Teen Dating Violence awareness month highlights Tech-facilitated abuse

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, shedding light on the rising threat of tech-facilitated abuse among teens. As technology becomes more advanced, so do the methods of abuse, including cyberflashing, hacking, controlling accounts, and using deepfakes and virtual impersonation to harass and manipulate victims.

February is recognized as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, serving as a reminder of the prevalence and impact of dating violence among teenagers. As technology continues to advance, the threat of tech-facilitated abuse has become increasingly concerning, particularly among teens.

Tech-facilitated abuse encompasses a range of behaviors, including cyberflashing, hacking and controlling accounts, sending harassing messages, sharing images without consent, and using deepfakes and virtual impersonation to manipulate or harm individuals. Kelli Owens, executive director of New York’s Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), emphasizes the seriousness of these issues, noting that such abuse can have lasting psychological effects on victims.

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According to a 2022 report by the U.S. Department of Justice, up to 19% of teens experience sexual or physical dating violence, while 48% face stalking or harassment. Additionally, as many as 65% of teens report psychological abuse in their relationships. These statistics underscore the prevalence and impact of teen dating violence, highlighting the urgent need for awareness and prevention efforts.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveals that female students experience higher rates of both physical and sexual dating violence compared to male students. The survey also indicates that 6% of heterosexual students, 17% of LGBTQ students, and 14% of students unsure of their sexuality reported experiencing physical dating violence in the last 12 months

Recognizing the growing threat of tech-facilitated abuse, OPDV has launched a new Tech Safety Guidebook to raise awareness and provide essential tips for staying safe online. Additionally, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has supported a new campaign to raise awareness about sextortion, a form of abuse often linked to personal relationships.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder of the need to address the growing threat of tech-facilitated abuse among teenagers. By raising awareness, providing resources, and advocating for change, we can work towards creating safer online environments for all individuals.