The National Dating Abuse Helpline, which for the last five years has allowed young people to talk to trained peer counselors by telephone or via online chat, has added another technology to its repertoire: text messaging.
Brian Pinero, the helpline’s acting director, hopes that text messages will help the group reach out to young people who have limited Internet access. He says he expects texting to provide an easy way for teenagers and young adults to make initial contact and get basic information, much as online chat has done.
“Young people are not as trusting about calling on the phone,” says Mr. Pinero. Counselors have to gain their trust, he says, and the young people have to be ready to act for the conversation to move to the telephone. “When people call us on the phone, they’re at the point where they’re really ready to make major decisions.”
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