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And when parents show they are available to talk — even when the subject matter may be uncomfortable — they pave the way for richer, values-laden conversations about dating and relationships, according to Deborah Roffman, a Baltimore-based sex education teacher and author who has worked with students and parents at several area schools.

“The fact is, you’re sending them off into a world they’ve not been in before,” Roffman says.

And without guidance from a trusted adult, new realities — from racy text messages to online pornography — end up shaping the attitudes and expectations kids bring to their early dating experiences.

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From there, she expanded her act to You Tube (2.2 million subscribers), Instagram (6.8 million followers), Snapchat and other platforms.“Parents need to talk to their kids about healthy relationships.They need to talk about boundaries, and they need to start the conversation early.” Sharing age-appropriate information about sex and sexuality helps keep kids safe and healthy.Question: What are some tips for parents to help them get the conversation about sex and dating started with their teens?Answer: Establish open communication at an early age.