Social Media during a School Shooting

After finishing the readings, I prepared to write a standard blog post responding to the ideas of digital identity. However, following the most recent (and tragic) school shooting in Florida, I decided to talk about the use of Social Media in a school shooting and how it relates to digital identity.

As you can see from the above photo, when faced with a moment of extreme stress and panic, students relied on what they are most comfortable with, Social Media. As David Buckingham states in his article, “children are engaging with these media not as technologies, but as cultural forms.”

When we practice lockdown situations at our school, we stress to students the importance of remaining off their devices. The main logic being that if 900 students are suddenly calling loved ones at the same time, it could interfere with phone lines and police communication with the school. I agree that this is a valid reason, however, if ever faced with an actual school shooter rather than a drill, I believe it would be much more difficult to keep students off of their phones.

One interesting taken by some of the students was to post videos of the shooter on their Snapchat Stories using the SnapMap feature. As the following article explains, this could have both positive and negative consequences. Positively, the videos could be used by the police to help track the shooter’s location inside a school, but negatively “in a live shooting situation, the possible consequences are deadly… without realizing, you could be broadcasting your location and making yourself more vulnerable in this situation.”

The fallout from this tragedy is still unfolding and there remains a great deal to be learned about the use of social media during a school shooting. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the issue.


3 thoughts on “Social Media during a School Shooting

  1. It gets harder and harder for students to be separated from their devices as it becomes more than just a communication tool: it has become a part of their identity. Events like this emphasize that this can be very problematic in times of danger, for both students but teachers as well. You make good points about things like Snapmaps, which really freak me out.


  2. This is a good slant. Perhaps we’re beyond talking about social media being a tool to use. As Kelsie pointed out in her comment, social media is bound up and entwined with identity. Good or bad, it’s there. It makes education all the more important!


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