Here’s a story that just might break your heart, as it did mine. “Evan” and “Rachel” (whose names have been changed) are 8th graders who had been “dating” for a couple of weeks. Mind you, these days “dating” in middle school mostly involves texting, Snapchatting, and other online interactions. In this case, Evan and Rachel also shared their passwords with each other.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon practice between young adolescent “couples” and even between friends. After just three weeks, Rachel decided to call it quits on their relationship. Feeling aggrieved, Evan used her passwords to log into her accounts where he began posting and texting on her behalf. Really embarrassing stuff. He even shared photos that she absolutely did not want others to see. Needless to say, shame, hurt, and a lot of tears ensued.
Whether he knew it or not, what Evan did to Rachel following their breakup has a name, it’s called “Digital Dating Abuse.”
Please read this entire post on Psychology Today to learn why over a quarter of teens (28.1%) who have been in a romantic relationship during the previous year say they've been a victim of digital dating abuse.
Check out new research about this by Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin of the Cyberbullying Research Center. They just released the first study to examine this phenomenon. You can read it in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence article (“Digital Dating Abuse Among a National Sample of U.S. Youth”).
And please get their free download too: Digital Dating Abuse: A Brief Guide for Educators and Parents.