5 Ways To Spot A Digital Abuser
Abusers are using phones to target their victims. Oftentimes, these victims don’t even realize they’re being abused. According to domestic violence advocate Rhiannon Gill, “Most people do not realize that emotional and verbal abuse is considered domestic violence and are unable to recognize the signs of digital abuse.”
Teenagers are especially vulnerable to this type of abuse. They live their whole lives in the digital world. But that doesn’t mean parents or even grandparents aren’t targets. You might be surprised to find that you’ve been guilty of digital abuse.
And don’t just think women are at risk. Men and boys can be just as vulnerable to emotional abuse.
Let’s break down five signs that you’re being abused:
Controls Your Contacts
If someone tells you who you can be friends with on Facebook or who you’re allowed to follow on Instagram or other sites, that’s not a good sign.
Sorry teens, I don’t mean your parents. That’s their job. But when a peer tries to exert that kind of control over you, it’s a problem. And it doesn’t just have to be a romantic partner. Friends who attempt to exert that type of control over your life can be bad news as well.
Might it be legitimate for someone to have an issue with you being too chummy with an ex? Maybe. But if you start to see a pattern of wanting control over your contacts, it’s time to rethink that relationship.
Negative Comments and Messages
If someone expresses their frustration with you by doing any of the following, you’ve got a problem:
- Negative, threatening, or insulting:
- Posts or Tweets directed at you or your friends
- Comments on posts
- Texts or private messages to you or about you
Again, don’t just watch for this in a romantic partner. You don’t need this in your friends either. And it’s highly inappropriate behavior for family members as well.
Keeps Tabs On You
We’ve all heard jokes about stalking someone on social media. But it’s really not funny when someone uses technology to keep tabs on you. And it may not be just trying to find out your location. Here are some surprising ways that digital abusers stalk their victims
- Use sites like Facebook to keep tabs on what you’re doing.
- Constantly texts you and gets upset if you don’t reply immediately.
- Tags you in status updates that really have nothing to do with you.
- Another tactic is to tag you in photos and posts that are meant to insult you
All of these are abuse. It doesn’t matter if the stalker is male or female. It doesn’t matter if the stalker is you. If you’re significant other is having a girls’ night out or a boys’ camping weekend and you constantly message them, you’re the one being abusive.
An abuser may insist that you hand over the passwords to your phone or your accounts. It that doesn’t work, he or she might just steal your password and log in.
Unsolicited sexually explicit pictures are also a favorite tool. An abuser might insist that it’s only fair that you send some in return. Since the invention of photographs, this has never been a good idea.
Turns To Threats
When these abusers begin to escalate, they can turn to specific threats.
- Sharing explicit photos or videos of you
- Threatening to commit suicide
- Telling embarrassing information to your parents or friends
- Reporting you to children services
- Filing false police reports
- Threatening to harm your family or friends
Rhiannon Gill says the fallout from this type of abuse can be long-lasting.
“Emotional abuse, for some can be far worse than physical abuse. You heal easily from physical abuse but the mental and emotional abuse stays with you. Emotional abusers are able to manipulate a person because after hearing something so many times, you start to believe it.”