My DS, who has just turned 12 (tho mature for her age) almost overnight turned into the kind of teenager who would spend all her time squirrelled away in her room. I found out (by snooping) she spends a lot of time on a Pokemon chat forum which seems innocent enough but she has an online boyfriend, who I found (again by snooping!) seems to be a geniune young boy. Should I stop this now, should I even be snooping, how dangerous are these sort of forums - he could be a fifty year old bloke from round the corner. she is also the sort who won't talk to me even when something is obv troubling her. I'm new to this teenage stuff! Snoop or not too snoop, is this just what teenagers do nowadays etc.
My DD is now 16. But at 11-14 she was insecure, bullied a little, and her great solace was her passion for Pokemon and manga/anime. There was a local club based around the Pokemon card game, which was full of the geekiest kids you can imagine, but a lovely atmosphere.
So yes, make her aware of the dangers, but there are a huge number of genuine kids out there wanting to share their enthusiasm. DD made new friends locally who she'd met on line - but I always took her to meetings/get-togethers to check they were who they claimed.
At 14, she dyed her hair black and had it cut in a spiky Japanese look, and has been pretty happy with herself since! Usual ups and downs, but this really helped her find her identity, establish her preferred peer group and overcome issues.
So my message is keep her safe, but let her have this outlet.
Thanks Cooroo, I agree and that sounds very familiar, think DD is doing just that, finding her identity. Unfortunately we live in remote rural area so she hasn't found anyone into same things locally (she's into emo music too), but as she has only just started high school she has plenty of time.