As the saying goes, breaking up is hard to do. It’s important to take time for yourself after a tough break up, especially if you were in an abusive relationship. But just because you’ve broken up doesn’t mean that your ex is out of your life. Enter technology – particularly, the smart phone. It’s designed to make our lives easier and more convenient, and allows us to have tons of information at our fingertips. And, even though your ex may be nonexistent in your physical world, you could still be a victim of digital dating abuse through technology, sometimes without even realizing it.
Digital dating abuse is the use of technologies, such as texting and social networking, to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner or previous partner. One in four teens is harassed or abused through technology. Some examples of digital abuse can include a partner or ex-partner sending belittling or threatening text messages, posting personal or intimate information or photos, or demanding passwords and access to personal accounts.
Additionally, one in three teens are texted up to 30 times per hour by a partner or ex-partner, inquiring about where they are, what they’re doing and who they’re with.
Everyone has rights to safety and privacy. Here’s a list of quick and easy tips to help you feel safe after a break up.
Consider changing your passwords
If you shared your online passwords or phone password with your ex, change them just to be safe. If you were in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, there’s a chance he or she might try to log into your accounts and continue to harass you. A strong password includes a variety of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and/or special characters (!,@,#,$,% &.*). Think of something specific that only you will know, and don’t use your name, birthday, street address or a pet’s name within the new password.
Update privacy settings
Verify your privacy settings on social media accounts, and consider opting for more privacy. This can mean only allowing certain friends to see new posts or photos, or limiting who can see your previous posts. And if necessary, block your ex and any of their friends or family that you think may provide information about where you are or who you’re with.
Don’t use check-ins
Think about turning off check-ins when you go out and take photos/post something to social media. On Facebook, you can manually check in by tagging a business name. Additionally, ask your friends not to tag you in check-ins or photos if you’re uncomfortable with your ex (and others) knowing where you are. On Facebook, there is also an option under the Privacy tab for you to review anything that you’re tagged in before it gets posted to your profile.
Check for spyware
If your ex was constantly checking up on you during your relationship, it’s a good idea to check your phone, tablet and computer for potential spyware. Spyware can be used to monitor victims, and unfortunately, many times it can be difficult to detect.
- For more details about what spyware is, how it works, and how to detect it, click here.
- To view technology articles and tips in the context of intimate partner violence and/or sexual assault, go to www.techsafety.org.
- Young adults can check out www.ThatsNotCool.org to take the healthy relationships quiz! During the quiz, users are given scenarios about a teen couple and vote “thumbs up” for cool/acceptable behavior, and “thumbs down” for uncool behavior. There is also a free app available to download.
- The Center for Family Safety and Healing offers FREE trainings to teens and adults on digital dating abuse. View all trainings topics here. To request a training for your business or organization, please fill out the online training request form or call 614-722-5911.