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Young people and social media threats

A child psychiatrist explains why young people feel brave enough to post threats on social media.

MIDLAND, Texas — When kids get behind a screen and use social media, though there is a connection between them and others, there is also a disconnect.

A disconnect that makes them feel like nothing can touch them.

And if they aren’t feeling the best about themselves or others, enough to want to make a threat against others, this can have severe consequences.

“I don’t think they realize that is evidence," Dr. Shamsuddin Pepermintwala, a child psychiatrist, said. "In case something happens that is solid evidence of a threat, an impulsive action; when teenagers, I’m talking about teenagers per se, when they get into that hormonal surge, they tend to be very impulsive. They also tend to feel like, um, invincible. They feel like nothing can hurt them.”

No good parent wants to see their kid make a mistake that could cost them their future.

According to Pepermintwala, a simple act that helps and actually goes a long way is healthy communication between kids and their parents.

“If each parent spent one hour with each child every week, I think that would be better than not," Pepermintwala said. "That's one hour that the parent is listening and the child is talking. Because most of the time parents are so busy barking orders at the kids, telling them to do this and telling them to do that, and after a certain age that really backfires.”

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