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Online Hookup Culture, And Other Dangers of Social Media

High School Hookups are the New Normal for Teens

The response to my last blog was so overwhelming. I have heard from readers across the country who shared that understanding the FOMO phenomenon created an “aha” moment. Their teens had been exhibiting new and unrecognizable behaviors. And now they realize that FOMO is the cause. One mothers’ group in Chappaqua, New York wrote to tell me that they shared the article with over 2,600 mothers. FOMO is an epidemic. And sadly, there is more bad news on the horizon regarding social networking and our teenage girls. Namely, online hookups.

Vanity Fair article called Friends Without Benefits

In the September issue of Vanity Fair, Nancy Jo Sales discusses the many dangerous sites in her article, Friends Without Benefits. Sites that our teens have access to such as Tinder, Grindr, and Blendr. New social media has dramatically changed the landscape of what is considered dating. So removing my daughter’s Facebook account is not enough. I have to do battle with Instagram, and other sites she may have seen without my knowledge.

Today, teens seem to be seeking a casual meet and greet. They call it a quickie, a hookup—our generation called it a “one night stand.” But teens today are hooking up to have casual sexual encounters and online hookups because social networking, sexting and online porn make it seem so exciting. Eager to push the boundaries of their immature sexuality, young girls are influenced by what they see in the media—sultry duck lips, casual cleavage, and short shorts. But try fighting that when your own daughter shouts back with cries of, “But everyone is wearing it!!”

Sound familiar?

The trends are worrisome. Ask Your Teenagers.

Our teens have become cavalier about oral and anal sex, says Sales. And pornography is having a huge impact on sexual encounters. Friends Without Benefits is not for the faint of heart, yet I urge every one of you to read it. Sales questions a group of teenage girls as to why they cannot just get off Facebook and Instagram. They admit that without it, they fear that they would have no life. FOMO kicks into overdrive.

Virtual sex via Skype is the latest trend that has been explained to me by my trusty adolescent spies. Girls are taking off clothes in a Skype strip tease. One young teen was shocked when her “friend” took a screen shot and passed that around to the baseball team.

Once it is out there, you can’t get it back. Your virginity, your integrity, your sense of self-esteem, your confidence, your innocence. Social media is doing an extraordinary job of damaging each one.

There is much more in the Vanity Fair article. I know that it is one of the best conversation starters I will have with my daughter and my friends. I intend to address all of this at date night with my 15-year-old (hot fudge sundaes included). Not easy and incredibly necessary.

How sad for both of us.

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