Hey Insta, Have You Seen My Son?


Photo Collage by Emilya Barwick

Social media has helped to raise awareness on countless issues of safety in the community.

Emilya Barwick, Staff Writer

Imagine. Your son is supposed to be home by 4:30 in the afternoon. It’s now seven. You’re frantic, calling his phone number every chance you get, sending text upon text, desperately trying to find his location. You try to think of anything and everything that would help you find your son, until something clicks: social media. Every teen (and most adults) are on it today, so a simple post asking about your son should be helpful–right?

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Nextdoor was the original platform where the boy’s mother posted asking for help.

On September 28, 2019, a sophomore from Dakota Ridge High School, went missing. While the original post asking for help finding him was made by his mother, asking local residents on Nextdoor if anyone has seen her son, Littleton students spread the message like wildfire. Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram stories were posted about the missing boy, and after two days, he was found. 

Even though occurrences like these are not very common in Littleton, it raises the notion of how powerful social media can actually be. The mother of the missing child (who, along with her son, will remain unnamed for sake of privacy) had only posted on Nextdoor, seeking help in looking for her son, but it was not long before other adults were re-posting it on other media platforms, and soon social media sites were flooded with pictures of the boy who had disappeared. 

Deputy Dave Bruening, Dakota Ridge High School’s resource officer, loves the way young teens will help a serious case like that one. “You guys today are totally attuned to social media and you live and die by that. It’s how you communicate,” Bruening said. 

Because of a teenager’s connection to social media, it makes a platform like that extremely useful. Two years ago, a serious threat was made on Snapchat–a post saying to “not show up to school tomorrow if you want to stay alive.” Students took action immediately, and according to Bruening, he got more than 200 SafeToTell phone calls the same evening the post was made. “You guys will see it, you’ll know about it; you’ll know something is odd,” Bruening said. 

The same goes for the disappearance of the boy. If something is posted that does not seem right, the community takes immediate action.

According to Bruening,  “That’s power.”