From Homecoming Prince to Killer: How Parental Social Media Monitoring Could Have Stopped This Tragedy

10712810_583333025104732_5160191985607443984_nI thought about this post for a while before committing to it because some of the victims are still fighting for their lives.  It wasn’t until I took the time to find and read Mr. Fyberg’s tweets that I decided this was an important topic to discuss.  The reason I’m posting about this is not to glorify school shootings because I can’t really think of anything more frightening for students and parents to endure.  When you drop you child off at school, you have a sense that you are leaving them in a safe haven and that you will see them later on that day.  For that to be shattered by news of a gunman posing imminent danger is nightmare that I would never want to live out and shatters my believe in school safety when I think about how many parents have had to live out that nightmare.

I have a niece who is about the same age as the kids involved in yesterday’s school shooting and I’m constantly reading her Facebook posts.  Her parents and I now no longer speak because of my warnings to them about her social media activities and their belief that their angel can do no wrong, so there’s really nothing I can do while reading the disturbing posts.  In the last month I’ve seen her profess her love to over 10 different boys and cry about each of them after they dumped her.  I’ve snooped through some of the boys pages and watched how they changed their relationship status to involve a new girl ever other day.  Some would say this is just kids being kids, but when one of those boys is 22 years old claiming to be in love with my 14-year-old niece, I have to cry foul.  After reading shooter Jaylen’s tweets I noticed the same pattern.  Children acting like adults in a setting without supervision, not understanding the adult emotional consequences of their actions.

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What I discovered in these tweets is that the shooting was the result over a fight over a girl.  Had parents been monitoring their kids social media interactions they might have seen something like this coming.  There used to be a time when would encourage our girls to take relationships seriously and not to jump from guy to guy, and not to trust boys who ran through girlfriends like box of tissues during flu season.  As parents we used to be able to keep track of this by how many times the phone rang or how many times someone knocked at the door.  Now with social media, kids are running a muck and no one is there to say, “Stop!”  There is no dialog on the emotions that come with sexual relationships, so we can’t expect our kids to figure it out on their own. We have to intercede through social media and force them to come clean about their interactions.  This is no longer an issue of privacy.  If your kid wanted privacy they wouldn’t be telling the world what they’re doing every minute of the day on twitter.  So snoop parents!!!  Read what they’re saying and confront their behavior daily.  Ask them what these emoji’s mean and what their cryptic status posts are about.  Sexting is just serious as sex.  While it might not be a cause of pregnancy or STD’s it still has an effect on mental health.  Times are changing, teen/child interactions are changing, and we need to change with them. Add them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and Twitter, keep up with them on Kick and Snapchat, and monitor them on social media.

If you’re asking yourself why Jaylen Fryberg didn’t fit the profile for most school shooters, it’s because he could have just as well been your child.  His actions were the result emotions he couldn’t handle, triggered by interactions he wasn’t mature enough to be practicing.  Close parental supervision could have kept this tragedy from happening.  As parents, let’s vow to get more involved with our children, and keep this from happening again.

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