Dating in the Digital Age
How do you deal with risky online relationships and digital drama?
Dating in the digital age allows teens to showcase their relationship online, the good and the bad. What happens to rocky relationships when dating in the digital age? A relationship can become a very public break up through exchanging insults through text messaging and social media posts, and any shared information, text, or pictures are at the mercy of another person and could, in the event of a breakup or falling out, be shared publicly.
When teenagers have access to digital devices 24/7, relationships can become controlling and manipulative. An abuser's text messages can increase to hundreds, and demands can escalate to relentless and unreasonable as the pressure for passwords, sexy photos, and controlling behaviors spiral out of control.
To support teens against digital abuse and drama, parents and teachers should provide guidance in establishing appropriate relationship boundaries. By encouraging students to protect themselves and their digital domain while in relationships, students are less likely to find themselves in compromising and humiliating drama.
Defending Your Digital Domain
- Keep your personal information private and your passwords on lockdown.
- Trust your instincts. If you don't like or feel threatened by something in a text, IM, or anywhere online, tell an adult and report threats to site administrators. Click here for a full list of social media site administrators.
- Don’t settle and accept relationships or friendships that don't give you any breathing room. If your inboxes are overflowing with unwanted messages, take control. Delete, defriend, and defend your domain.
- Be a wingman. If one of your friends is dealing with harassment from a classmate, stranger, or crush, show your friend that you are someone to depend on.
- Be part of the solution. No matter how large or small, every action you take to increase awareness of this issue is an important step.
The best defense against digital harassment is to know what to do if it happens to you, a child, a friend, or a student.