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530 S. Lawrence Street | Montgomery, AL  36104
Phone 334.262.7378

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Domestic Violence - Digital Abuse/Cyber-bullying

Digital abuse (aka:  Cyber-bullying, Cyber-harrassment, Cyber-stalking) is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. In most cases, this type of abuse is emotional and/or verbal and though it is perpetuated online, it has a strong impact on a victim’s real life. According to advocates, your partner may be digitally abusing you if he/she:

  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites
  • Sends negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online
  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you
  • Puts you down in their status updates
  • Sends unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return
  • Pressures you to send explicit video
  • Steals or insists to be given your passwords
  • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished
  • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls
  • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram and other social media

Digital abuse, like other forms of abuse, is an attempt to control a partner’s actions. As part of maintaining a healthy relationship, we recommend that partners create a digital contract that outlines what is and is not acceptable behavior online. Additionally, it’s important to know and exercise your “digital rights”:

  • You have the right to turn off your phone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry
  • You have the right to say no to sexting, or sending pictures or information digitally to your partner that you are not comfortable with
  • You have the right to keep your logins and passwords private
  • You have the right to control your own privacy settings on social networking sites
  • You have the right to feel safe and respected in your relationship, online or off

What is cyber-bullying?

There are bullies and then there are cyber-bullies. While bullying typically happens at school or work, cyber-bullying takes place over cyberspace. This includes both Internet and cell phone communication. Like physical bullying, cyber-bullying is aimed at younger people, such as children and teenagers. It may involve harassing, threatening, embarrassing, or humiliating young people online.

Cyber-bullying can take many forms. The following are just a few examples:

·         Making fun of another user in an Internet chat room.

·         Harassing a user over an instant messaging session.

·         Posting derogatory messages on a user's Facebook or MySpace page.

·         Circulating false rumors about someone on social networking websites.

·         Publishing lewd comments about another person on a personal blog.

·         Posting unflattering pictures of another user on the Web.

·         Spamming another user with unwanted e-mail messages.

·         Sending threatening or provocative e-mails.

·         Repeatedly calling another person's cell phone.

·         Sending unsolicited text messages to another user.

Cyber-bullying may seem humorous to some people, but it is a serious matter. Kids who are bullied online often feel hurt and rejected by their peers. This can lead to low self-esteem and depression. Therefore, cyber-bullying should not be tolerated and should be reported to authorities.

NOTE: Technically, cyber-bullying takes place between two young people. When adults are involved, it may be called cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking.

If you need help

Visit ONE PLACE Family Justice Center at 530 S. Lawrence Street, Montgomery, Alabama or call 334.262.7378 or if you are in immediate danger Call 911.


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