Heard about another suicide the other day. This person was a teen. I remember when I was a teenager, my parent’s friends used to remark that they wished they were raising kids back when they grew up because it was easier.
Our kids came of age between 2004-2013. Right smack dab in the middle of the technological revolution when it came to the rise of social networks. We didn’t have to deal with cyber bullying (unless it was a group text). Our kids also went to a small private school where a key component of the culture of the school was acceptance and tolerance.
99% of the kids in our school came from very politically liberal families. Yet, my kids had friends and weren’t discriminated against. It was an important lesson for all the kids. You have to get along.
Social media changes that. Prior to social media, it was easier to isolate a network. High schools didn’t mix. Inside big high schools, there were several networks. Social media allows networks to mix, people to reach across, and things get amplified.
Imagine all the social mistakes you made as a teen being amplified to the world-and living on the internet forever.
I know quite a few adults that took their own life for a lot of reasons. I know a few that almost did but stopped. It just seems it is different with teens. I don’t know what the answer is. Keeping them “off Facebook” isn’t the answer. It’s like my parents telling me not to speed in the car when I took it out.
Part of me really wants to help. I want to tell that teen that they mean something to someone somewhere. But, hard to know how to do it.
All this stuff is way too new to really know how it is affecting kids. It’s going to take some time to figure out. In the meantime, there is a lot of collateral damage.