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School Shooting

Tik Tok Footage of School Shooting Prompts Parents to Open Discussion on What Their Children See Online

February 1, 2022     By Boys Town Contributor

Anxiety, Boys Town Parenting, Connecting with Kids, Connecting with Teens, Coping Skills for Teens, education, Healing Families, Kids and Teens in Crisis, Mental Health, Parent-Child Relationships, Saving Children, Teachable Moments

Social media today is exposing our children to situations that in the past were only seen on the news or read about in the newspaper. But today it is all too real – because it is, video shot on people's cell phones and then posted on various media platforms.

Video from students who were present during the recent school shooting in Michigan was posted numerous times on Tik Tok. Kids who were hiding in classrooms were filming on their phones.

One video showed a student inside a locked and barricaded classroom talking to (supposedly) a law enforcement officer outside the door.

The video from inside the school is chilling: It shows students cowering together in the back of a classroom, hiding as an armed gunman rips through the halls, killing four and injuring eight others

Then, comes a knock on the door. 

"Sheriff's office. It's safe to come out," a voice from outside the classroom says.

Inside, a man replies: "We're not willing to take that risk right now."

The person outside is insistent. 

"It's OK," the voice says. "Open the door. It's all right, bro." 

When students hear the person outside use the word "bro," pandemonium erupts.

They quickly concluded that it's the shooter because a sheriff's deputy would be unlikely to use the word "bro."

"He said bro," a teenage boy says, standing up amid the chaos. "Red flag."  

Students rush to a window, open it, and begin to run into an outdoor courtyard. The short video is very traumatic and could be horrifying to children who can associate being in the same type of classroom in their school.

Many kids go to Tik Tok to watch funny videos and relax, but when this comes across their “for you" page, it can stir up a lot of negative feelings. Kids can now experience these terrifying, real-life situations just by calling them up on their phones.

So, what should you tell your kids? How can you ease their minds?

Boys Town has some advice on how to talk to your kids about what they are seeing on social media and how to handle these horrific experiences. We call it our coping toolkit. It offers some answers on how parents can help their kids who might be shaken up by seeing these clips.

Here are some links with that valuable advice:

Feelings and Coping Skills

Building a Coping Skills Toolbox

99 Coping Skills

A Guide to Crisis

Social Media Driver's License

Social Media Quiz – Is Your Child Ready to Use It?

Adolescent Brain and Social Media

Communication Skills Guide

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