A 12-year-old should avoid online dating, because many negative behavioral and legal ramifications can occur. Several states have laws that closely regulate online dating. In addition, many dating websites, such as OkCupid and Match.com, actually block anyone under the age of 18 from using their websites.
There are several risks to online dating, some of which are shared with traditional dating. As a 12-year-old is under the age of consent in most places, dating (both online and traditional) incurs the risk of statutory rape if the other party is over the age of consent. Some online daters may lie about their age to gain access to those under the age of consent.