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Teen technology abuse underreported

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Dr. Christine Murray is Director of The Guilford County Healthy Relationships Initiative (HRI) and an associate professor in the counseling department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

On Tuesday, HRI and several community partners are teaming up for a workshop about teens and technology.

The name of the workshop is #RelationshipGoals: Tech Safety In Teen Relationships.

“Technology can be a great resource and a way people can connect,” Murray said. “However, parents and teenagers need to learn about technology-related safety risks that teens face in relationships today."

The purpose of the forum is to educate teenagers and their parents on what unhealthy communication looks like, from a technological perspective.

Murray and law enforcement says technology abuse targeted at teenagers is hard to quantify at a local level, but they're certain it's underreported and comes in many forms.

“Constantly texting someone to check up on them, it might mean using GPS to monitor where someone is,” Murray said. “People can create fake social media accounts and use that as part of harassment or abuse. Cyberbullying. So there’s a lot of different ways that it can look.”

Tuesday’s event starts at 6:30 p.m. at Northwest Guilford High School. Teenagers and their parents are encouraged to sign up and attend the workshop, which will include a guest speaker who will talk about being a victim of technology abuse and a presentation from police officers who deal with technology abuse cases.

The workshop will provide families with resources for teenagers who are having issues with technology abuse and organizers will talk about preventative measures.

Murray says with February being Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, that it’s also a fitting time for her group to hold this event in partnership with multiple local agencies.

The HRI group officially launched in February, hosting several events in the community to promote building happy, positive relationships.