she specializes in writing about women's issues, with emphasis on families and relationships.

Unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, dating violence and date rape can be sources of worry.

The concerns often overshadow the brighter side of teen dating.

Teens can also test the sensation of vulnerability by placing an intimate level of trust in someone that they are unable to do with friends.

Sorenson points out that, "As adolescents become more autonomous from their parents, their romantic relationships increasingly become a source of emotional support." This support is particularly crucial when a given teen is of a "sexual minority." If an adolescent is questioning their sexual orientation, and is uncomfortable with addressing the issue with parents, other family members and even friends for fear of retribution, a teen's romantic partner may be the primary support.

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