The other night, it was cold as f%ck, snowing sideways and the roads were icy. The last thing I felt like doing after working that day, was heading back out to attend a meeting for parents on school and student safety. I’m so glad I did. It was incredibly informative and horrifying with the realization that a school shooting can likely happen in any city at any time.
The vice-superintendent went over the Blue Point System which is what the schools in our district use in the case of a lockdown. Once the lever on one of these is pulled (they are located throughout the school), the police are immediately dispatched. The school intercom is connected to this alarm and a recorded voice repeats over and over that the Blue Point System has been activated and police are on their way. Studies have shown that when a shooter hears sirens or knows that police are coming, they usually turn the gun on themselves and the shooting is over more quickly. A thought that makes me sick to my stomach that this is our reality.
We watched the video above called The Sandy Hook Promise and I hope you take the time to watch it too. It’s less than 3 minutes long and it covers the signs to look for in troubled teens.
A technology expert also spoke about sites and apps that kids are using these days. Here’s a breakdown of what he covered:
- Kids should never “friend” anyone they don’t know through apps like Instagram or Snapchat.
- As parents we should make sure we are familiar with every app that our children have on their devices.
- Make sure you’re friends with your children through these apps so you can keep better tabs on them.
- Click on every app that’s on your child’s phone. There are apps that appear to be something completely innocent, but once they click into those apps they are anything but what they seemed. One example is The Vault.
- Common apps that are used by kids and teens that are inappropriate: Tinder, GroupMe, AfterSchool, Grindr, Hot Or Not
- Kids should always use their technology downstairs in the family room and never in their room. They can use earbuds if they are watching videos.
- #mysecretfamily is on Twitter for teens who suffer from anorexia, self harm, suicidal thoughts and others. They can offer suggestions to hide their disorders, commiserate or plan their own suicide.
- Once a month or every other week, take a look at your child’s phone to check their texts, browsing history and apps. It might seem like an invasion of privacy and be a little awkward for you both, but it could make a huge positive impact in the long run if something serious is going on and your teen isn’t telling you about it.
Is your head spinning yet? Are you freaking out? I had a lot of trouble sleeping that night, let me tell you! Maybe we can’t prevent every little thing from happening to our children. Their hearts will still get broken and I’m sure kids will still be mean to one another, but having a little more knowledge about technology and signs could keep the really serious $hit from occurring. I don’t ever want to look back and think there’s something more I could have done if it was possible. I’d rather be proactive and stay on top of this stuff.
We’re all in this together! The more we know, the better off our kids will be in the future.