This week, you may have heard about a so-called “National Day of School Violence” threat being spread on social media.
Reportedly, the threats originated on the social media platform TikTok, though that has not definitively been established. Regardless, posts about the threats spread quickly over social media causing worry across the country and even forcing some schools to shut down for the day.
Throughout the week, we worked to ensure that schools were aware and took necessary precautions. Thankfully, the day has passed without incident. Rest assured, we will continue to fight to end these social media-related dangers, educating families on safe social media use, advocating for updated laws to ensure that social media platforms act responsibly, and developing technology to provide real-time protection.
Unfortunately, for the time being, parents and school administrators must be proactive in preventing social media-related school violence:
1. Use Third-Party Safety Software
In your own household, consider using third-party safety software. Third-party software can provide life-saving alerts when dangerous content like threats of violence or self-harm is posted on your child’s social media account,
The Organization for Social Media Safety endorses Bark. (The Instagram posts made by the teen suspect in the latest school shooting tragedy in Oxford, Michigan would have been flagged by Bark’s software.)
2. Get Your Community to Use Third-Party Safety Software
In this social media era, every family must play their part to keep students safe. If a majority of the families in a school community use third-party safety software, all students will be safer, as more potential threats can be identified and remediated. This recommendation includes schools using safety software on their own networks.
3. Teach Your Student to Report
If your child sees a threat of violence on social media, teach them to immediately report it to the platform and an authority figure. Reporting is critical to ensure that schools can identify possible threats and that social media platforms can remove dangerous content before it spreads.