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This belief is amplified if teens are witness to violent, abusive, or unhealthy relationships at home.

Teens involved in unhealthy or abusive relationships are more likely to suffer from debilitating or limiting long-term consequences.

Additionally, a teenager who commits teen dating violence may also face serious criminal consequences.

Teenagers aren’t always the most forthcoming with authority figures, so it is important to encourage open and free communication.

Teen dating violence “includes physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12 to 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship.” Teen dating violence can be done in person or, with the explosion of social media and telecommunication, electronically.

Social media is a hotbed of violent and abusive activity, especially for teenagers who are new to relationships and unsure of how to handle their feelings most appropriately.

It can take many different forms including threats, constant text messaging or instant messaging, insults, isolation from family and friends, sexual abuse, name-calling, emotional abuse and controlling a partner’s behavior and appearance.

In fact, girls between 16 and 24 are as likely than any other demographic to be abused by a boyfriend or other intimate partner.

Violence in entertainment is everywhere and, unfortunately, has been normalized.

Teens mimic behaviors they see on screen, so it is not uncommon for teens to think the unhealthy relationships that are portrayed are normal or just a part of life everyone is subject to deal with.

Once a milestone reserved for high schoolers, romantic relationships have slowly begun to bloom earlier in teens’ lives, sometimes as early as the age of 12 or 13.

Teens (and in some cases pre-teens) are still developing critical emotional and mental maturities that place them at a disadvantage in dealing with the stresses of a romantic relationship.

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