14/08/2014 16:53 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Social Networking Gives Girls Warped View Of Relationships, Say Girl Guides

Social networks warp girls to accept jealousy and controlling behaviour as normal, say Girl Guides

Teenage girls' views of what is acceptable in sex and relationships is being corrupted by their sheep-like following of what they read online.

Many believe that jealousy and controlling behaviour from boyfriends are OK – and some are even flattered by it. The disturbing findings come from wide-ranging research carried out by the Girl Guides and reported in the Telegraph, which dug deep to discover the corrupting influence social networks are having on our daughters.

The report of 1,200 girls aged 16 to 21 also revealed that one fifth of young women believe it is acceptable for a partner to shout at them and tell them what they can and cannot wear.

Other figures in the Girls Guides survey, showed two-fifths of girls think it is fine for a partner to insist upon knowing their whereabouts at all times.

Becky Hewitt, director of Girl Guides, one of the largest women's charities in the UK, with more than half a million members, said: "Girls everywhere are now getting a huge amount of information about sex and relationships online and this is warping what behaviour they think is normal in the real world.

"At the moment they are being left to navigate this complex world on their own."

She added: "Right now there is a 'following' culture online. Girls carry their mobile phones in their pockets everywhere they go, regularly sharing their location and what they are doing with people on sites like Facebook and chat apps, such as Whats App.

"It is this culture of surveillance and monitoring that is seeping into their lives offline – and making girls feel that it is perfectly acceptable for boys to demand to know their location and what they are doing at all times."

Girl Guides also found, in focus groups with girls from across the country, aged 11 to 17-years-old, that many young women accept jealousy and controlling behaviour as a 'normal' part of relationships – and even see it as 'endearing'.

Girl Guides is helping to tackle this issue with the release of an education pack about healthy relationships, in conjunction with Women's Aid.

It is continuing a programme of peer education sessions, in which trained girls talk to their contemporaries on a range of topical issues such as bullying and self-esteem, eating disorders, sex and relationships, youth health, and stress management.

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