How Social Media Impacts Teen Bullying and Dating Abuse

Steve Adubato goes on-location to The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to sit down with Lauren Hersh, National Director of World Without Exploitation & Teen Online Safety Expert, to discuss the impact of social media and the internet on teen bullying and dating abuse.

10/11/19 #2253






"Steve Adubato here at the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. We're doing a forum in just a few minutes on breaking the cycle of abuse, of bullying particularly dealing with teens. And we're joined by one of the folks who will be joining us. Lauren Hersh, National Director of World Without Exploitation, and teen online safety expert. Describe your organization, World Without Exploitation. Sure. Well thanks for having me. Our pleasure. We are a national coalition designed to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation. We work on a lot of different fronts. Policy, changing legislation, and getting into the community and really changing hearts and minds on these issues. I'm curious about this. Connect the work that you're doing, the victims that you deal with every day, and bullying and abuse. They are your quintessential victims of bullying and abuse. We see that where there's vulnerability, that people tend to be victimized in exploitation, in online dating violence, and they're really the people we want to make sure that we're having clear and raw conversations with, and preventing this where we can. Online... you refer to online dating violence. Describe it for folks. What does it look like? Well, we're seeing more and more, as things shift from the streets to online. We are seeing all of the, sort of the quintessential things that we see in dating violence. Power, control, issues of isolation, jealousy, verbal abuse. It's really translating online. And it's happening in lots of different ways. It's happening... we see significant others who are using online platforms to hack and track their victims. To hack and track victims? Yeah. As a mechanism to control. So you have a person who is looking to control their significant other, and they're getting... they're getting passwords, and they're going online, and they're looking at where that person is at all times, to really exert tremendous control. We're seeing a lot of humiliation happening online. So that significant other may go online and may pose as their partner, and may reveal private information that's really designed to humiliate and embarrass. Let me ask you this. I'm curious. For parents who... obviously watching right now, worried, concerned, want to be helpful, want to... and be part of the effort to protect their own children first, others later, given the fact that so much online activity takes place without a parent, regardless of how much he or she is committed to parenting... good parenting, so much of that online activity takes place without the parents' awareness. Your advice? I think it's really important to crack open real and raw conversations with young people. How difficult are these conversations? I think it's... What do they sound like?..."