Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
My mom called me just seconds after the news of the bombing aired on CNN. She was sobbing and I could barely understand her. For the first time in years, I wasn’t on my phone at all that day and had no idea why she was so upset. I instantly logged into Twitter and checked the CNN Breaking News feed. I then texted every single person I know that lives in Boston. I’m from CT and have a house in Massachusetts so the majority of my friends go to school in Boston. It was hard to get in touch with them but through social media I discovered that they were okay. Some texted me back or tweeted that they were fine; others even uploaded pictures on Instagram of the explosion. Luckily, everyone I knew was okay.
I used social media not only to find out what was happening but also to make sure everyone I knew was safe. I was wondering that night what I would do without technology. How would I know if my friends were okay? Would I have to wait weeks, maybe even months, to hear from them if technology didn’t exist? How would my mom know that I was okay? Social media is a powerful tool that is constantly criticized; however, people don’t realize how much they utilize these outlets.
I’m not sure that I’ve truly processed this event. I’m not even sure I’ve processed September 11th yet. The main reason these events tear me up so much is because I think about my kids and my younger sister who will never be able to live in a world where they feel safe. This is the primary reason why my mom was so upset. I talked to my mom for hours on Monday night and she was telling me that she used to play outside alone until far past sunset. She would play kickball with her friends until all hours of the night and would proceed to walk the 20-minute journey home by herself. She was never afraid of a man following her, of being alone at night, or of playing outside.
I never had that experience. My parents never left me alone, even if it was during the day. I could never walk alone to the candy store in my town even though it’s 10 minutes from my house. I live in a tiny, rural town in Connecticut where everyone knows each other. However, I never felt safe as a kid and that feeling hasn’t changed over the years. The one advantage today is that we have social media to alert us in seconds of what is going on in the world and if we need to be careful.
I just wish the constant alerts saying a shooting, bombing, or fight occurred were less frequent.