If you know me personally, you know that I am a big social media guru. I use social media everyday. Whether it's to give updates to friends and family about my daily life, share funny memes, or just find out what I missed on the Ellen show, social media is essential. But before I really go into the point of this article, I just want to say that I will be talking about my own personal experience and expressing my personal opinions. I apologize in advance if this article hurts anyone feelings. So here goes nothing.
This past week, my institution received a threat of an active shooter. The campus was immediately on lockdown and it stayed that way for a few hours. Thankfully I was in my dorm when the threat happened, but I had friends that were on campus. I immediately texted my parents, my friends and put a post on my Facebook page to let everyone know what was going on. I was scared for my life. Within about two hours, police were knocking at my door asking me to go into the lobby of my dorm building. I was one of the first students they got, but I was soon surrounded by 30-40 kids, our Area Coordinator as well as some state police and a few local police. While I was in the lobby, I was constantly checking social media. I also was receiving texts, comments and calls from my family and friends at home making sure that I was okay. A friend of mine who lives in Maine also heard about the threat within hours and checked in on me, which I really appreciated.
Let me stem on that. Fox News, the Washington Post, ABC News as well as other big news organizations heard about our threat. They heard about a threat that was said to a college campus in central NY. Well, first off I think it is absolutely necessary to keep the media informed and to gain more awareness. However, I definitely think there are restrictions when it comes to the media and ongoing investigations such as threats and school shootings.
For example, when I was in the ninth grade, my high school had a bomb threat. This was something that scared a lot of people because we never thought something like this could happen to our little high school. The media did cover it. However, not to the fullest extent. They conducted interviews, did reports at the high school and gathered as much information as they could to be shared to the general public that maybe didn't know what was going on. That is okay. You're giving enough information to the public.
The incident at the college was a little bit different. Certain media platforms were taking photos of students in "safe zones" as well as students hiding under desks. In the moment, I'm sure it seemed like the right thing to do. However, this also plays into ethics. I personally believe that it should not be glamorized where students were hiding. If there really was an active shooter on campus they would know to keep an eye out for those specific spots. Also 70 percent of shootings occur in some type of learning environment. I had heard stories about students that were in those photos and they were not really impressed.
Therefore, I definitely think the media has the right to inform, but at the same time I don't think it is right to take photos of students during an ongoing investigation such as the threat. It endangers them and even though I was not in the "safe zones" or hiding under a desk during that time, I'm sure I would not have wanted my photo taken.