Healthy Relationships series - "What If My Girlfriend Wants My GPS Location, But I Value My Privacy?"Support the show
Today, as part of a series on Healthy Relationships, we're talking about technology and privacy for teen relationships. This is Jessica Skultety, Community Outreach Associate at Safe+Sound Somerset, Somerset County New Jersey's lead domestic violence organization, providing services at no charge for survivors of dating and domestic abuse for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: What if my girlfriend wants my GPS location, but I value my privacy?
The short answer is - Speak up if you feel safe to do so and say “no”!
The longer answer is - Technology is always around and here to stay. It’s a great way to keep in touch with friends and dating partners. But what we hear often is that teens are hesitant or afraid to set boundaries with their peers about what is acceptable and what’s not.
They might be worried that this other person might not want to be their friend or date them if they say “no.” But your personal privacy and boundaries are more important that anything. They are worth speaking up and standing up for.
For example, let’s say you start dating someone new, and they start messaging you all day. You enjoy this and you also message them back. But then things start to take a different turn. They expect you to answer immediately or within a short time frame, every time. They might ask for your GPS location because they want to know where you are because they care about you or want to protect you. They want access to your social media accounts to make sure you’re posting appropriate things. They ask you why you’re following certain people. They harass people on your social media accounts.
Basically, this person tries to control you with technology. In healthy relationships, the power balance should be equal. No one should feel like their personal space or well-being is threatened by their partner.
Think about all things that you might want to keep private on your phone. When we ask this question in classrooms, students usually say, photos, videos, private conversations with friends or family, memes they’ve saved.
Consider when you apply for jobs or college – if you do it on your phone, your personal information such as your social security number is in there. You’d want to keep private debit or credit cards. These are all things that someone who has open access to your phone can obtain. This person can then use these against you. Consider that this person may not be in your life forever – can you trust this person with your privacy in 6 months? A year? 5 years?
Some general safety tips for preteens and teens: peers, friends and dating partners included - no one should have access to your passwords or GPS location. If your parents want to access your technology and/or know your location, which may be the case for some teens – that is a different matter, since parents automatically have more power and control in a parent-to-kid relationship.
In the next episode, we’ll talk about how to set boundaries with dating partners and friends.
Text or call the Safe+Sound Somerset hotline for supportive listening, safety planning, and information at 866-685-1122. Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.