T9 This! Are You Being Textually Harassed?

T9 This! Are You Being Textually Harassed?

Texting is currently the most instant form of communication next to talking one-on-one. Though many people have grown accustomed to texting rather than dialing up their significant other for an old fashioned phone call, texting can feel impersonal, or even anonymous, since it doesn’t convey tone or emotion the way a voice can. While texting might be the perfect platform to send cute love notes to your partner before bed, there are some things to look out for in a textual relationship with your partner.

Does your partner text you too much?
You’re at a family dinner on a Friday night and your phone hasn’t stopped buzzing since you sat down to eat and your family is starting to look at you funny. You told your girlfriend that you’d be at dinner until nine, but she keeps texting you anyway, wondering when you’ll be done and demanding that you respond in the next five minutes or she’s breaking up with you.

This kind of texting is not only irritating, but unnecessary. Keeping in touch with your significant other throughout the day can be thoughtful, but the constant need for contact is over-doing it. Maybe it’s time you talk to your partner about giving you a little bit of space by suggesting that he or she text friends to hang out instead of blowing up your phone.

Does your partner ask for inappropriate pictures of you? Or send them to you?
Your boyfriend is away for the weekend at his older brother’s apartment and he’s texting you about how much he misses you. You think it’s sweet, but then he starts asking you to take pictures of yourself because he’s lonely and just wants to see you. You tell him you don’t really want to, but then he sends an inappropriate picture of himself and insists that you send one back.

First of all, you never have to do anything you aren’t comfortable doing, no matter how much your partner pressures you. Secondly, if you’re under the age of 18, any nude photos of you that are in anyone else’s possession could be considered child pornography, which is always illegal. Even if you trust that your partner will be the only one to ever see the pictures, you can never guarantee that they won’t end up on someone else’s phone or the internet. It’s best to play it safe and make a policy of not sending inappropriate photos to anyone. Remember, this goes for webcams and instant messaging, too.

Does your partner ask to read your texts? Or read them behind your back?
You and your girlfriend are hanging around at home after school and she picks up your phone and starts reading through your texts. You didn’t mind at first, but then she starts asking why you’re texting other girls and demands that you delete them from your phone. You don’t intend to delete them, but tell her that you will anyway. The next day, you leave your phone out and she sees that you are still texting other girls, so she deletes them from your phone without telling you.

Healthy relationships are built on trust, not jealousy. You have the right to privacy from your partner and deserve to talk to whomever you like. You may want to explain to your partner that you have nothing to hide, but don’t like him or her going through your phone or deciding who your friends are.

Does your partner ever threaten you over text?
Your boyfriend got mad because you had to cancel plans for the weekend after being grounded for a bad grade in science. You try to explain to him that you want to go out, but your parents are really angry and this isn’t a good time to talk to them. Your boyfriend starts sending texts about what he’ll do to you if he can’t see you this weekend and you’re getting scared.

You should never feel afraid of your partner. Looking for warning signs of violence in person is smart, but don’t write off threatening text messages as angry venting. Keep track of texts like this and try to talk to someone you trust about what you’re feeling. Being in a violent relationship is dangerous, but is can be even more dangerous to go through alone.

What do you think? Have you or your friends been textually harassed? How did you respond?

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