When is a Tweet a cry for help?

Yesterday, T.J. Lane, a 17-year old student at Chardon High, fired 10 shots in his school’s cafeteria. Three students died and two were wounded.

Lane posted on Twitter that he was going to bring a gun to school. People who knew him said he was quiet and didn’t really have friends.

Social media is a big part of our lives. Having regular updates from friends is one of the things we like most about Facebook and Twitter. But sometimes those updates are concerning, or even alarming, like what Lane posted about bringing a gun to school.

When we see alarming updates, sometimes it’s easy to write them off as drama. But the tragedy at Chardon High is a reminder that what may seem like someone looking for attention could just as easily be a real warning flag.

When someone posts about suicide threats, self injury, or other warning signs, the right response is to view it as a cry for help – not a dramatic attempt at getting attention. We shouldn’t judge our friends, but instead be there for them.

If someone had done this for T.J., a tragedy may not have occurred.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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