At the High Low, we often cover new and innovative mobile apps, most of which center around the fashion industry, retail, and online commerce. In honor of February’s status as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), we wanted to bring you important information about a different sort of app, created by a long-established fashion-focused company, seeking to address and end the epidemic of teen dating abuse, through education for men, women, children, teens, and corporate executives.
According to the Liz Claiborne Inc. and Futures Without Violence 2009 Teen Dating Abuse survey, nearly 1 in 4 teens have been victimized by the use of technology from a boyfriend or girlfriend, and 51% of teens know someone who has been victimized, via technology, from a boyfriend or girlfriend. With those statistics in mind, Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse Coalition created a free iPhone app, available in iTunes, to provide parents with the information they need to learn more about teen dating abuse, recognize abusive behavior, and how to find help if they believe their teen may be in an abusive relationship.
Perhaps most important, in a unique simulation, the app recreates for parents what it might be like to be in an abusive relationship. During the course of several minutes, the user receives texts, emails, and calls from a ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend,’ mimicking the communications abused teens tend to receive.
The Digital Dating Abuse Simulator also includes videos on topics like privacy invasion, deleting a partner’s friends on social networks, and unauthorized access to a boyfriend or girlfriend’s social networks. The videos teach parents about the destructive behaviors common in digitally abusive relationships.
Meanwhile, the app’s corresponding Love Is Not Abuse curriculum seeks to provide facts about teen dating abuse, information on warning signs, tips on how to talk to one’s teen regarding abuse, and further information on the Love Is Not Abuse Coalition itself (including how to join and help).
The app was created after consulting top experts in the fields of dating abuse, adolescent development, and parenting. The resulting program was designed to aggregate many of the top resources in the field, so that parents can find information from leading experts and organizations in one place. Thus, Love Is Not Abuse’s app provides both insight and innumerable resources on an epidemic, that, with luck and effort, will soon be on the wane.