Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Program Bulletin
Do you have a Facebook or MySpace page? This Chairman does! And so do most teens and pre-teens. This is truly the digital age where technology is a central part of their lives. If you stop to think about it, most teens today have had Internet access since second grade. Some have also had cell phones since the age of eleven. Most teens believe that their cell phones, with text message capabilities and Internet IM sites, instant messaging, are extensions of themselves, much like another limb. These digital extensions are perceived as true extensions of the teen’s individual self and the relationships formed extend into this digital space. However, teens need to realize that what happens in that space does in fact have real world consequence.
Have you ever heard of the Digital Gray Areas? Digital gray areas are those behaviors that the individual teen believes are not acceptable. Behaviors may include:
- Constant text messaging, especially during the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. Most teens report that their partner sends up to 30 texts an hour.
- Breaking into a partner’s Facebook, MySpace, or e-mail account.
- The threat to share or actually posting on-line embarrassing or private pictures and/or videos.
What GFWC clubs can do:
- Sponsor a teen dating abuse workshop involving teens, parents, teachers, and other agencies in the community. Parent education is vital as some parents are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with technology.
- Work with your state domestic violence coalition and/or local shelter to develop an educational program and/or campaign.
- Work with your local Boy or Girl Scout Council to develop a patch/badge for a Teen Dating Violence and Prevention program.
»Have you signed up to receive Action Alerts from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)? Often your representatives need to be contacted quickly and the best way to stay informed is to receive these alerts directly.
» If your state is not among the many who have pending legislation mandating programs to educate junior high and high school students about teen dating violence and prevention, contact your state coalition to see how you can help.
»Find out more about a national petition to make teen dating violence education mandatory.
—Carol White (Nev.), GFWC Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Program Chairman