Because I am apparently 97 years old, I had no idea about this. (For other similar blind spots, see post about crayons, surgeons, and scales.) (Don't make me tell you what Crayons, Surgeons, and Scales is going to be the name of.)
Ok. Now for the serious.
I hadn't thought about the ways that people might be using text messages and e-mails to intimidate, control, or abuse their partners. This turns out to be a very big problem, particularly among teenagers. This article gives an overview of the research. From the article:
WHERE are you now? What are you doing? Jealous teenagers often send messages like these with their handphones and computers to harass and control their romantic partners. And most victims of the abuse are reluctant to discuss it with their parents, a US survey showed on Thursday.
The survey, carried out by Teenage Research Unlimited, found nearly one in every four teens in a relationship had received hourly text messages or phone calls to check up on them between midnight and 5am. One out of six said they had received messages 10 or more times an hour overnight.
'Contacting someone that frequently with such questions is simply about control and intimidation. It's not a casual conversation,' said Ms Jane Randel, a vice-president for clothing retailer Liz Claiborne, which commissioned the survey.
The site Love is Respect has been set up as a resource to address this problem and offer help. It's for teens and parents, with helpful information, toll-free phone/TTY numbers, and a chat feature.
Other sites also do this I'd imagine (but in my old age, this is just a guess) -- before gaining access to the site, a security warning pops up, letting you know how to quickly escape from it should you need to (i.e., in case the person doing the intimidating/controlling/abusing comes around) . The "escape" button on the site quickly redirects you to Google when you click it.
Since kids aren't talking about it with their parents for fear they'll lose access to their cell phones or computers, I think this is an important resource to know about and pass on to others.
We live in a time where people are taught to believe that "how much" you love someone is equal to how jealous you get (or how much you check in on them, or how much you tell them who they should talk to or what they should wear). I look forward to the time when we stop asking "how much" and just really focus on "how".
Peace and love,