Wellness Center

Digital Abuse

When dating abuse impacts young adults and college students, it impacts all parts of their lives. It affects them in school, at home, in their dorm or apartment, among their peers, at work, and in their social lives. With digital technology playing such an important role in the lives of students, it shouldn’t be a surprise that dating abuse has gone digital. Digital dating abuse is when someone uses digital technology as a weapon to hurt someone else in a dating situation.

Using technology to spy on, harass or embarrass a partner in social communities can be a powerful abuse tactic in any relationship. Abusers can start online and move offline or vice versa. They can be anonymous, use stolen identities, or pretend to be the target. Tactics include spying, hacking and invasions of privacy, sexting-related harassment, extortion, posing, and set-ups. Any digital device can be used to hurt someone if the abuser is creative enough.

An addition to Digital dating abuse is sexting. Sexting, is sending nude, seminude or provocative pictures or video of yourself or others via cell phone. An abuser may use sexting pictures as blackmail, threatening to share them with the whole school or post them online unless the victim does exactly what the abuser wants him/her to do. The abuser may also threaten the victim to coerce him/her into posing for sexy photos.

Adapted from the Love Is Not Abuse Curriculum