Online Relationships Are Not Healthy For Teens

Sam Estes, Staff Writer

In 2020 we saw a swift and sudden lack of interpersonal communication, which is leading to teenagers going online more and forming online romantic relationships. Web Traffic increased by 43% last March, and with all these people spending more time online they’re meeting new people and forming relationships. These online relationships are not safer or healthier than a normal relationship. Online relationships are not safe alternatives, and teens are led to believe they are okay or relationships that do not take effort or are no strings attached. 


It is still possible to be abused or psychologically damaged even if you don’t know the person in real life. These relationships aren’t even real relationships. You cannot love or embrace these pixels on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they’re a real person, you don’t know them. It’s the same as being in a relationship with an AI. These kinds of relationships don’t allow for social skills development or experience with consequences of a real relationship. They are addictive as well, with teens spending more time online with their virtual partner as opposed to making friends and spending time with their family. These children are pushing away the people who actually cherish them for someone they will probably break up with, with most teen relationships lasting maximum two years. This puts extreme amounts of strain on relationships with parents, who usually want what’s best for you. 


Relationships are things  that people actually need to experience to understand. Some might claim that online relationships are just as good as normal relationships, because aside from touch they’re just like a normal relationship. This however, is an invalid point. Online relationships are over the internet and there are thus less consequences for bad actions such as cheating or something else in that vein of thought. This can also get teens into legal trouble, as possession and distribution of explicit images are crimes and unfortunately common among online teen relationships. You could go to jail or juvie for a screen. Somebody you’ve never met. Who will never truly embrace you. That just doesn’t make sense y’know? Is that the hill you want to die on? Metaphorically that is.


These online relationships are sometimes even done with a pedophile. These pedophiles are well versed in using techniques to isolate children from their parents and friends. Kids are supposed to have a ring of support to help them in times like these, but unfortunately these e-relationships are a seeping rot on their real relationships. Pedophiles can manipulate and cause the teen to push away the people they need in their life most of all. Like a boa constrictor, slowly creeping around their victim, pushing the air out of their body ever so slowly, and by the time they begin to struggle it’s already too late. The pedophile is all they have left, and now they could get groomed or trafficked by the adult. E-Relationships aren’t safe and this is just one of the reasons why. 

In addition to this, online relationships are easier to conceal than a real relationship, thus easier to sneak behind parents. Without the parents knowing, and with the easy anonymity of the internet, anyone can lie about who they are. That 15 year old boy from Manhattan could easily be not a 15 year old from not Manhattan. Online relationships may start off innocent but over time it can lead to grooming and very bad other things. Online relationships form an invisible barrier around teens that they can’t see until it’s too late and they’re stuck inside, like that one episode of Coyote and Roadrunner. So let me ask you this. In 20 years will these teenagers look back and be grateful they dated gamerlad980?