The internet can be a thrilling place, full of opportunities to discover something — or someone — new. Some people have found friendship and love on the internet, while more often than not, it is the opposite. Stories abound on how people have fallen prey to evil people they met via social media.
If you’ve developed an online relationship with a stranger, here are five warning signs that it is unhealthy:
1. The person is an adult in a relationship with a minor
As in real life, adults who seek out minors for an emotionally or physically intimate relationship should not be trusted.
“Anytime an adult is interacting with a child [in this fashion], it’s exploitative, it’s abusive,” says Stefanie Carnes, a clinical consultant with Elements Behavioral Health, a company that provides center-based treatment for addiction and mental illness.
While a young person might find it exhilarating to have an adult’s attention online, and not worry about a threat to their physical safety, Carnes says the relationship is still risky. With such a power imbalance, feelings of control are an illusion.
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