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12 YO Friend Is Dating A 17 YO Online

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
The first thing i would like to say is thank you for taking all the time it must take to read each and every question that is submitted to your website. My problem is that I am very concerned for my best friend. She is only 12yrs old and she bought an app on her ipod touch that lets you look at other people's profiles and see pictures of them.(I believe it is something like facebook or myspace) Anyway, the point is that she saw a profile of a "really hot and sexy" guy that feels the same way about her. He is 17 and lives on the other side of the country. I am concerned because she decided to date him and after about a week in their relationship he asked her to marry him!! I thought she was joking when she told me and she said, "Of I'm not joking. I said yes because I love him." I am concerned that this boy is a really bad person and is going to hurt her when they meet each other in person for the first time. What can I do to help her realize what she is getting into? Also she is the type of friend who will cuss me out and never talk to me again if I tell her that is it so horrible of her to do this. I am considering ending the friendship but I don't know how to without her yelling and being mad at me. PLEASE!!! I NEED YOUR HELP!! SHE MAY BE IN TERRIBLE DANGER!!!!!
Signed: 12 YO Friend Is Dating A 17 YO Online

Dear 12 YO Friend Is Dating A 17 YO Online,


TeenHealthFX can appreciate your concern – between the young age of your friend, the age difference between your friend and this guy (if he is really 17), the fact that your friend is getting so swept up in this to the point she is thinking about marriage at 12yo, and the fact that this guy on the other side of the country could be anyone posing as this “really hot and sexy” guy.

FX thinks that is important for you to do something soon about this before your friend ends up getting hurt in any way – physically or emotionally. You could start by speaking to her about your concerns and provide her some education about the potential problems of this relationship. You could share the following questions/answer with her: One Of My Friends Is In Danger as well as the other questions/answers listed in Online Relationships and Questionable Relationships.

If you have any reason to believe that your friend is not understanding the potential problems of what she is doing and is not going to give this guy up (or may continue to meet other people online), then it is important for you to talk to an adult about it immediately. You could tell her parents or talk to your parents and ask them to speak to her mother and/or father. FX appreciates that your friend might curse you out and never speak to you again if you do this, but in the end her well-being is more important. It will feel awful to have her so angry with you, but believe us that you would feel even worse if something happened to her because of a situation you knew about and didn’t say anything about. If she is putting herself in danger the bottom line is that she needs adult there to educate her and intervene. FX would hope that one day she would understand your going to an adult came only out of care and concern – but even if that does happen, you can sleep well knowing you did the right thing.  

Signed: TeenHealthFX