Parental Wake Up Call…
Over the weekend, a story came out in the news that was absolutely horrific. A teenager out of Kentucky was killed in Maryland after a shootout with police. Afterward, it was determined that days earlier he had methodically killed his parents and younger sister. (Story here)
It was beyond tragic in so many ways.
The article mentioned some things, though, that make me believe there is much more to the story that we will likely never know. It starts with what apparently precipitated the incident:
The teen “was mad at his parents over the usage of his computer. They had taken his computer rights away,”
Huge red flag right there. There was something that was so overwhelmingly important to him that he killed his parents and sister. (Plus, the use of the word ‘rights’ I think is key…)
But there’s more.
…including getting angry at his dad for grounding him because he texted someone he wasn’t supposed to.
This might seem like pure speculation, and even I’d be critical of it myself if there weren’t increasing numbers of these types of things happening. The fact is that social media IS being used to get information on, influence, meet, and exploit our children.
And what I would venture to say happened: he had gotten himself involved with someone or something online over a long period of time. Perhaps a real girl, perhaps someone from his past, perhaps he was totally being played by someone hiding behind online anonymity, or perhaps those involved in human trafficking. But whatever it was, it had an extremely strong hold on him. Enough to warp his sense of right and wrong, his priorities, etc.
Which leads me to this: parents…WAKE UP.
We need to know what our kids are doing online, and who they are communicating with…before they get over their head involved in something. Set limits. Look for the signs: withdrawing, accessing internet in private, being very possessive (and obsessive) of their phone or computer. I’d take it a step further (and we have) and suggest installing some sort of web filtering that includes reporting, so you can know what sites are visited, and how much time is spent on sites.
(If enough interest, I can outline what we use for Web filtering and what our rules are for screen time in a follow-up post… but let me know in comments…)
The technology is there. But we, as parents, still need to step up, because it does take effort. But our kids are worth it.
Over the weekend, a story came out in the news that was absolutely horrific. A teenager out of Kentucky was killed in Maryland after a shootout with police. Afterward, it was determined that days earlier he had methodically killed his parents and younger sister. (Story here) It was beyond tragic in so many ways. The…