Technology & Abuse
Texting friends is fun and a great way to stay connected with your group during the day. The same goes for our dating partners – we love to get those texts that let us know the other person is thinking of us. But some dating partners take texting to a whole other level to become possessive, controlling, and constantly wanting to keep tabs on you. These behaviors are so common in teen dating relationships, but they are also abusive: 1 in 3 teens is text messaged 10, 20, 30 times an hour by a dating partner who wants to know where they are, what they’re doing, who they’re with…(2007 survey, LoveisRespect.org).
If your dating partner is constantly texting you to find out all the details about what you’re doing when you’re not together, then know that your dating rights are being violated. Having personal boundaries is essential in a healthy dating relationship; you have the right to your own space without being monitored by a dating partner.
So, what should you do if this is happening to you? Listen to this advice from TheSafeSpace.org:
- Remember, it is always okay to turn off your phone. (Just be sure your parent or guardian knows how to contact you in an emergency.)
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. Your abuser can easily call you from another line if he/she suspects you are avoiding him/her.
- Do not respond to hostile, harassing, abusive or inappropriate texts or messages. Responding can encourage the person who sent the message. You won’t get the person to stop – and your messages might get you in trouble and make it harder to get a restraining order or file a criminal report.
- Many phone companies can block up to ten numbers from texting or calling you. Contact your phone company or check their website to see if you can do this on your phone.
- Remember that pictures on cell phones can be easily shared and distributed. Be careful what images you allow to be taken of you.
- If you are in or coming out of a dangerous relationship, you should not be using any form of technology to contact your abuser. It can be dangerous and may be used against you in the future.
It may seem extreme, but if the abuse and harassment will not stop, changing your phone number may be your best option.