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While there may be the occasional romantic twosome among the members, the majority are unattached.
If anything, youngsters in the group spend as much time interacting with their same-sex friends as they do with members of the opposite sex. Ron Eagar, a pediatrician at Denver Health Medical Center, views group dating as a healthy way for adolescents to ease into the dating pool rather than dive in.
But there are also plenty of benefits, especially for teens’ health.
“That’s a pretty good description of our current culture,” says Twenge.“Others wrote that they’re less likely to have jobs, so they must be lazy or immature.” “If you look at the big picture, it’s not that they’re doing more good things or more bad things overall,” says Twenge.“It’s just that they’re less likely to do all kinds of things that adults do, and there is definitely a trade-off there.” One downside to slower development is that teens may be unprepared for living independently when they go off to college, get their first job or set out on their own, Twenge says.“The number-one benefit is safety,” says the father of two grown children.Going out in mixed groups also gives boys and girls an opportunity to just enjoy one another’s company, without the awkwardness and sexual tension that can intrude upon a one-to-one date. Many of us feel that way when we imagine our son or daughter disappearing into the night arm in arm with a young lady or a young man. Eagar advises not allowing single dating before age sixteen.
The study’s findings may help explain why the teen birth rate rate is lower than ever, Twenge says, and why teenagers get in fewer car accidents than they used to.