Just up the road from us today in Wake Forest North Carolina, Heritage High School was in “code red” lockdown (which has been lifted without incident).
According to WRAL news the threat was tweeted out by a 14yr old in Florida.
Many schools, parents, and students are shocked and concerned with social media threats. Not to discount them or not take them extremely seriously, but the truth is, these happen all of the time. In our area, the most recent threat was at UNC Chapel Hill via the Yik Yak Social App. As an 80’s kid, I can tell you for a fact that there were dozens of tunes kids sang on a regular basis about wishing ill on schools or picking on the principal; the sound waves of these tunes traveled 10 feet, and then kids went off to ride their bicycles or listen to MC Hammer. These days, kids can just do something stupid at the spur of the moment with their cell phone that results in a prison sentence and a scar for life. Their threats cost a ton of money, and they are not appreciated in a post 911 / Sandy Hook / etc. world. I know if I had children in Heritage High School, I would be extremely concerned and upset with this 14yr old’s outrageous actions.
I recently wrote a call to students to Stop Posting Threats on Yik Yak Social Media and have a Yik Yak Social Media Arrest Timeline here (Yik Yak is like an “anonymous” Twitter). Why? I personally feel that kids (and especially parents) need to get educated about the power that kids have in their pocket on their cell phone or even at their desktop PC. At 14yrs of age, most kids understand social media as much or more than many adults, however, they may not understand their emotions or how to constructively control them. A hormonal teen having a bad day can literally screw their life up in the blink of an eye during a moment of bad judgement. All kids make mistakes, but these mistakes are too big and everyone loses when they happen.
I recently ran into a campus police officer for one of the local colleges and asked him if he knew what Yik Yak was. He said no. Will the time come when security officers or school admins must monitor all of their social media accounts? Is this time already here? In this particular case, the threat was made public on Twitter at 10:44PM Feb 3, 2015. School admins first noticed it today, February 4, 2015 at 8:30AM, and sent the school into lockdown at 9:30AM. If it were noticed 9.5hrs earlier, how would it have changed things? School days may start at 8:30, but social media runs 24hrs a day.
If you or someone you know has thoughts like this or think this is funny, they need to get professional help. Immediately.
Has social media negatively impacted you?