News U Can Use: “Digital Dating Abuse Among Middle School & High School Students”

“With February being Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, new research is illuminating how this problem is manifesting online. “Digital dating abuse” as it has been termed, uses technology to repetitively harass a romantic partner with the intent to control, coerce, intimidate, annoy or threaten them. Given that youth in relationships today are constantly in touch with each other via texting, social media and video chat, more opportunities for digital dating abuse can arise.

A researcher from Florida Atlantic University, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, conducted a study to clarify the extent to which youth are experiencing digital forms of dating abuse, as well as to identify what factors are linked to those experiences.

Research on this phenomenon is still emerging; indeed, this study is the first to examine these behaviors with a large, nationally representative sample of 2,218 middle and high school students (12 to 17 years old) in the United States who have been in a romantic relationship.

Results of the study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, showed that more than one-quarter (28.1 percent) of teens who had been in a romantic relationship at some point in the previous year said they had been the victim of at least one form of digital dating abuse…”

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