Dating violence is no longer constrained to person to person abuse. Many forms of abuse can be carried out with the use of technology, or Cyber Abuse. If you are aware or suspect that your teen is being abused via media platform, you need to treat it as you would any form of dating abuse.
Indications of cyber abuse:
- Partner sent sexual or naked photos
- Threatened teen if the teen did not return a sexual or naked photo
- Posted an embarrassing photo of your teen online
- Sent threatening or harassing messages to the teen
- Took a video and sent it to his/her friends without their permission
- Used/checked teen’s social networking account without permission
- Sent instant messages to the teen that made them feel scared
- Wrote nasty things about the teen on his/her social media page
- Sends too many text messages (emails, chats)
- Made the teen afraid when they did not respond to cell phone messages
You deserve to be in a safe and healthy relationship, both in person or online. If your partner is digitally abusive know their behavior is not acceptable and could be illegal. Check out our tips below for staying safe on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Snap Chat, YOLO and others.
- Only post things you want the public to see or know. Once it’s online, it’s no longer under your control.
- Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and things like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find where you live, hang out or go to school.
- Set boundaries and limits. Tell people not to post personal information, negative comments or check-ins about you on social media. Ask people not to post or tag pictures if you’re not comfortable with it.
- You can keep your passwords private -- sharing passwords is not a requirement of being in a relationship.
- Don’t do or say anything online you wouldn’t in person. It may seem easier to express yourself when you are not face-to-face, but online communication can have real-life negative consequences.
What you can do as a parent:
- Give your teenager a chance to talk. Listen quietly to the whole story.
- If you suspect that your teenager is already involved with an abusive partner, tell your teenager that you are here to help, not judge. If your teenager does not want to talk with you, help your teenager find another trusted person to talk with.
- Focus on your child, do not put down the abusive partner. Point out how unhappy your teenager seems while with this person.
- If your teenager tries to break up with the abusive partner, advise that the break be definite and final. Support your teenager’s decision and be ready to help. Get advice from teen dating prevention hotlines or teen counselors on how to support your child through a relationship break up.
- Take whatever safety measures that are necessary. Have friends available so your teen does not have to walk alone etc. Leaving an abusive relationship can be extremely dangerous.
Visit these sites to learn more about cyber abuse & teen dating violence:
Submitted by: Community Referral Agency
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