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Teens, Technology, and Dating Violence

Donna Howard and colleagues are studying the impact of electronic communication technologies on dating violence

The study examines the role played by electronic communication technologies in the perpetration of, response to, or defense against Teen Dating Violence (TDV). It utilizes a mixed method approach that draws upon the Media Practice Model to explore motivations that drive teen adoption of social media: i.e., technology use in the context of relationship formation and maintenance, including fidelity, control and conflict resolution. The study will be implemented across five high schools to maximize socio-demographic diversity. Interviews with 100 teens will be conducted, transcribed and analyzed by a multi-disciplinary team using qualitative data software. Participants will also complete a survey addressing technology use, perceptions of digital dating abuse as a problem, and prevalence of problematic digital dating behaviors. Focus groups will be conducted to validate results. Findings will enable better assessment of TDV risk and development of programs to promote safe use of technology by teens in dating relationships.