Many of us use cell phones and online spaces to connect with others, sharing personal information while doing so.
Take a look at this infographic by MediaSmarts. It has information about the ways youth in Canada use social media.
Unfortunately, technologies and online spaces can become another way for some abusers to harm their victims.
Abusers can use multiple strategies to extend their abusive behaviour online.
Abusers can also use online spaces to harass their victim(s). Harassment is any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates someone. It usually involves repeated incidents but if a single situation is serious enough it can also be labelled harassment. Online harassment can include using social media to threaten, humiliate or blackmail someone.
Another way technology can be used to abuse someone is through sexting. Sexting is when explicit images, videos and messages are sent through the internet or text messages.
Sexting in itself may not be harmful (although in Canada, it is actually illegal for anyone under 18 to send a sext because it is considered child pornography). However, if someone is forced into sending a sext or if an image is forwarded without permission, this is abusive behavior.
If you are experiencing abuse online, remember you can always reach out for support.
You can also look at these websites which deal specifically with the issue of technology and abuse:
Need Help Now (Online Abuse & Sexting)
Get Cyber Safe