Digital abuse happens when someone takes control over your devices such as your phone and computer and this could take on many forms. In a healthy relationship, all communication is respectful, whether in person, online or by phone. It is never ok for someone to do or say anything that makes you feel bad, lowers your self-esteem or manipulates you.
Are you a victim of digital abuse?
- Does your partner dictate to you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites?
- Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online?
- Use their social media platforms to keep a constant watch over you on you and monitor your activity or engagements and knows your every move?.
- Are you negatively mentioned in their social media posts or status?.
- Do you receive unwanted, explicit pictures or videos and demands you send some in return?
- Have you had to handover all the passwords to your accounts & profiles?
- Are you constantly receiving messages when you’re not together that make you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished?
- Is your phone taken and checked your messages and calls made & received or your pictures looked at?
- Nobody deserve to be mistreated, online or in real life.
- Your relationship boundaries should be respected.
- It is ok to turn off your phone. You have the right to be alone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry.
- You do not have to send any pictures or statements that you are uncomfortable sending, especially nude or partially nude photos – this is known as “sexting”. You lose control of any electronic message once your partner receives it. They may forward it, so don’t send anything that you’re not 100% comfortable with anybody else seeing.
- Your password is your password and doesn’t have to be shared with anyone.
- Know your privacy settings. Social networks such as Facebook allow the user to control how their information is shared and who has access to it. These are often customizable and are found in the privacy section of the site.
An important thing to take note of is that when registering for some applications (apps) you will be required you to change your privacy settings. Be mindful when using check-ins like Facebook Places and locations on Instagram. Letting an abusive partner know where you are could be dangerous. Also, always ask your friends if it’s ok for you to check them in. You never know if they are trying to keep their location secret.
If you’re experiencing digital abuse, we encourage you to chat with a counsellor and get help before the situation gets out of hand and your life is endangered or your privacy is completely compromised.