At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. David E. Balk about grief and adolescents. David is the author of a book called Dealing With Dying, Death, and Grief During Adolescence.

In the video below, David discusses social media and the internet and how it has changed the face of grief for adolescents.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • So many adolescents and youth stay in touch through social media, and David says he’s not sure how many people have come to terms with the fact that this has entirely changed how adolescents think and interact.
  • David believes it’s both a positive and negative thing that youth are spending so much time on social media.
  • One of the dangers, because of this age group, is that youth target other youth that they see as vulnerable. If you’re a youth and you post on Facebook that someone close to you has died, other people may use that as a means to get after you. So youth have to be careful about things like that.
  • One of the positive things about the Internet and social media is that there is so much access to information. Social media prevents youth from having to go though a loss entirely on their own.
  • Adolescents and young adults are “scared to death” to be around someone who’s grieving. In order to keep acquaintances and friends while coping with a loss, most youth feel the need to pretend they’re OK and camouflage their feelings. Social media can be an outlet for youth to engage with a select group of people who are going through the same thing they are.

For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.

Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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