approx read time: 2min +3 min for linked article
I came across an article this week from KQED Mindshift with tips for parents and teachers on how to talk to kids about terrible things. The last item focuses on the role of social media and how it amplifies the experience for kids, even those who aren't directly involved. Many kids saw what happened in Parkland in live time on social media and then turned to their peers in an effort to process the unimaginable. As the news cycle started churning, there was little opportunity to escape the carnage, fear, and confusion. KQED mentions how kids may feel that they can't walk away from a conversation about such an event for fear of being judged as uncaring. It's just another example of how social media use is pushing our kids into situations they just aren't ready for. I don't mean sheltering them from these types of events they deserve to know what's happening in the world, but rather them being able to grieve in a personal way. My heart aches for them all.
One of my most vivid memories from high school is how I felt in the wake of the death of a friend from carbon monoxide poisoning. It shook me to the core, but I didn't have words to describe my emotions. I needed to be quiet and alone to figure it out. I can't imagine being made to feel guilty about that on top of the anguish and confusion in the face of mortality.
I think about my work as an Internet safety presenter at Protect Young Eyes and realize that "it truly "takes a village'. As schools prepare to join nationwide walk-outs in the coming weeks, this topic is going to continue to resonate for our kiddos. It's imperative that teachers and parents are aware of what's going on in their world, even in the seemingly 'safe space' of a friends.
Carol Glanville, M.Ed.
educator, presenter, strategist, coach, design thinker