The terminology, “Teenage Dating Violence” is frequently used by law enforcing authorities, psychologists, child protection services and community services alike. This term explains all forms of physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse that occur between teenagers who are dating each other or in a romantic relationship.
Researchers believe this terminology needs to be revised because of recent advancement in technology. In a past decade or so, teenage cyber harassment – between strangers, friends and couples – has increased manifold. With changing in social dynamics of society due to technology, relationships have also experienced certain changes. Now, more teenagers are turning to internet to look for a date or have a virtual relationship e.g., dating websites, social networking and texting on a cell phone. Where this has created a new social world for teenagers to get connected and relate to each other in different capacities; it has also given a relatively unchecked means to harass, control and abuse their partners.
Despite escalating cyber dating violence among teens, there hasn’t been enough research on a large scale that would help parents and teens to deal with this issue.
Numbers speak loud
According to a research published in ‘Journal of Youth and Adolescence’, quarter of 3,745 teens surveyed, reported that they have experienced some form of cyber dating abuse victimization. Among them 52% were females who said they have experienced sexual cyber dating abuse. As compared to females, more males admitted to be the perpetrators of sexual dating abuse online.
Another alarming set of statistics showed that 55% of the sexual cyber dating abuse victims said they have also experienced sexual coercion. Similarly perpetrators of sexual abuse were 17 times more likely to have also perpetrated sexual coercion.
Another study conducted by Teen Research Unlimited focuses on the behavioral patterns of the perpetrators that result in cyber dating abuse. The researchers selected 615 teens from age 13 to 18 across the country to participate in the research. The result of the research revealed that teens are both victims and perpetrators of abuse in the cyber world; however, only details of the findings regarding the victims were released.
It was recorded that 25% of teens reported having been called names, harassed, or put down by their partner through cell phone and texting; while 22% reported being coerced into performing sexual acts by the cell phone or the internet. Alarming statistics were revealed about perpetrators harassing, spreading rumors, threatening and embarrassing their partners on internet including social media networks.