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Healthy Digital Boundaries

Creating healthy digital boundaries — what you’re comfortable doing, seeing, and feeling while using technology and how you want to be treated by others — is a green flag.

The average teen spends 1/3 of the day on phones and social media. Sometimes, knowing what is cool and what is not in online friendships and relationships can be confusing. 

Healthy boundaries while using technology can look like:

  • Using kind language toward yourself and others
  • Respecting the privacy of yourself and others
  • Being mindful of screen time, and using screen time tools on apps and devices
  • Knowing who you can talk to if something feels uncomfortable

Red Flags: What does it look like when someone crosses a digital boundary?

  • Anytime someone is engaging in illegal/not okay behavior
  • Using unkind language including hate speech
  • Making threats toward others
  • Cyberbullying
  • Asking personal questions
    • Your full name, email address, gender, age
    • What school you go to, where you live
    • Asking to talk privately
    • Asking you to engage in sexual conversation
    • Suggesting you should meet in person when you don’t know them or have never met before
  • Sexting
    • Sending, receiving or asking you to send nude or partially nude images
More than one in four young people report receiving sexts and 15% report sending sexts.

Did you know? Sending, receiving, or asking someone else to send nude or partially nude images of someone who is under the age of 18 is considered child sexual abuse material and that can mean legal consequences. This can also include forwarding a sext that someone sends to you, especially without consent.

Green Flags: In a romantic relationship, partners respect your boundaries when they:

  • Only tag you, or post photos and videos of you, when you consent to the tag/post  
  • Honor your right to keep passwords private, including passwords to your phone, social media, or email accounts 
  • Follow you without monitoring your DMs, social media posts, or accounts 
  • Stop contacting you through other social media platforms, when you have asked them to stop and/or you have blocked them 


How can you respond to someone crossing a digital boundary?

Sometimes, people in your life may try to cross your boundaries. This may be someone engaging in abusive behaviors toward you, someone who makes you feel unsafe/uncomfortable, or strangers/persons you’ve never met in real life. Anytime this happens, reaching out to a trusted adult can help you develop additional ways to be safe. 

A trusted adult can be parents/caregivers, teachers, medical professionals, or any other adult who helps you feel safe. Even if the unsafe situation is one a friend may be going through, talking about your concerns with a trusted adult can give you additional help and support.

Your browser history can be monitored without your knowledge and it can never be erased completely.

Please use a safe computer that an abuser cannot access directly or remotely.  Please call 614-722-8200 if you feel that browsing is not safe.  Chat and text records can be saved even after navigating away. Remember to clear your history after visiting this website if you have safety concerns.  Read Additional Internet Safety Tips.

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