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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  Teen dating violence is defined as a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenaged dating partners, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital.  Digital violence is the use of technologies such as texting or social media to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner.  1 in 10 teens that have been on a date have also been physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year.  One of the most important things you can do is to keep the lines of communication open with your kids.  You can take the following steps to make a difference:

  • Be a role model – treat your children and your children’s friends with respect
  • Talk to your kids about healthy relationships early, before they start dating
  • Don’t be a bystander. Say something about abuse when you see it.
  • Get involved with efforts to prevent dating violence at your teen’s school
  • Educate yourself: the Love is Not Abuse iphone app is an educational resource for parents that demonstrates the dangers of digital dating abuse and provides much needed information on the growing problem of teen dating violence and abuse.
  • Circle of 6 app is an iphone app for college-aged students and their friends to stay close, stay safe and prevent violence before it happens. It takes 2 touches to get help.  The design ensures safety, speed and privacy.
  • One Love Foundation app helps the user determine if a relationship is unsafe and helps to create the best action plan for removal from the situation. This app can be used anonymously.
  • The National Dating Abuse Helpline offers 24-hour national web-based and telephone resources to help teens experiencing dating abuse. Call toll free, 1-86-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522.  This is a confidential tool.

Everyone has the right to a healthy and safe relationship free of abuse.

Kelly S. Vincel, CPNP, PMHS
Pediatric Associates
Adolescent Center