Domestic Violence in the Summer

Everyone looks forward to the summer - especially youth without classes, textbooks and exams to worry about. Unfortunately, summer is not all fun and games; for some it may be a harder time in their relationships. It's a commonly used anectdote that domestic violence incidents increase in the summer. This anectodal increase in teen dating violence during the summer months can be attributed to many factors including longer days and rise in temperature, but for teens and young adults this increase may also be attributed to being out of school.

Without their regular routine, youth may spend more time with their significant others. Youth may have more time and access to social media sites, spurring more opportunities for them to interact with each other. For example, many social media and internet sites allow people to "check in." This allows people to broadcast to all of their friends who they are with and where they are.

Check-ins and Privacy

These "check ins" raise concerns about young people's safety and privacy. Telling people where they are and who they are with might be a great way for them to share their experiences with friends but If privacy settings aren't properly configured, these "check ins" are visible to friends of friends and in some cases the entire public. "Check-ins" can also be abused by significant others who use this information to monitor and control their partners. Many young people see a significant other who constantly monitors their "check-ins" as a sign of their affection. Unfortunately, this could also be an indication that the partner is jealous or possessive, which is an early warning sign that they may be abusive.

What You Can Do About Check-ins

At Break the Cycle we encourage adults to talk to their teens about their relationships during summer break. Even if a young person is not in a relationship, it's important for them to know what a healthy relationship looks like and what the warning signs are of an abusive relationship. Below are some of the topics you can discuss with your teens to help them have healthy relationships:

  • Ask them to be open about the relationships they may have and share who they interact with.
  • Talk to them about setting boundaries and the importance of significant others respecting each other's boundaries.
  • Let them know that all forms of abuse are significant and tell them how they can get help if they experience abuse.
  • Discuss social media with them and teach them how to use social networking safely.

Want more tips on how to talk to your children about healthy relationships?