Use your internet dating fears to bond with your daughter

Q: I'm worried about my daughter - she's 22 and spends all her time internet dating, on dating apps and getting messages from strange men. Is it safe or am I being old fashioned? How can I get her to be careful about who she lets into her life?

A: Even though your daughter is grown up (more or less), you are still her parent, and as such your instinct is always going to be to protect her.

Some parents aren't comfortable being involved in their children's dating lives at all, while others are on the other end of the spectrum and are highly involved.

Wherever you stand as a parent, on the issue of safety it's always best to express your concern.

Yes, internet dating, and dating smartphone apps are exceedingly popular with all age groups, particularly younger men and women, but popularity and common usage doesn't equal safety.

You can tell your daughter that your concern isn't a reflection of your generation's experience of dating, or being "old fashioned" but is common sense.

There are smart and not smart ways to use technology to meet people.

And it all has to do with privacy, control and access to personal information.

Rather than lecture your daughter though, you can use this opportunity to grow closer, and have her show you more of her world and how she thinks for herself.

Tell her you're concerned about safety, and you'd like to learn more so you don't spend so much energy worrying, if there's potentially not too much to worry about.

Ask her to show you how the dating sites and apps work - how a profile is set up, privacy settings, and how members communicate with each other without being able to locate personal information unless that is directly shared.

Then comes the natural next step in the conversation about safety: at what point is she sharing her contact details with men?

What safety measures does she use when she meet a date for the first time?

Does she let you or her friends know where she is?

Does she date in public group places? Share with her your concerns, experience, wisdom and hopes and invite a conversation that lets her know you may be old fashioned when it comes to dating, but technology or not, your daughter is always your priority.

Topics:  columns dating family internet dating opinion romance

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