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How Can Social Media Inform Students on the Effects of Teen Dating Abuse?

Youth Voices is working with students from Arroyo High School to explore El Monte/South El Monte and the surrounding communities. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag: #LoveisRespectEM. For this investigation, students from Arroyo High School are collaboration with students from Mountain View High School.

Team Name:
Love is Respect El Monte

Team Members:
Justine M.
Ruby M.
Lilly F.
Geovani O.
Abraham R.

Social Media:
Twitter: @loveisrespectem
Instagram: @loveisrespectelmonte

Love is Respect El Monte is the collaborative efforts of two high schools: Arroyo High School and Mountain View High School. Our main objective is inform students, teachers, and adults on the effects of teen dating abuse through creative outreach campaigns.

Defining Teen Dating Abuse:

According to Break the Cycle, a leading national nonprofit organization working to provide comprehensive dating abuse awareness and prevention programs exclusively to young people, dating abuse is "a pattern of abusive behaviors -- usually a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time -- used to exert power and control over a dating partner."

Any teen can experience dating abuse or unhealthy relationship behaviors, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. It does not discriminate and can happen to anyone in any relationship, whether it's one that is casual, serious, or long-term.

Recognizing the Signs of Abuse:

Physical Abuse: Any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon.

Verbal or Emotional Abuse: Non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.

Sexual Abuse: Any action that impacts a person's ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control.

Digital Abuse: Use of technologies and/or social media networking to intimidate, harass or threaten a current or ex-dating partner such as demanding passwords, checking cell phones, cyberbullying, non-consensual sexting, excessive or threatening texts or stalking on social media.

Using Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as a Tool for Change:

Social media plays a huge part of our lives. We eat, sleep, and breathe to the rhythm of the data that is transmitted to our smart phones, computers, and other devices. So when we had to think of the most effective way to spread our message, we were not thinking of where to do it, but simply how to incorporate our message to our online profiles. Teen Dating Abuse is a serious issue that affects teens across the U.S., and according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner annually.

As a group we asked ourselves this question: How can we inform our peers using social media? With the help of our sister team at Mountain View High School, we decided to host a chat on Twitter or what's commonly known as "Twitter Party." We're not sure what the party will look like yet or if it's going to be well populated; all we know is we're going to do our best.

We invite you to our digital conversation, aka "Twitter Party," on Friday, February 27 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PDT. In the meanwhile follow us on Twitter: @loveisrespectem; Instagram:@loveisrespectelmonte; and our projects hashtag: #loveisrespectem.


To download a copy of our Twitter Party flier, click here.

As a group we hope to utilize the resources we have in our hand and raise awareness to both teens and adults, because, according to The Family Violence Prevention Fund and Advocates for Youth, 81% of parents believe teen abuse is not an issue or admit they don't know if it's an issue. Our projects efforts are a part of national movement in the month of February that supports young people build healthy relationships and culture without abuse: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. For more information, resources and to see what other activities are taking place during February click here.


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