1 in 5 children are happy to have a romance with someone they never meet

A study by Internet Matters has investigated the role the internet plays in young people’s relationships, as video and advice toolkits are launched for parents to download.

The internet is changing the landscape of first love, bringing new types of pressures, as a fifth of children say they would consider being with an online-only boyfriend or girlfriend.

More than half of the 11-16 year-olds surveyed* said technology and social media made keeping a relationship going easier, with a quarter believing it’s easier to find love online.

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The study was commissioned by Internet Matters, a not for profit e-safety organisation supported by BT, to highlight how important it is for children to build up a ‘digital resilience’ to help them deal independently with these pressures.

The survey also found a quarter of children said they would happily announce a new romance on the internet, 19% thought sharing news of a break-up on social media was a good thing and 28% of children said they felt left out after seeing an online post from a gathering they’d not been invited to.

To help parents understand some of these pressures so they can better support their children, Internet Matters has launched a series of Digital Resilience Toolkits created with Internet Matters’ ambassador Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos believes children are facing new relationship challenges thanks to the internet and social media: “First love has always been a minefield – and even more so in the digital age when it’s all about sharing your life online.

“With all the benefits this brings, there will be times that children need to be resilient against the bad stuff that happens.

“By building a child’s digital resilience, parents will not only help keep their child safe online but essentially empower them to navigate digital issues on their own.”

Packed with easily digestible video guides and tips, the five Digital Resilience Toolkits are designed to help parents talk to their children to build up their digital resilience:

Toolkit: What is Digital Resilience?

Toolkit: What kind of parent are you?

The other three toolkits are aimed at children of different ages: Parents of children aged 6-10, Parents of children aged 11-13 and Parents 14+

Download a tool kit

For a comprehensive and easy-to-use resource of the most up-to-date information for keeping your child safe online, check out Internet Matters.

*Jan 2018, 1,000 children carried out by Opinium

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