Digital abuse (aka: Cyber-bullying, Cyber-harrassment, Cyber-stalking) is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. In most cases, this type of abuse is emotional and/or verbal and though it is perpetuated online, it has a strong impact on a victim’s real life. According to advocates, your partner may be digitally abusing you if he/she:
Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites
Sends negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online
Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you
Puts you down in their status updates
Sends unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return
Pressures you to send explicit video
Steals or insists to be given your passwords
Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished
Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls
Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram and other social media
Digital abuse, like other forms of abuse, is an attempt to control a partner’s actions. As part of maintaining a healthy relationship, we recommend that partners create a digital contract that outlines what is and is not acceptable behavior online. Additionally, it’s important to know and exercise your “digital rights”:
You have the right to turn off your phone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry
You have the right to say no to sexting, or sending pictures or information digitally to your partner that you are not comfortable with
You have the right to keep your logins and passwords private
You have the right to control your own privacy settings on social networking sites
You have the right to feel safe and respected in your relationship, online or off
What is cyber-bullying?
There are bullies and then there are cyber-bullies. While bullying typically happens at school or work, cyber-bullying takes place over cyberspace. This includes both Internet and cell phone communication. Like physical bullying, cyber-bullying is aimed at younger people, such as children and teenagers. It may involve harassing, threatening, embarrassing, or humiliating young people online.
Cyber-bullying can take many forms. The following are just a few examples:
· Making fun of another user in an Internet chat room.
· Harassing a user over an instant messaging session.
· Posting derogatory messages on a user's Facebook or MySpace page.
· Circulating false rumors about someone on social networking websites.
· Publishing lewd comments about another person on a personal blog.
· Posting unflattering pictures of another user on the Web.
· Spamming another user with unwanted e-mail messages.
· Sending threatening or provocative e-mails.
· Repeatedly calling another person's cell phone.
· Sending unsolicited text messages to another user.
Cyber-bullying may seem humorous to some people, but it is a serious matter. Kids who are bullied online often feel hurt and rejected by their peers. This can lead to low self-esteem and depression. Therefore, cyber-bullying should not be tolerated and should be reported to authorities.
NOTE: Technically, cyber-bullying takes place between two young people. When adults are involved, it may be called cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking.
If you need help
Visit ONE PLACE Family Justice Center at 530 S. Lawrence Street, Montgomery, Alabama or call 334.262.7378 or if you are in immediate danger Call 911.