Parkland students are grieving on social media — and people are not happy about it

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In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which led to the deaths of 17 people Wednesday, survivors took to social media to express their pain, process their emotions, and remember their loved ones.

But as the posts began making the rounds online, many students found themselves on the receiving end of criticism from observers who took issue with the way they were processing their grief.

In a since deleted tweet, self-described “Conservative YouTuber” Mark Dice, criticized “Generation Z” kids, who, he claimed, were posting videos of the shooting to Snapchat before calling 911.

Credit: Screenshot Twitter

Such reactions point to a common inclination among outside observers to police the way young people — many of whom have grown up using social media — grieve and cope with the deaths of their loved ones.

The criticism is nothing new. In an analysis for Psychology Today, Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, wrote of the “funeral selfie” trend in which children and adolescents would post pictures of themselves at funerals, adding that “It doesn’t take much to get people ranting about the narcissism, need for instant gratification and other shortcomings of the Instagram generation …”

“There is no right way of grieving at any age,” Rutledge continued. A major reason children grieve publicly, she said, is for “social support.”

“Social support is helpful when someone is dealing with both chronic and acute stress. For kids who have migrated to using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as a normal means of contacting friends, posting a funeral selfie can be a way of getting that support and empathy.”

Furthermore, as the reactions to Dice’s tweet show, many students took photos and video during and after the shooting, as a safety and preventative measure.

Parkland survivors have also reacted with anger online, criticizing lawmakers for failing to adopt policy measures that could have prevented the massacre.

President Donald Trump, who cancelled his daily press briefing Wednesday as news about the shooting was developing, was met with an onslaught of condemnation when he took to Twitter to express his condolences for the victims.

As more and more of these reactions began cropping up, Fox News pundit Tomi Lahren claimed that the “Left” was pushing their “anti-gun agenda” before families have a chance to grieve — and, in the process, Lahren herself managed to police the way many of the victims were grieving.

Lahren’s tweet was not well-received.

The “thoughts and prayers” phrase has become a standard adage in a country in which mass shootings have become all but normalized. The tragic events at Stoneman Douglas High mark the 18th school shooting in 2018 alone and the second deadliest school shooting after the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 28 people.



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Author: Elham Khatami

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