Many people think that domestic violence only happens face to face. But in the fast-paced world of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, digital abuse has become a growing trend. According to the Urban Institute, one in four teens is harassed online or through texting by a partner they have been romantically involved with.
Control through the digital space is a powerful and subversive tactic that can be hidden from plain sight. Oftentimes the person being abused doesn't share the painful texts or explicit pictures that the abuser has sent. By privatizing the abuse, the abuser gains a deeper level of psychological control.
Examples of digital abuse include:
- An abuser demanding that you delete certain friends from Facebook or other sites.
- Negative or threatening comments, tweets, DMs or emails being sent to your account.
- Using Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and other sites to keep constant tabs.
- Sending unwanted or explicit pictures and demanding your response in return.
- Stealing your passwords to private sites or demanding they have access.
- Demanding constant attention through text and making you feel guilty when you don't respond.
- Looking through your phone without permission.
The best way to combat digital abuse is to have a conversation about it with friends and family that use social media. By asking about your friend's or family member's experience with social media, it can define what healthy communication looks like in the digital space. Talk with your partner and let them how your limits on texting, pictures, tweets and comments. By developing boundaries, even in the digital space, you can express your love in a healthy way