Teenagers use technology to make their voices heard louder than ever before
By: Emma Caufield & Paige Kelly
Teens spend nearly nine hours a day using social media. Whether it be keeping that 500-day Snapchat streak, or uploading a new Instagram post. But as of Feb. 14, teenagers used social media in a much different and more impactful way.
On Feb. 14, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas faced an unthinkable tragedy when 17 lives were lost during a mass school shooting. Students took to their phones, and something usually frowned upon by adults became the most effective way to make their voices heard louder than ever before, while generating awareness and saying goodbye to their peers and loved ones.
Only minutes after the shooting began, videos of the horrifying incident that happened at MSD High School already appeared on the Internet. In these graphic videos viewers got a glimpse of what students at MSD High School experienced on that day, gunshots can be heard in the background as students hide in their classrooms.
“I think it’s important that people see the reality in America. It’s not just a story; that’s someone’s life and seeing it through their eyes is beneficial,” said sophomore Ella Stone regarding the videos.
People reached out online to see if anyone had heard something about their friends and family.
“If anyone has seen my friend Joaquin Oliver or ‘Guac’ please reach out to me. I need to know he is safe. Today was a tragedy that none of us deserved except the culprit himself. My prayers go out to families, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, children, and parents all together,” said senior at MSD, Sam Zeif.
Zeif shared his text messages with his younger brother during the shooting on Twitter. His tweet went viral with more than 550,000 likes and more than 150,000 retweets.
Alongside the unforgettable videos, many viral tweets were shared under #neveragain. The hashtag was used to advocate for better school safety and gun regulation, survivors and students alike used this hashtags to share their thoughts and opinions.
Survivors of the shooting began organizing and spreading word about a march on Washington, #marchforourlives. This is certainly not the first march on Washington but because of the way the information was spread over the internet, it was one of the largest. March for Our Lives accounts popped up all over Instagram for different towns in the United States. Students became inspired and organized walk-outs and marches in their own towns. Millions of people marched in various locations all over the United States.
“I think that this whole movement has been so incredibly powerful. Social media allows us to reach people that we otherwise couldn’t, and because of that these teens have been so inspirational to our young society and I think that’s what sets this movement apart from others past,” said junior Nahisha Jackson.