Log in with Facebook ►
Log out ►
December 17, 2012
Nancy is the Project Manager at the Family Online Safety Institute.
As a mom and a resident of Connecticut, Friday’s school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School left me stunned and scared. It seemed unfathomable that such a horrific event could happen anywhere, but certainly not in the quiet towns of Connecticut.
One of the first things I did when I arrived home from work was post a note on my Facebook page to reassure distant family and friends that we were okay and did not live near the location of the shooting.
While posting that note, I saw several friends had shared this quote from Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” I was so thankful to read those words because they gave me a simple way to start a difficult conversation.
Throughout the weekend, I shielded my children from the news but began searching online for information about how to discuss the topic with them. What I found was not only information, but support and inspiration.
The grief of a community, a nation and a world was shared online this weekend. As one psychologist noted, “Facebook, blogs, and social media hold positive potential to support a nation’s and a world’s need to cope with the immense tragedies of today and our future.”
On Facebook alone, numerous memorial pages, such as this one were created to provide a place for the world community to share their condolences.
More personal and individualized sorrow was also evident, such as the tweet by Victor Cruz, wide receiver for the Giants, who tweeted, “Today’s game is for you, Jack” accompanied by a photo showing the name, Jack Pinto, one of the young victims and a fan of Cruz, written on his cleats. That photo was retweeted more than 5,000 times.
The Huffington Post and Mashable are just two of the many websites that provided updated information about charities and fundraising efforts. While caution needs to be used when donating during times of crisis, helpful and trusted websites can provide direction when looking for ways to ensure your donation gets to those in need. For more information about donating online, look here.
In my own community, parents used Facebook to exchange information about how we each shared the news with our kids, tips on ways to talk about the topic and signs to watch for to monitor your child for anxiety. There is tremendous help online for parents who are wondering how to speak with their children about this tragedy , including this recent article.
In the past 48 hours, online discussions and newsfeeds have been flooded with articles, narratives and points of view about school safety, gun control and mental health treatment. Regardless of where you stand on these issues, the ability to generate discussion on these topics during moments of anguish can provide comfort, mobilization and education.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly for me, social media provided much-needed inspiration for ways to move forward.
Former Today show host, Ann Curry, used her Twitter page to wonder what would happen if we each committed to performing 20 acts of kindness (one for each child lost in Newtown – later she also tweeted for 26 acts, one for each victim). This tweet triggered incredible responses from people who were inspired to perform numerous acts of kindness from donating money to buying gifts for the homeless.
More kindness and inspiration could be found on Tumblr and Twitter. Victoria, a blogger based in the Seattle area, tweeted that her nephew was one of the children killed in the shooting. Victoria asked for help to deliver notes to her family in Connecticut. (Twitter.com/VDog). Within minutes, Victoria updated her Twitter feed to thank Jet Blue for helping her and suggesting that those who still want to help donate to Noah’s funeral. In a wonderful sign of support and kindness, another blogger helped share her story. (Twitter/kaisermommy)
As the entire country continues to grieve, question and think about the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School, we welcome you to share your stories on how the online community has come together in the midst of a national tragedy.
Photo Courtesy of Caffeinehit
Read It activity will be shared on Facebook