Tania Cervantes-Hernandez & Helen Dodson

(Mentor: Akiko Kamimura)

The purpose of this project is to evaluate dating/intimate partner violence (D/IPV) and social media use among college students. D/IPV is a significant problem that can affect the well-being and safety of college students. In fall 2020, an online survey has been collected from college students at the University of Utah. In the survey, participants were asked about social media use, perceptions of D/IPV on social media based on 10 given scenarios, and demographic characteristics. To date, 591 students participated in the survey. Half of the participants reported that they use social media 5 times a day and on average spent over 2.56 hours a day using it. The majority of students (93%) indicate that they would either interact with the post, report the post to a social media platform, or engage in other ways if they saw an incident of D/IPV on social media. Out of the 10 situations that illustrate D/IPV on social media abuse, the majority of participants indicated that they have seen half of the scenarios or similar situations related to D/IPV on social media. Scenarios that cover monitoring/physical control, sexual violence, and financial/economic situations tend to be viewed as completely unacceptable. However, scenarios that cover monitoring a dating or intimate partner and hacking a partner’s social media account are more likely to be viewed as somewhat unacceptable rather than completely unacceptable.  The results indicate that there are scenarios of D/IPV which are not always considered as D/IPV. Overall, participants are interested in intervening if they see D/IPV on social media but may not recognize what constitutes D/IPV. Based on the findings of this study, educational programs that focus on how to recognize D/IPV on social media would be beneficial to promote accurate understandings of D/IPV and bystander attitudes.

House Representative:
Steve Waldrip and Jeffrey D. Stenquist
Senate Representative: John D. Johnson and Daniel McCay