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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Georgia State: Monitoring Social Media and Technology Use to Prevent Youth Suicide and School Violence

A paper co-authored by Dr. Emily Graybill, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences in the Georgia State University School of Public Health, examined one school district’s effort to develop a comprehensive program of prevention by monitoring Internet usage and providing interventions and follow-up supports for its student body.

With suicide as the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 and with mass school shootings averaging once per year, schools are exploring ways to prevent this seemingly increase in youth suicide and other forms of youth violence. School-based prevention initiatives such as social/emotional learning curricula, school-based mental health services, and internal threat assessment protocols are becoming more prevalent. Along with these prevention efforts, increases in youth use of technology and social media have created a market for social media monitoring companies that use algorithms to analyze youth social media posts for threats of harm toward themselves or others. School districts contract with these social media monitoring companies for assistance in identifying youth who may be at risk for violence. The purpose of this article is to describe one school district’s experience using social media monitoring programs as part of their comprehensive school violence prevention and mental health promotion effort. The school district was alerted to many students who made suicidal and homicidal threats on social media and after identifying those students, the students were able to receive referrals for mental health support.

Read about the study.

Learn more about Dr. Emily Graybill.

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