Developing Consent in a Digital Age

As technology advances, it becomes a more prominent form of communication.  An unfortunate consequence of this is its use to perpetuate dating abuse. Social media, online dating, texting, and video chatting have become an integral part of relationships. 26% of teens in a relationship were victims of cyber dating abuse, with teen girls experiencing this twice as often as teen boys. Consent is required in all relationships, including online dating!  Establishing consent in a relationship can prevent this abuse from occurring. Consent is not only about sexual activity, it is important for all areas of a relationship.  Consent is always freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific (F.R.I.E.S). Consent should be an ongoing conversation throughout a relationship, including those on a digital platform.

If your relationship is being conducted via a digital platform or much of your communication is through technology, it’s important to ensure that consent is a core component of this communication. A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • How often do I want to talk via text/calls/social media?
  • What am I comfortable sharing digitally?
  • How can we express the need for ‘self-care’ or ‘alone time’?
  • How can I protect my privacy, passwords, and location?
  • What information can we share with friends?

Conversations between partners should not be coerced or forced. The interaction should feel natural and respectful.  Establishing digital consent with your dating partner ensures you are both comfortable with the interactions and are maintaining a healthy relationship.

For more information, please rewatch our Facebook Live event from Thursday, February 25th entitled “Developing Consent in a Digital Age”. This virtual event featured Melissa Bauman, LMFT, Director of School-Based Mental Health at Chris180; Jen Srijeyanthan, Coordinator of Dating Violence Prevention at Partnership Against Domestic Violence; Dante Jackson, Agent for the US Justice Department; and Jeffrey Brown, Vice President of Development & Marketing at Partnership Against Domestic Violence.