Technology like computers and cell phones make it easier to abuse a partner because the abuse is hidden from everyone else.
We at Lose the Drama understand that technology is ever-changing, and it can be used to jeopardize your safety or it could be used to ensure your safety. For more information and help with safety planning, please contact the Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE 1-800-799-SAFE (7223) or TTY 1-800-787-3224
- Did you know that you can monitor someone’s computer use without the user knowing?
- Did you know that a “history” cannot be completely erased from a computer?
- Did you know that cell phone use can be monitored?
- Did you know that a global positioning system (GPS) can be placed on your car, in your purse or in your cell phone?
- Did you know the some court systems are placing court records online and that they may contain personal information?
- Did you know that e-mail is like a postcard and can be intercepted?
- Did you know that you can find safe computers at www.ctcnet.org?
What does technology have to do with dating abuse? Technology like computers and cell phones make it easier to abuse a partner because the abuse is hidden from everyone else — unless someone else reads the text message or listens in on the conversation, no one else would ever know.
- 1 in 4 teens in a relationship say they have been called names, harassed or put down by their partner through cell phones and texting.
- 71% of teens regard boyfriends/girlfriends spreading rumors about them using cell phones or computers as a serious problem.
- 68% of teens say boyfriends/girlfriends sharing private or embarrassing pictures/videos of them using computers or cell phones is a serious problem.
Abusive partners can use technology in order to exert control over (and stalk) a dating partner, both during and after a relationship. They can:
- Keep track of a partner by forcing them to check in by cell phone, text or IM
- Check up on what a partner is doing by looking at Facebook or MySpace pages, or by checking IM away messages
- Harass, threaten, belittle, demean, intimidate or spread rumors about a partner using cell phones, texting, email or instant messenger
Sources: Liz Claiborne Inc. & Teen Research Unlimited. (2007). Technology & Teen Dating Abuse Survey. www.loveisnotabuse.com
Social Networking Safety:
Check out our tips below on staying safe online.
- 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.
- Don’t respond to harassing, abusive or inappropriate comments. It won’t make the person stop and it could get you in trouble or even put you in danger.
- Keep a record of all harassing messages, posts and comments in case you decide to tell the police or get a restraining order.
- Always report inappropriate behavior to the site administrators.
- If you are leaving an unhealthy relationship, start by blocking your ex on Facebook and other social networking pages. We recommend you don’t check-in on foursquare or other location-based sites or apps — you don’t want your ex or their friends tracking your movements.
- Adjust your privacy settings to reduce the amount of information that particular people can see on your page. Privacy settings on sites like Facebook allow the user to control how their information is shared and who has access to it. Remember, registering for some apps require you to change your privacy settings.
- Avoid posting private details on your friend’s pages. They may not have appropriate settings and doing so may allow someone to see your movements and location. The same goes for tagging yourself in pictures.
- Consider what is called a “super-logoff” — deactivating your Facebook account every time you log off and reactivating it every time you log back on. This way, no one can post on your wall, tag you or see your content when you’re offline, but you still have all of your friends, wall posts, photos, etc. when you log back on.
- While it is inconvenient and may seem extreme, disabling you social networking page entirely may be your best option to stop continued abuse or harassment.