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“The most frequent chat I get is somebody unsure about whether their relationship is unhealthy,” says Gindele.If you have to ask the question…the answer is likely yes, but Gindele puts it this way: “Listen to your gut.” The problem is, she says, “Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of education for young people on what a healthy relationship looks like.
“There is a lot of pressuring for nude pics, or pressure to give up your passwords for all of your social media.Deloris Rome Hudson’s experience is even more haunting: She remembers a popular girl who was dominated by her drop-out boyfriend, and then strangled.Of course, Rome Hudson mourns the victim, but she also thinks: “Here’s this guy, and I don’t know what would have helped him, but that’s one I wish I would have gotten to…” But most teen relationships are not violent. Many more teens are in relationships that, if not exactly like Rihanna and Chris Brown, are nonetheless unequal and unhealthy with one partner dominating the other. Let me see your phone,” mimics Maryland high school teacher Erika Chavarria. What contemporary media presents to teens and tweens as “love” today is actually about sex and control. This adds up to 1.5 million high school students last year alone.
Adults coo about puppy love, or shrug at the infatuations of teenagers. Flip through a mag: See 17-year-old Kardashian sib Kylie Jenner pairing up with 25-year-old rapper Tyga. Or, turn on the radio: Hear Justin Bieber crooning to his “prize possession.” Add in 24/7 access to hand-held technology, including apps that geo-track a sweetheart’s every move, and it is no wonder that nearly 20,000 13- to 17-year-olds reached out to the hotline last year.