Expert warns teens about dating abuse - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Expert warns teens about dating abuse

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's being called an epidemic... Teenage dating abuse. A national expert came to Birmingham Wednesday to discuss things parents should know.

Dr. Jill Murray addressed the Junior League of Birmingham.  Murray says the problem is more than just striking a date.

"The vast majority of abusive relationships are physical," Murray said. "A majority are verbal, emotional. Speaking with 100,000 nationally a year. I'd say 85 percent. To me that's an epidemic."

Tijuana and Charles Everhart are the parents of two girls. One is ten and the other 14. The Everharts are concerned about future possible abusive relationships.

"I have never experienced it personally and I would hope my children would never experience it," Mrs. Everhart said.

Murray says there are three factors causing the increase in teenage dating abuse: relationship inexperience, social culture and technology. Murray especially points to cell phones and texting as problems.

"These kids are texting each other at two o'clock, three o'clock, asking, 'Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with?' Texting each other all night long," Murray said.

Murray believes parents should be actively involved in their children's lives, that means setting limits.

"Anything that comes into our home is open to scrutiny," Mrs. Everhart said. "There is no privacy. Your Facebook account, we can look at it. I'm your friend so I can see what you are doing."

Everhart says the best thing he can do is show his girls what a good husband and father is like. "I think a lot of times we need to set the standard for being an example," Mr. Everhart said.

Murray says parents should even take up their children's cell phones while they are at home if they suspect abuse is taking place.

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