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Pen Pals for Teens

By Flora Richards-Gustafson ; Updated June 13, 2017

A pen pal is a good way for a young person to meet someone from another culture or to keep in touch with someone she's met. While it’s not unusual for teens to have a pen pal for short periods, some can develop long-term friendships through the correspondences. Pen pals for teens can be a positive experience, but you should help a young person find a pen pal through safe resources.

Types

Thanks to technology, teens can correspond with pen pals in many ways. If a teen seeks a traditional pen pal, he might wish to send hand-written letters and postcards. A teen can also send his pen pal a friendship book in which the two send messages to each other in a journal or notebook instead of using stationery. Alternatively, a teen can choose to exchange email messages with a pen pal. If a teen has an account with a pen pal service, he can exchange messages with a pen pal through the service’s website.

Benefits

As a teen's brain develops, a pen pal can aid her social development, according to the School Family website. If a teen wants to learn how to speak a new language, a pen pal from another country can help her develop her writing, reading and comprehension skills, and motivate the young person to keep practicing. Even writing to a pen pal in English helps a teen build her writing and social skills.

Finding a Pen Pal

A teen can form a pen pal relationship with someone he met who lives too far away to visit regularly. Some school or public libraries have pen pal programs for teens who want to correspond using the Internet or the postal service. When a high school has an international sister school, a teacher or staff member can set up a pen pal program so the students from the two schools can correspond. Also available are pen pal websites for children and teens that pair members with other young pen pal seekers.

Considerations

A teen should only write to a pen pal who is similar in age. If she doesn’t know her pen pal personally, the best way to ensure that a teen only writes to another teen is to use a service offered through a library, school or an online pen pal service that teachers use to find pen pals for the classroom. If your teen uses an online pen pal service for young people, it should only match teens with other youths and have a strict privacy policy. The site Pen Pal Party recommends that a teen request an initial video chat with a pen pal to verify the person’s age and identity.

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