5 tech tools for kids in crisis

Apps, sites, and text hotlines help kids cope with issues from cyberbullying to suicide.

Published August 27, 2017 10:53PM (EDT)


This article originally appeared on Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media

Many parents wonder how they would fare as a teenager in a world filled with social media drama, texting troubles, and cyberbullying. Whether they're the cause or symptomatic of deeper issues, the same tools kids use to connect can also trigger anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. For today's struggling kids, there's some hope. Popular apps, sites, and services offer guidance and help when, where, and how kids need it. Let kids know where they can find support:

Facebook and Messenger
Facebook acknowledges that users experiencing rough patches often share about it online. Now, when someone posts a potentially suicidal message, a friend can report it. Facebook then displays information and resources that the poster must click through before he or she can use Facebook or Messenger again. Though the process isn't perfect, people are reporting and accessing help, which could mean lives saved.

Kik Messenger
Though Kik has been linked to cyberbullying, it provides a variety of resources for its users and their parents in its Help Center. Specifically, it has a page dedicated to answering the question, "Someone just sent me a suicidal message on Kik. What can I do?" and provides a link to prevention hotlines.

As a blogging site and app, Tumblr encourages sharing — and sometimes it gets pretty deep. On a page directly addressing struggling users, it offers supportive international links and phone numbers. Tumblr users also feature content dedicated to helping others.

Crisis Text Line
Reaching out while you're depressed can feel impossible, and the fear of talking to a stranger on the phone might prevent some from calling a hotline at all. The Crisis Text Line offers a service that allows you to text with a trained volunteer. Kids often prefer texting and messaging to talking on the phone, so this resource fills that need, and gets kids anonymous access to help.

It Gets Better and the Trevor Project
LGBTQ kids are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide. Some organizations are dedicated to addressing this issue. It Gets Better started with one YouTube video and led to a website and an MTV special in the attempt to give kids hope and a place to go when they need help. The Trevor Project was inspired by a short film and offers texting and online chat in addition to a more traditional crisis line.

By Christine Elgersma

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Apps Common Sense Media Crisis Text Line Cyberbullying Facebook The Trevor Project Tumblr Websites