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More and more people are consuming digital technology in their day to day life with more than a third of us reaching for our smartphone as soon as we wake up, and us spending on average 24 hours per week online. The rise in smartphone gadgets and smart home technologies have streamlined off course and they're unfortunately bringing new means for perpetrators to control and abuse their partners.

Last month, an article in the New York Times detailed a rising trend in domestic abuse being perpetrated through new smart home technologies. Victims were being forced to question their sanity as their abusers changed digital door locks, remotely turned off appliances, and used apps to control everyday household objects as well as watch, listen and monitor their partners through smart home appliances.

It’s a troubling new trend that is yet to be fully comprehended.

As of 2018, more than 80% of the adult population use social media, and almost 100% of young people in the UK use social media weekly. Social media continues to take hold of all of our lives, particularly young people – who are most at risk of experiencing domestic abuse – opening up opportunities for abusive partners to target their victims.

Online abuse can include monitoring or denying access to emails or social media platforms, sharing private photos, videos or information without consent, sending abusive messages via social media, text or email and using GPS to monitor a partners’ whereabouts.

Online Safety Guides are a first essential step to combat the growing trend of digital abuse, but it's important to remember that not all technology is harmful, and some can have a positive effect.

New technologies and social media platforms are allowing a new generation to make a difference in the life of those at risk or in need.

Social media campaigns such as UK SAYS NO MORE, #MeToo, Times Up and Time to Change are helping to break the taboo around issues once considered ‘private’ and are providing us with a new means to start the conversation.

By building an online network of like-minded individuals, social media can heighten the visibility of organisations that can offer support, and can work to make individuals feel less alone with their experiences.

Apps are also important in allowing us to take part in creating social change. Hestia’s Bright Sky app provides support and information to those who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.

Employers, practitioners and anyone looking for information about domestic abuse, online safety, stalking, harassment and consent should use Bright Sky. Recent data released by Opinium and commissioned by Hestia indicates that 1 in 3 of us don't know what to do when we suspect someone we know is experiencing domestic abuse. Bright Sky is a way to bridge this gap, and ensure each and every one of us has the tool necessary to support a loved one.

The app was launched in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation and TecSOS, an initiative that uses new technologies to support those affected by domestic abuse and other vulnerable individuals.

Featuring a UK-wide directory of specialist domestic abuse support services with contact details, questionnaires to assess the safety of a relationship and links to further resources and information, our hope is that tech can be used for good.

Download Bright Sky for free on iOS and Android today.

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Read more like this:

- Miranda's Story of domestic abuse

- Bright Sky for Summer Campaign

 - 7 Ways To Help A Loved One Experiencing Abuse