Teens learn the dangers of sharing too much online - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Teens learn the dangers of sharing too much online

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For young adults - YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are virtual diaries, where teens have no qualms posting things others may find far too personal for strangers.

But when teens reveal their darkest struggles - and mention suicide - the game changes.  Do you scroll By the boy or girl who could be crying wolf - or do you stop - and do something?

On a cold Saturday morning, in this church Downtown, members of Youth Leadership Toledo gather for a monthly meeting.   These are some of the best and brightest, kids who have their whole lives ahead of them.

 We introduced them to the story of a Canadian teen whose life took a very different turn. In September 2012, 15-year-old Amanda Todd decided to tell the world how one lapse in judgment changed her life.

An older man convinced her to flash the camera - he screen grabbed the image - and it went viral. Relentless bullying pushed Todd to switch schools, then turn to drugs, alcohol, cutting … and even a suicide attempt.

Weeks after she posted the video - Amanda was found dead. Countless people watched, shared and commented on it - but no one helped.

In a time when social media is an extension of our personas, Todd's tragedy is one small piece of a much larger puzzle.

Dr. Ken Miller, Clinical Director of Youth and Family at Harbor says that teens plastering their pain all over the Internet can cause desensitization, but could also create an opportunity to find help.

"The good news out of this bad news is that there's 4.5, 4.6 million hits on this ... So people are very interested. And if they can learn from this - then it doesn't necessarily have to get worse because we're humans ."

That means parents need to get involved and educated about social media and some experts say schools need to be more proactive.

The Youth Leadership teens also say it's time for their generation to step up and speak out, even if it means taking some heat.

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