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Online Dating for Middle Schoolers?

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While online dating and matchmaking is cool for single moms, it is NOT OK for the tween set.

Young girl using computer

Dr. Wendy Walsh: A school district in Elwood, Ind., is under fire this week for an annual fundraiser that matches students with compatible mates. The fundraiser, which the school superintendent, Thomas Austin, says is "innocent," works like this: Students pay a few bucks to fill out a personality survey, and a computer provides compatible matches of the opposite sex -- from grades six through ten! The more money students pay, the more matches will be provided. Proceeds go to the drama club -- but this year, the fundraiser itself is causing more drama.

This kind of activity is inappropriate for a number of reasons. Already, American parents have been complaining that our culture is sexualizing our children way too early, and this kind of matchmaking fosters coupling up. Add to that the fact that there is a wide age-range of participants: An 11-year-old girl could potentially be matched with a 16-year-old boy, making her prone to sex pressure. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. 

But despite that, Austin apparently calls the survey "a harmless, noninvasive fundraiser" that "they've been doing for the past 15 years."

"I approved this fundraiser on February 1st," he's quoted as saying, "and I knew about the content of the survey and it's just a good way for kids to have a little fun. It's a voluntary survey."

Austin also claims he hasn't gotten any complaints from parents. Maybe the reason for that is because the fundraiser does not come with a parental-consent form -- so most parents don't even know it's going on. Yikes!

momlogic readers, what do YOU think about this?

next: Mom's Antidepressants May Delay Baby's First Steps
33 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kathy February 23, 2010, 6:32 AM

The parents have the right to know about this so that they can ask their children about it during and after. I do believe it is inappropriate for the age group mentioned in the article. I am curious if this guides kids to go online at home in to chat rooms because it was “all in fun”. The comment made about kids needing to make mistakes(?) Well, there are some mistakes kids shouldn’t be put in the position of making and then thinking, “lesson learned” This article bothers me probably because I just watched the Dr’s show yesterday about the new Teen Sex Parties that are all the rage. I just think some “innocent”-“fun” things could possibly open the door (idea) to other things. So, I would want to know about it so that I could talk to my kids during and after the game.
Oh, and my first thought was, “Sad, this is the schools way to make money?”

Traci February 23, 2010, 7:59 AM

When I was in Middle School 20 years ago, they did this as well every year around Valentine’s Day. While it did cause some issues with people picking on you because of who you got, it wasn’t real vicious and it was a lot of fun. Back then, they only paired you with people in your own grade as well, never anyone older. However, with how kids are these days, I’m not sure it’s a good idea anymore. It’s sad that something that should be fun has turned into an outlet for torture and pressure.

Katherine SOLO dot MOM February 23, 2010, 9:08 AM

I totally disapprove of teenagers looking for love online - even if it is through controlled environment at the school. What would keep them from trying the real thing that’s available out there… for free… just a step beyond lying about your age on facebook, you can lie about your age on a dating website. This is pushing them into territory they already tap into way too early as it is.

I know the internet and social media are the ways of the time and this generation, but can’t we just have sally hawkins dances like the used to instead of online dating initiated.

Anonymous February 23, 2010, 11:19 AM

I remember this being done 25 years ago, at my high school. It is not anything serious or threatening! At most, it could be a catalyst for a few conversations. You see whomever is on your match list, and actually talk to them, because your risk of rejection is less, since you’re on their list as well.

Joanne February 23, 2010, 11:59 AM

What’s next? Condoms in kindergarten?
Please. At this age kids should not even be dealing with dating concepts. They should only be going to school, having fun and making normal memories for when they are older.

adiaha February 23, 2010, 1:13 PM

Somebody should have their decision making process reviewed and maybe their position taken for this…I mean really.

Sam February 23, 2010, 3:01 PM

I participated in the very same fund raiser as a teenager. I never experienced or observed pressure being applied to anyone. If there is an uproar over this harmless exercise, then should we ban the acknowledgment of Valentine’s Day on school grounds? Of course not. As long as a student’s private information (I.E. phone number, physical and email addresses) are protected, then here is no harm. Additionally, this fundraiser seems to provide for one of the most neglected parts of the educational system in a fun and modern way. I think there’s no reason to be against it.

REBEKAH February 28, 2010, 1:19 PM

I think you can find better ways to raise funds. I think kids are already treated as adults, they aren’t. Although, I think this is down on a parents priority list. Tv shows,especially teen reality shows, are the worst. 16 yr.olds acting grown, with boyfriends and $500 purses. focus on school and sports. No dating in my household until 18, when thet’re actually an adult.

darlene Meadows March 1, 2010, 9:06 AM

I think it is a great idea. The kids can see who they are compatible with. I do not believe it says dating Service. It brings together people of like minds that might not have been brought together. Remember opposites attract anyway! I think the Drama is who ever is making this a big deal and making it about sex they are the ones bringing the idea of sexual inuendo to the survey.Parents should be pleased children are finding other students to whom their child has some compatabilities. If you fear, your child meeting someone of the opposite sex, with whom they are compatible in a certain area of life, will causes them to have sex with that person than you had better take your child out of every extra cirricular activity and club or sport they enjoy with others.
MY Goodnes If they are astute you might consider taking them out of school with other intelligent thinking individuals of the opposite sex. HAHAHA
Get Real Folks!!Stop reading into things.

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