ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — You always hear kids have no filter. Add to that missing out on regular social interaction for almost two years, and the things children and teens say on social media can erupt into real world consequences.
“Which means that when you put them together, they are not used to talking to each other, they’re not used to being in social groups, there is more pressure, there’s more opportunities for violence and aggression,” explains Dr. Rudy Nydegger, a clinical psychologist.
School districts across the nation were sent into a panic Thursday after a viral Tik Tok video trend threatened national school violence. The Department of Homeland Security later posted Friday morning acknowledging the trend and advising alert, but said there was no confirmation of any credible threats.
Dr. Nydegger says students of the current generation can’t fully process all the unprecedented waves of toxic influence that social media has to throw at them. A study issued by the CDC shows 1 in 5 kids have some kind of mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. Suicidal tendencies also increased 36% between 2009 and 2019.
“Probably the worst thing you can do is to say, well I know how you feel. Well you don’t. What youngsters go through today in school is dramatically different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago,” he says.
He says he’s gotten the chance to observe and give input at trainings with local school districts. He says his advice is always to give students the chance to speak.
“Too often I think, parents and teachers sit around and come up with ideas about what they think would be helpful, well get the students involved. They might not perceive the same risk, but if you’re looking for solutions, they may have some of the best ideas and getting involved may be one way for them to gain a better appreciation for the seriousness of what some of these threats and some of these actions actually mean,” Dr. Nydegger explains.
For parents, he suggests giving your students the chance to teach you about social media. Let them feel they can help you, so you can help them.
“Make your suggestions, make your observations, keep it brief, back off. It’s more important what you hear than what you say, so listen,” he says.