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Good Job Promoting Online Dating To Minors, Seventeen Magazine

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BNnujW7CQAAjyWiIt may be called Seventeen, but the popular teen magazine targets girls ages 12-19. Which is why it is pretty icky that they are running stories talking about how great the world of online dating is. Way to set our children up to be stalked by creeps on the Internet.

“Let’s face it: we’re all techoholics! Even though we do basically everything online, I always thought of online dating as something older people do,” wrote college-aged blogger, Isabelle Furth. “I was talking to a new friend and she was telling me all about her boyfriend. I admit it, I was a little jealous. He sounded so great and she was so happy in her relationship. When I asked her how they met, she told me she had signed up for Match.com and had met him online right away. Now six months later, they’re engaged!”

The daunting task of explaining to a kid that they can never really know who they are communicating with online is hard enough without magazines like Seventeen promoting online dating. Online dating is not for minors – period. Match.com claims to be for adults 18 or over – not that you can ever monitor that stuff on the Internet. Why is a magazine that targets pre-teens singing the praises of an online dating site that the majority of their audience is way too young to use?

I have a 13-year-old step-daughter, and her use of the Internet and social media scares the heck out of me. Recently, we had to have a long talk about Instagram and how she should and shouldn’t be using it. Kids like to “collect” followers on these sites – the more the better. They also like to take selfies all day long. If your kids aren’t setting their profiles to “private,” there are random people potentially looking at photo after photo of your child all day long. There is also a “photo map” option which maps where the photo was taken. Basically, Instagram is a tool that predators can use to salivate over your kids and then pinpoint their exact location. But I’m not paranoid or anything.

I use the Instagram example to say, I don’t want my kids to approach interacting with strangers on the Internet lightly. It is very,very dangerous. The minds behind Seventeen magazine should be a little more responsible with their content and what they are advising their young readers to do.

(photo: Twitter)

 

9 Comments

  1. chickadee

    July 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Ew. That sounds more like an ad for Matchdotcom than an actual article. And what college-aged girl thinks it’s splendid that within 6 months of her friend having met a dude online, they are engaged? And who thinks that’s something that needs to be shared with teenagers as though it is something to aim for? Is Seventeen seriously trying to groom readers who see marriage or engagement as the be-all, end-all? So creepy.

    • Blueathena623

      July 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Haha, I was a college-aged girl who met a guy from match.com and got engaged 4 months later 😉 Early next year it will be 10 years together, 9 married.

      However, I agree that this not appropriate material for 17 magazine.

    • chickadee

      July 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      *Dammit. Excuse me while I remove my foot from my mouth. What I meant to say was that I question the wisdom of presenting this as the goal. Because I know a couple of women who married in college and who are very happy… Seventeen’s approach just sounded so very ring-by-spring, you know?

    • Blueathena623

      July 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      No problem. I was 21 and less than a month from graduating when I met my husband. We just happened to be two freaks who hit it off. I wasn’t looking for a husband, so yes, I agree that the article does have a ring-by-spring feel.

      The article just seems weird because she presents as so young (I thought it was for older people, maybe I’ll try it when I’m a 30 year old cat lady) but yet the ringing endorsement of it is an engagement. Or maybe I’m defensive because yet another article about online dating has to start with the “I thought online dating was just for old, lonely, losers who couldn’t hack it in real life, but . . .” angle.

  2. Tusconian

    July 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    To be fair, the last few times I’ve flipped through Seventeen, there were entire sections dedicated specifically to college students and preparing high school seniors entering college, with more frank, mature discussions of topics that affected young women between 17 and 21, like drinking and sex. When I was in Seventeen’s target demographic, it was pretty rare to read about a topic that would have affected a girl who’d graduated high school, very few models were over 19, etc. At the time, CosmoGirl was still around, focusing on older high schoolers and college students, so there wasn’t really a pressing demand for a mainstream teen/young women’s magazine to talk about stuff that would affect college aged women. Seventeen would rarely have a discussion of consent or pro-birth control articles, favoring explaining what birth control was, but heavily pushing a abstinence agenda, for example. A lot of the “edgier” teen magazines have been discontinued, and Seventeen is kind of picking up the slack. That article seems very much aimed at college aged women, not 13 year old 8th graders. It’s also not really feasible to sign up for a dating site as a minor. Unlike social media sites, which have minimum ages of 12, 13, or 14, and don’t check that hard for people lying about their ages, dating sites have a strict 18+ requirement and are more vigilant about checking for those things. Especially something like Match dot com, which I think also involves payment.

    There really is a gap in women’s/girls magazine publishing. There are plenty of magazines for girls and young teens, and plenty for women who are in their twenties or older, but basically nothing aimed at a 16 to 22 demographic. Most “teen” magazines are really for pre-teens, with vapid articles about bands aimed at middle schoolers and “embarrassing moment” pages. Most women’s magazines are filled with articles about marriage and sex, office jobs, sad stories about murder and sickness, recopies that involve a full kitchen, and advice about having children. Seventeen is pretty much the only magazine I read aside from CosmoGirl that took a moderately realistic approach to high schoolers, and I can’t think of any magazines aimed at young women and college students. It’s trying to fill a void, not push adult concerns on middle schoolers.

  3. CrazyFor Kate

    July 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Seventeen is pretty freakin’ stupid all the time. I guarantee every issue has something to get worked up about.

  4. meteor_echo

    July 29, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I absolutely don’t understand the hatred for online dating. If dome right, it can be wonderful – specifically, if you look for somebody on hobby websites or forums, and if you get into a relationship after actually becoming friends. Did it, found an amazing man, getting married next year.

    • LiteBrite

      July 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Congratulations! 🙂

      My husband and I also met online, through Match.com. We’ve been married almost 9 years. Another friend met her husband on eHarmony. Yeah, I’ve heard some negative stories about online dating, but I’ve also plenty of negative stories from people who met their dates at grocery stores, group meetups, and even through friends. Online dating can really open a pool of people you might not meet otherwise.

  5. Rachel Sea

    July 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Kids social interactions will never again look the way our did growing up, because we didn’t have the internet. The solution is not to try to keep them away from it (because that will flat-out never work), but to come up with ways to make teen, and child friendly territories so that they and their peers don’t think it’s lame or babyish to eschew adult-centric sites and content.

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