It’s the back-to-school time of year again. Already. The high school near our office started classes yesterday. The schools in the town I live in start on Tuesday. The roads are busier and there is generally more activity out and about. There’s already more activity of another type as well.
I have a number of daily Google Alerts set up for the types of things that we cover and research. One of those alerts is “high school social media”. Below are the top 4 results for this morning – for one day’s news cycle.
- Northwestern [High School] student arrested after Snapchat threat
- Weapon found at high school after social media posts
- Olathe teen faces charges over social media post
- Vermillion student in police custody after alleged social media threats
That particular alert was very quiet over the summer, but as you can see, that has changed.
Did these students spend the summer dreaming up ways they could use social media to wreak havoc at their schools when classes started up again? Probably not, but they probably did spend their summer with their faces buried in their phones. Posting something online comes as naturally as opening your mouth and saying something.
Here’s a reminder for parents: Now is a great time to have a talk with your teen about using his electronics and social media responsibly.
We believe that many or most of these types of threats are not real. What’s really going on? Some teens really struggle to understand that a joke posted on social media might not be seen as such by others. Many teens think that because they’re on an anonymous platform, or one where their posts “disappear”, their actions won’t be traced back to them.
The truth is, jokes that might be serious are being taken very seriously. Schools, the police, social networks and cell phone carriers are quick to cooperate when there’s a risk at school. School officials and cautious kids are on high alert for anything that involves guns or may involve other types of violence at schools.
Keep your teens on the right side of the line. Have the talk with them, and keep on having it.
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