As we continue to honor the life of Detroit Renaissance High School Senior, Billy Watts, Jr. there have been many teens who have reached out with comments about life, death, their experiences, and what it’s like to be a teenager.
One young lady, contacted me to share her story and offered powerful insight to parents. After asking her permission to share with this audience she stated, “Yes, I’m just trying to make a difference. Hopefully it opens up parents eyes.” As I stated last week, Billy’s life will not be in vain, as his story has served as a wake up call for all of us. His beautiful life is already helping and empowering his peers and families all around the country.
On this blog, I won’t offer my regular tips on online safety and social media reponsibility, as I am confident this teen’s statements will resonate with all. Please share with other parents, adults, or anyone who can use this.
From a Teen’s Perspective:
“Hello I’m 18 years old let me tell ya’ll from a teen perspective, I have been down the road of suicidal thoughts and actions. I tried to speak out about it but parents think it’s just a phase of emotions or its nothing serious sometimes teens show their feelings but in a different way sometimes. We show lack in the things we love, start being distant, sleep more or either sleep way less, more media use less being with friends. And I can tell u from a personal experience with the Suicidal Hot line she put me on hold when I needed somebody to talk to. If my friend didn’t call me I would have ended my life there I’m getting better with my life though starting to actually smile. Sometimes if you just sit down and talk with your kids it works other times it might not sometimes kids are screaming for attention but you might be too busy to even realize the pain their going through, but good luck parents hopefully your kids can overcome what there going through I’ve been pushing through to let the sun back in.”
“Yes, I do think more small group discussions would help we won’t speak in front of others about it until we can find that one person who we can put all our trust into and let it out. Media Sites are speaking out to help suicide prevention like Instagram, Tumblr,etc. If you put a Hash tag like (#Suicide) on instagram a Message will pop up saying ” For Information and support with suicide or Self-Harm, Visit befrienders.org ” it’s hard to come out and tell somebody you thought about ending your life but Yes I do have somebody I can call about when I feel like this. Also to be aware of the Suicidal actions I think parents should read more into Depression and Bipolar Signs in there Children. And working on how you speak to your children like if there over weight you may be joking when you say something about their weight and eating habits ..they might laugh but deep down it really hurts. That was also a reason I thought about it too because of Verbal Abuse. I do like to speak out to people about it but I talk to small groups of people if I see a post about them being sad or something.”
Let’s all take a moment to applaud this young lady for her courage to share and for deciding that life was worth living!
Parents: I know I said, I wouldn’t offer my usual tips, but I had to chime in. If this teen’s words touched you the way they impacted me, here’s what you might want to do: Breathe, take this all in, walk away and re-read if you must, then Take Action. Parents and Teens, please know you are not alone – WE are your village. Reach out here, leave a comment, email us, sign-up to receive online safety related news, whatever you need to do! Just don’t think you are alone – YOU ARE NOT.
If you have not, please consider contributing to the Billy D. Watts, Jr. Memorial Fund. You can contribute at any PNC Bank.
Marlin Page, “Chief Technology Mommy,” serves as an Online Safety Evangelist exposing “real life” internet and social media stories impacting children around the world and providing practical tips to empower parents to keep their children safe on the Internet while encouraging teens to use social media responsibly. Marlin is a Globetrotting Speaker, Founder of Sisters Code, STEM Advocate, and thought leader on bridging the racial and gender gap in technology and eliminating the digital divide. Marlin’s book and music CD, “Always Believe,” empowers girls to love themselves, believe in themselves, and celebrate their uniqueness. Also known as the “Excuse Annihilator”, Marlin created the “No Excuses Movement” line of T-Shirts.
Speaking and Media Requests: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 313-575-4078
Sisters Code: www.sisters-code.org