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February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

1 in 3 teens have experienced teen dating violence nationwide. Teen dating violence can have long-term and severe short-term effects on teens, and these teens are more likely to use drugs, alcohol and tobacco; contemplate suicide; eating disorders and experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.

As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, we should be more aware of digital dating abuse. Digital dating abuse is defined as using technology to continually harass a romantic partner with the intent to control, coerce, intimidate, annoy or threaten them. Video chat, social media, and texting are different ways youth communicate that provide various opportunities for digital dating abuse.

It is encouraged to talk to youth early about dating violence and healthy relationships. Some tips on having a conversation with youth about health relationships are:

  • Encourage thoughtful, honest, and open dialogue – Talk openly and allow them to articulate what a healthy relationship is to them.
  • Be active in the youth’s life – Find activities and interests you can do with the teen.
  • Be supportive and nonjudgmental – Try to respect differences of opinions, come to mutually acceptable decisions, and be aware of seeming too judgmental or pushy so the teen does not become too defensive.