Saturday, February 7, 2009

Boyfriend Wants Nude Pics? Girlfriend Texts Too Much? You're Not Alone

That's Not Cool

"Your cell phone, IM, and social networks are all a digital extension of who you are. When someone you're with pressures you or disrespects you in those places, that's not cool." (from "About This Site)

One of That's Not Cool's online ads shows dialog between a young woman and a jerk young man. They've had a date, now he wants her to send him a nude photo of herself. She refuses. He comes back with the usual 'if you really loved me, you'd send me a nude pic.' The young woman responds, "I said no!"

Sound familiar?

Back to That's Not Cool's "About" page:

" is attempting to raise awareness about digital dating abuse and stop it before it gets worse. Sponsored and co-created by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Office on Violence Against Women and the Ad Council, the site is designed to address new and complicated problems between teens who are dating or hooking up—problems like constant and controlling texting, pressuring for nude pictures, and breaking into someone's e-mail or social networking page."

The website seems to be geared for teens, young teens is my guess, with (somewhat) interactive videos, and a cast of sock puppets and vegetables. It's not as awful as that sounds: I enjoyed the mini-dramas. But then, I enjoy some Saturday morning cartoons and the old Road Runner shorts.

Boys Have Issues, Too?! Who Knew's content surprised me a little, considering that it's sponsored by by The Family Violence Prevention Fund, or FVPF.

"The Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) believes that everyone has the right to live free from violence. For three decades, our model programs have created safer, more prosperous communities for women, children, and families around the world." (from "About This Site)

No men. Just women, children and families.

I was in and out of college during the sixties, seventies, and eighties, so I might have expected something sponsored by FVPF and pushed by the Office on Violence Against Women ( - they're against it, BTW) to be much more angry, shrill, and clueless about the other half of the human race.

Kudos to Whoever researched and developed this website must have discovered that teenage boys are not all male aggressors seeking to subserviate Woman ('watch me grow').

I was a teenage boy myself, once, and yes: nearly all of us are extremely aware of, and interested in, the other half of humanity. And, some of us are jerks.

But, it's possible for a teenage boy to have issues dealing with a teenage girl, too. (Amazing, but true.) has a Help page, that asks" "When does caring become controlling? When does affection become obsession? When does talking become stalking?" And, gives answers: "Not sure if a situation is abusive or not? Ask yourself if your boyfriend or girlfriend:..." at the top of a seven-point list, that goes from "is overly jealous or possessive" to "tries to force you to have sex."

And, gives the phone number of the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (24 hours a day, 365 days a year). There's an online chat, too. And, dropdown lists (item one of point one starts with "Call the police...." - doesn't mess around with being 'nice.')

For less urgent and extreme situations, they've got "Callout Cards" - visual messages that might, possibly, drive the point home to a troublesome peer.

Some of my favorites:

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