WASHINGTON-- Violence is a threat in nearly half of teen dating relationships, according to Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy, who is leading a summit to tackle the issue.
"There (will be) breakout sessions, seminars, and lectures," McCarthy says of the Symposium on Safe Teen Dating, which is sponsored by Montgomery County and will be held on Feb. 23 from 1 p.m. through 4 p.m. in the Cultural Center of Montgomery College's Takoma Campus.
The smartphone has become the new dating tool for young people, and texting is now the communication of choice in the modern dating world. McCarthy believes it's also a new form of relationship bullying.
"[An example is] a young couple where the boyfriend texts his girlfriend 300 times through the course of an evening [asking things like] 'where are you now?' 'what are you doing?' 'who are you talking to?'," McCarthy says. "A na´ve person might interpret that level of attention by feeling that the guy really loves me, but the reality is it's really a lack of confidence and a matter of someone trying to control you."
He says the goal is to equip parents with the tools to recognize the signs that their teenager is in an abusive relationship.
The event will also have a lighter side with prize giveaways and raffles. One person will also walk away with a $1,000 prize for the best one-minute Public Service Announcement on the importance of preventing teen dating violence.
The summit is free to the public, and registration is still open: Click here for more information.
© 2014 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.