Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

School shootings and violence on the minds of kids and adults

Kids and adults alike worry about school shootings and violence after several recent school shootings. This article discusses the fear that accompanies rumors of violence, social media comments and gossip and how they affect kids, parents and school administrators:
But here and across the country, real fear rising from tragedies like recent school shootings is infesting a digitally wired culture and launching gossip like shrapnel.
The pain falls heavily on real lives, and schools find they are powerless or caught off-guard.
“It’s a rampant problem and we are not doing a good job handling it,” said Larry Rosen, a professor who specializes in the psychology of technology at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
“We as a generation, and I mean everyone — teachers, parents, politicians — have to consider this a major issue that we have to tackle.” (...) 
Schools can’t monitor private Facebook pages. And even public pages like teenagers’ blogs and Twitter can pitch school officials into the gap between protecting the school’s learning environment and the teenager’s right of free speech, Lenhart said.
Once a rumor takes shape, the social media talk isn’t necessarily malicious — not when parents and students are fearing for their safety.
Just days after a Chardon, Ohio, teenager opened fire and killed three students Feb. 27, a girl at a high school an hour away in Girard, Pa., simply speculated aloud in class on whom she thought would be the type to bring a gun to their school.
That was a Friday. By Sunday, according to news reports, rumors online had turned the speculation into an actual threat that one 17-year-old student was coming to school with a gun the next day, on the one-week anniversary of the Chardon shooting.
Police went to his house that Sunday afternoon and found nothing to be concerned about.
But by then the family had been subjected to angry and hateful posts online.
This group of teens ( from article above) in the Kansas City area discussed how social media and gossip can affect real people's lives. The fears about the next school shooting can turn into a problem that schools and parents have to consider. Sometimes the rumors lead to an actual shooting.

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