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Suffering Digital Abuse

February 16, 2012
Tyler Star News

There are no noticeable scars, no bruises to indicate abuse, but young people are suffering.

Their emotional pain is caused by boyfriends and girlfriends who bombard them with cruel comments via text message, instant message, emails and Facebook posts, calling them ugly or accusing them of cheating.

Accusations are made by possessive boyfriends. Then, he dumps his girlfriend. A month later, he changes his mind. He tells her if she texts him a naked photo of herself, they can get back together.

She complies, but her vindictive ex-boyfriend subsequently forwards the photograph to other students, who in turn share the photo with their friends. Eventually the photograph is uploaded to the Internet. In the aftermath, she is ashamed, embarrassed and mad. She never gets back with her boyfriend, and she is left feeling betrayed and abused.

The Internet is forever. Once it's out there, it is nearly impossible to remove. Minors need to remember that once a photograph or message leaves their phone or their computer, they are no longer in control of the situation.

More youths are using technology and social networks to abuse each other in romantic relationship. Digital abuse has become yet another growing problem among the teen population. Local officials are warning parents and young people about the consequences of sexting photos.

One in 10 teens reported they received a threatening cell phone message from their romantic partner, according to new results from the Cyberbullying Research Center. Explicit photos are being used as control mechinisms, blackmail material and means to inflict pain on victims after school hours.

What's the moral of this story? Think before you send a text message, instant message, email or photograph. The consequences of your action could haunt you for the rest of your life.

 
 
 

 

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