As a parent, I spend time talking to my teenage boys about the proper use of the internet and social media, staying safe and being respectful of others. Despite the best efforts of parents and schools to lay the right groundwork, you can’t help but notice that the stories about bullying, slut shaming, revenge porn, school fight pages and predators lurking seem to be increasing in frequency.
A story coming out of Oregon over the weekend told a very different story. Truman Templeton, a West Albany High School student is being praised for reporting and probably diffusing a bomb threat that was being planned by another student. The praise is coming from his fellow students, not just the authorities, and he is getting a ton of positive comments over social media.
According to Templeton:
“It’s always worth it. I’d much rather report something like this than leave it alone,” he told the station (KATU Oregon). “All I can say is what story would you want to see on the news? One person being arrested or dozens of kids dying because of a disaster that could have been prevented.”
Truman’s story is a great one, but unfortunately in today’s high schools, the opposite type of thing is happening. If two kids are fighting in a schoolyard, someone is more likely to film the fight and put it on YouTube than try to stop it. Young rape victims have committed suicide after being ridiculed on social media after the rape incident. Bomb threats at schools in my state, New Jersey, are up 27% over last year, with many of them happening via social media.
Your teens may think that they can gain more friends and notoriety by joining in with the crowd and being a troublemaker on social media, but as is the case with Truman above, that doesn’t have to be the case. Being a good citizen online can pay off, even for high school students.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.