Earlier this week I shared my view of how a child’s online activities and cries for help often foreshadows their offline actions, resulting in a tragedy. In the past few years there have been many cases where the victims shared their plan of suicide with the world via their social media updates.
According to a United Nations report, every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life, which results in 800,000 suicides a year
In response to the staggering numbers and the fact that some suicides can be prevented, suicide prevention organization Samaritans launched an app that flags disturbing tweets and sends alerts to friends. The free app, “Samaritans Radar”, is currently available for Twitter users. Once downloaded, it sends an alert to your email when a person you follow tweets phrases such as “help me,” “tired of being alone,” “hate myself” and “need someone to talk to.”
Joe Ferns, executive director of policy, research and development at Samaritans, told the BBC the app was not designed to be a furtive tracking tool.”Radar is only picking up tweets that are public, giving you an opportunity to see tweets that you would have seen anyway,” he said.
“But imagine that a friend had posted something in the early hours of the morning, you’re on the way to work or college and your Twitter feed is full of messages that are arguably less important – Samaritans Radar gives you the opportunity to see that tweet again and have it highlighted to you.
Samaritans Radar is in its infancy and they might not get, “it” right the first time, I simply applaud them for “doing something.” I have not used the app, therefore I can’t endorse it, but I thought it was worth sharing with parents and teens as it may save a life.
Thought to ponder: If this app were available, if we were a little more attuned to the cries of help via social media….would those teens still be alive?
For more information on the app, go to: http://www.samaritans.org/radarpress
Think our teens aren’t crying out….Don’t forget Amanda Todd’s story. She posted this video shortly before committing suicide.
Marlin Page is a Globetrotting Speaker, Founder of Sisters Code, and thought leader on bridging the racial and gender gap in technology. As Chief Technology Mommy, Marlin exposes online safety stories and empowers parents to keep their children safe on the Internet while encouraging teens to use social media responsibly.
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