What teens and parents need to know about live streaming mass shootings

By Chennell Ramos - Digital Journalist

JACKSONVILLE,Fla. -  

In the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida social media is serving as an integral factor as details emerge.

On Wednesday, Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was accused of gunning down at least 17 people in a massacre that has now become one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history.

As the shooting unfolded, students utilized various social media outlets to post the tragic event.

Dr. Catherine Drew, CEO of Florida Psychological Associates, states that social media can be a positive for a child, but it can also be a major negative.

Drew suggests that parents “need to monitor what their kids are watching and listening to.”

Graphic images and sounds flood social media following mass shootings, especially when teens are involved.

Teens communicate heavily through social media, so it is no surprise that during tragedy, they utilize social media to share up-to-the minute accounts of their lives.

 “It’s tragic for those children involved and the children that watch that footage to be exposed to such tragedy and trauma for such a young age,” Drew said.

The better parents understand trends among teen behavior and social media, the better they can help their children when tragedies arise, according to Drew. Drew also says that it is reality of our world now that social media is the main focus of communication for a lot of teens, so “we need to be focusing on how use it to their advantage and how to use it in a positive way.”

Officials with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that parents and caregivers develop a family media plan that takes into account the health, education and entertainment needs of each child, as well as the whole family.

According to Drew, the first most important thing parents can do is to not assume that their child won’t see or hear anything with the overexposure of social media. Parents need to be checking in with their children and listening to them.

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