December 14, 2011 by staff
Facebook Anti-Bullying, Local parents say a new Facebook feature could save lives. The social networking site added an option Tuesday allowing friends to report a potentially suicidal comment and get help for those who need it. Some parents say this new feature will help those who are afraid to reach out on their own.
People like friends’ status updates and comment on their photos, but what is the right thing to do when a friend posts something suicidal?
“A lot of times if we’re not there to talk with some of our students, this builds up and builds up and builds up,” said Kevin Epling, Anti-Bullying advocate.
That’s why Facebook added a new feature Tuesday, allowing you to report a suicidal comment. From there, Facebook will send that person an email offering the phone number for a suicide hotline or the opportunity to click a link and instantly chat with a counselor.
“For someone to be able to take an active step and click that button to help somebody, that’s what we talk about in schools, we want people to step in and step up,” said Epling.
Epling lost his son to suicide in 2002. While he didn’t get his wish to see cyber issues in Michigan’s new anti-bullying law, he says this new feature will help with that.
“I thinks it’s one step, I do think ya know, schools still need to be very vigilant about what is going on in the cyber world because whatever happens outside of the school will sooner or later manifest itself in the school,” said Epling.
Parents like Julie Potter say Facebook is the perfect place for teens to help one another.
“They’ll express themselves, more readily I think, usually on Facebook than they will even talking to their friends,” said Potter, “to be able to quickly use that technology that’s so easy for them to get their friends’ help. I think it would be really beneficial.”
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