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Teen Dating Abuse

What do you know about teen dating violence?

For many tweens and teens summertime means freedom: days spent idling at summer camp, chasing dreams at a summer job, or exploring their neighborhoods. These kids are released from the pressures of school to explore the world — and the people — around them. Enter the summer romance.

Dating begins pretty early for kids today. And unfortunately where there is dating there is also sometimes dating violence.

A new report from Love Is Respect, The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline says that nine percent of 11 and 12 year olds report their friends have had sex. Forty percent reported their friends have been verbally abused in relationships. And 20 percent of 12 and 13 year olds say their friends have been victims of dating violence.

Emotional abuse is even more common. Thirty percent of teens say they are text messaged 10, 20, or 30 times an hour by cyber-bullying partners inquiring where they are, what they’re doing, or who they’re with. Seventy-one percent of teens cited boyfriends or girlfriends spreading rumors about them on cell phones and social networking sites as a serious problem.

If you’re a parent you probably think your child’s relationship is pretty innocent and safe. Unfortunately this study also suggests that parent’s views of their children’s relationships are often pretty disconnected with reality.

What do you know about the teen — or tween — relationships in your family? Do you know if your kids, or their friends, have been abused by a young partner? Do you fear that they will be?

If you’re a teen, does this study reflect a reality you see on a daily basis?

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