Technology, such as social media, apps, and text messaging, allows youth, teens and college students to experience relationships in vastly different ways from previous generations, as the connectedness of online relationships creates opportunities for personal development and relationship exploration. That same technology and connection also open up new possibilities for abuse that can diminish one's sense of agency leading to coercive control, potential safety concerns and possibly dangerous situations. Dr. Lauren Reed of Arizona State University provides us with the context for digital dating, how to identify and respond to abusive online tactics, and solutions for healthy relationships. Dr. Reed walks us through the empowering, youth-led research initiative, the Thriving Relationships Lab, that provides space for young people to process emotions and synthesize information as they navigate personal relationships online and beyond. This robust conversation offers resources for teens, college students, educators, service providers, parents and anyone with concerns about the future of healthy relationships in an increasingly online world.
Digital dating abuse, as defined by Futures Without Violence, is "a repeated pattern of behaviors to harass, pressure, control, or threaten a partner you're seeing or dating using social media, the internet or mobile phones." DDA can manifest as an abusive partner: sending a text message that threatens your personal safety, checking your social media accounts or your phone without your permission or knowledge, tracking your location, monitoring your online activity, stalking. These are just a few examples of DDA. If you are experiencing DDA talk to an adult you trust, create a safety plan, contact your local support center or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233), or Genesis at 214.946.HELP(4357). If you are in immediate danger call 9-1-1.