"My 16-year-old son has been chatting online with a gay teenager. He severely lacks social skills and now he thinks that he is gay."
by Michele Novotni, Ph.D.
Rather than emphasizing whether or not to try to cut off his interchange, an important, longer-term question would be, "How can I help him improve his social skills?"
Social competence is one of the primary determinants of adult success. Many with poor social skills find the Internet a great source of social interaction because it provides access to a wide range of people, and you have the ability to take your time to formulate responses. Some also find comfort in the acceptance they find on the net.
I recommend that you try to identify the social skills that he is lacking and work with him on gaining the needed skills or obtain the help of a psychologist or coach to help him improve his social skills. He may also benefit from the help of a psychologist in sorting out his social difficulties and his questions regarding his sexual orientation.
By improving his social skills, he would be able to open a wider range of options for friends and he may not see homosexuality as his only form of social connection. This strategy would hopefully provide a long-term solution to the problem.