Digital Abuse: Social Networking Safety

LOveIsFebruary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Love is Respect continue to educate teens, parents and communities on dating violence.  We live in a world of technology where today it’s not only about physical and verbal abuse, people are suffering with digital abuse.

What is digital abuse?

You deserve to be in a safe and healthy relationship, both in person or online. If your partner is digitally abusive, know their behavior is not acceptable and could be illegal. Check out our tips below for staying safe on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others.

  • 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.

Learn more – visit www.loveisrespect.org

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

Sex crimes – sexual molestation – and kids!

A scary and horrific combination!

Stacey Honowitz, a regular on HLN, CNN, Fox and MSNBC is also a leading state prosecutor with over 17 years dedicated to the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.

However most importantly one of her accomplishments is her two educational books that serve to help parents, children, advocates and others to finally talk about this difficult subject in a manner which is comfortable for everyone.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Stacey Honowitz answered a few questions:

Q)  What changes in a child’s behavior should raise a red flag for parents?

Stacey:  Some behaviors in small children are nightmares, bed wetting, a constant need to be with you, a fear when you go to change them, and a general fear of staying alone with the person after they never had a problem before. I don’t like to generalize, because some of these behaviors are indicative of other issues, but sometimes a decline of grades in older kids, and a lack of enthusiasm for things warrant a discussion. It might not be abuse, but certainly if something doesn’t sit right with you, make sure and ask if they feel uncomfortable about something and want to share it.

Q)  What sorts of behaviors from an adult should raise a red flag for parents to prohibit that adult from ever spending alone time with their child?

Stacey:  This really goes back to the first question that you asked. Sometimes a person will pursue a child by engaging in behaviors that the child will enjoy. Constant gift giving, a relationship based on “being friends” and “don’t be afraid to tell me anything” coupled with an opportunity to spend “alone” time with them.

Red flag number one, the person calls and communicates with the child by phone or computer without you being present, and constantly asks you if they can “take your child” out for the day, or that they would love to babysit while you do what you have to do. Most parents are thrilled to have an adult take such an interest in their child, but they must realize that many times there is an ulterior motive.

Q)  If a parent is suspicious of an adult’s behavior, what steps can the parent take?

Stacey:  If any parent believes that another child is being abused please do not feel like your are intruding by trying to help. Most parents later on say “I thought something was happening but it was not my place.” It is your responsibility to alert either a family member, school authority or protective services if you suspect some type of abuse either sexual or physical. If you have a relationship with that child there is nothing wrong with you questioning the child, and asking “is everything okay” or “do you need my help with anything going on at home.” Better safe than sorry is a motto that really holds water.

For more information, order Stacey’s books:

Genius With a Penis, Don’t Touch!

My Private Parts Are Private

Learn more about Stacey Honowitz on her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Teen Dating Violence and Abuse: Know the Facts

Nation’s leading experts confirm college dating violence is a much larger problem than anyone realizes

Loveisrespect.org, the National Partnership to End Dating Abuse, launches new initiative to combat dating violence on college campuses nationwide

A new survey reveals dating violence and abuse to be surprisingly more prevalent among college students than previously believed. Nearly half of dating college women (43%) report having ever experienced violent or abusive dating behaviors, and more than one in five (22%) report actual physical abuse, sexual abuse or threats of physical violence. Despite the high number of students experiencing these types of abuse, more than one-third of college students (38%) say they would not know how to get help on campus if they found themselves in an abusive relationship.

The survey, “Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll,” was conducted by Knowledge Networks to address the lack of data on dating violence and abuse among college students and to increase the understanding of this problem on college campuses nationwide.

According to dating violence expert, Dr. Karen Singleton, Director of Sexual Violence Response, a program of Columbia University Health Services, “This survey expands on earlier reports and reinforces the complexity of the issue.” Among the findings are:

·         Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) college women report having been a victim of an abusive dating relationship in her life.

·         57% of students who report having been in an abusive dating relationship indicate it occurred in college.

·         52% of college women report knowing a friend who has experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, digital, verbal or controlling abuse.

·         Further, 58% of students said they would not know how to help if they knew someone was a victim.

“The findings of this survey prove that colleges and universities need to provide a more comprehensive response and additional creative educational programs to address dating violence and abuse,” said Jane Randel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Liz Claiborne Inc.

The survey findings were released today, during a forum to educate students about sexual assault prevention and survivor assistance at American University.

The full report of survey results can be found at www.loveisnotabuse.com.

National Dating Abuse Helpline and Break the Cycle Respond to the Urgent Need for Education

In direct response to these new findings, www.loveisrespect.org, a partnership between the National Dating Abuse Helpline and leading teen dating violence prevention organization, Break the Cycle, is launching an initiative to target college students with new, relevant resources to address the issue of dating abuse.

The expanded online content includes: Take Action (information on how students can get involved on their campus), Stay Safe (safety planning designed specifically for college students) and Help a Friend (information to assist bystanders). The survey shows that 57% of college students say it is difficult to identify dating abuse – substantive evidence of the need for increased education and awareness.

 

“It is our hope that with these targeted college resources, we can help increase knowledge about how students can combat the issue and ultimately, help prevent the prevalence of dating abuse and violence among students,” said President of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and National Dating Abuse Helpline, Katie-Ray Jones.

The resources are available, free online at www.loveisrespect.org.

In addition, Liz Claiborne Inc. has created a college dating violence curriculum called Love Is Not Abuse, designed to help students deal with dating violence and abuse on campus. The first college curriculum of its kind, Love Is Not Abuse educates students about the dangers and warning signs of dating violence, offers lessons specifically on abuse via technology and provides resources where college students can find help on campus.

The Love Is Not Abuse curriculum was created by a task force consisting of educators and domestic and sexual violence experts from Columbia University, George Mason University, the University of Kansas, Virginia Community College System, Northern Virginia Community College and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) following the May 2010 murder of University of Virginia student Yeardley Love.

The Love Is Not Abuse college curriculum is available online, free at www.loveisnotabuse.com/web/guest/curriculum.