Defense Against Crime


Digital Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Tips

I just started writing about Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and last night I was watching the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and the discussed Digital Dating Violence. An organization called LoveIsRespect discussed the escalation violence in teen relationships. According to the report, teen dating violence is a huge issue and LoveIsRespect has seen a 600 percent increase in calls and chats since 2007. In the later decade of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century we have seen leaps and bounds and ease of access to technology that keeps us all at each other fingertips. Unfortunately this technology makes it easier of your to be abused digitally. There are so many new and different methods being used in abusive relationships such as cell phones and texting, email and social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and LoveIsRespect spoke with the CBS crew and told how technology has changed the dynamics of the abuse we are seeing. Unlike the physical abuse which may follow the digital abuse there are no scars, not bruises, no broken bones to indicate abuse, but those who are the target of digital abuse suffer non the less.

I’ve seen this happen in the lives of a young lady name Nicole and her Ex-Boyfriend David. Nicole and David had started their relation by talking on the phone, then by occasionally going out. Then David became more demanding by getting upset when Nicole did not answer her phone when he called, or texting back immediately. Nicole’s emotional pain grew as David continued to blitz her with cursing over the phone, sending cruel comments via instant messages, e-mails and Facebook, calling her names and accusing her of cheating. When she decided she had had enough, she ended that relationship. This only intensified the phone calls. When she would not answer her cell phone, he started calling the house phone. Does this sound familiar to any situations you know? Once her parents found out what was going on, her father had a chat with David, informing him that Nicole was ‘done’ with him, and not to contact her anymore, he also informed David that if necessary they would get a restraining order against him. We will see how this story plays out.

Not Taking it Any More

There are several new school programs in some areas of the country to combat abusive teen relationships that are current and in the language of today’s teens. The goal of the program is to empower them to understand how controlling and dangerous behavior is amplified through texting, sexting, Facebook and other social networking sites.

We must get the message out to this generation of teenagers, who, through social networking, have the ability to abuse, or the potential to be abused, at their fingertips.

The Warning Signs

  • Does your special friend text you asking ‘where you are’ all the time?
  • Does special friend request pics of you (withoug clothing of course)? [Don’t ever do this] 
  • Is your special friend spying on your social network accounts?
  • Do your special friend make you feel pressured, uncomfortable, confused, and down right disrespected?
  • Does your special friend get up set when you don’t return their call by a certain time.

What You can Do

  • Trust your instincts- if you feel uncomfortable leave- that situation.
  • Get your parents involved as soon as you notice a problem. Your parents are on your side.
  • Turn off your phone and if necessary get a new phone number.
  • THINK..there is no privacy on the internet, anything your say or send can be all over the net in a nanosecond.

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