UNITED STATES—In the midst of the March for Our Lives rallies all over the nation by students aiming for change when it comes to gun laws in the country, we need to have a discussion about the issue of gun threats being made across the nation in recent months. I had a family member inform me that over 20, yes, over 20 threats of gun violence were made in their region in a single week. As a result, dozens of schools closed as a safety precaution to students.

This is something that is very concerning because for some reason these kids are not grasping the concept that what they are doing is not a joke, in addition, it’s a crime. I’ve kept track of a case in Michigan where a teen from South Lyon has found himself facing a 20 year felony and a $10 million bond set for his stupid actions. He had family and friends come to his defense, but at the end of the day, he did something that is not a joking matter and he is paying the price for it, but it doesn’t seem to be helping.

Why in the hell did this teen and so many others since that tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida suspect making such a gun threat at his school (I have yet to see any females arrested or hear reports of females doing such things) would be hilarious? Are they making these threats as a result of not wanting to go to school? Is it some prank that people just assume would go under the radar? I mean as someone with a degree in psychology, the only thing that comes to mind is immaturity and a lack of parenting.

If the news alone doesn’t scare students to stop making these threats, I honestly have the slightest clue of what will. Should we have more prosecutors, police officers, judges and school officials conduct multiple rallies warning students the dangers and consequences of making such threats? I mean if you see 10 or more students being jailed, facing gargantuan bonds and perhaps being expelled from school still not scaring students to NOT make such threats I don’t know what can be done. You know what, let me take that back. I do have a solution to the problem: better parenting. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, kids nowadays are too invested in social media. It’s like a force of madness that parents attempt to control, but it’s so grand that parents feel helpless.

Well, let me deliver a piece of advice: you are the parent, and you can dictate what your child can and cannot do. People continually feel this need to give their children privacy and that is fine and dandy, but at the same time, you need to maintain the authority that you have: you are the parent, you are the adult, and you determine what goes and what does not go. Parents need to talk to their kids about what is going on, and I’ve even heard the notion of taking steps to punish the parent with the child. Which I think is a genius idea! If your child does something stupid, not only do they suffer the consequence of their action, but force the parent to have to miss work and attend detention for an hour or two.

Why is this beneficial? It holds the student and the parent accountable for their actions. In addition, I don’t think any parent would be happy to sit in a classroom with their child for something they did. In addition, they have to miss work and readjust their schedule to accommodate their child’s bad actions? Yeah, most parents would NOT be happy with that, but it would force them at the same time to have a conversation with their child so this behavior is not repeated and they receive the message loud and clear: you make threats, you’ll pay the price and it will not be a laughing matter in any capacity.

Some have even gone as far to call these gun threats to school a race issue. While I don’t want to dive too deep into that discussion right at this moment, from the things I’ve seen and investigated a vast majority of the students jailed for making such threats are Caucasians and a vast majority of these incidents are taking place in the suburbs surrounding major cities. So while there could be some correlation, we can’t make the argument that one causes the other or they’re interrelated.

The question that I keep asking is why NOW? Why are we seeing so many more threats of this magnitude taking place in this current climate than let’s say 10-15 years ago? I do believe it harkens back to social media. For reasons, I cannot fathom, students fail to realize the evolution of technology and the fact that an IP address can easily be traced on any laptop, computer, tablet or cell phone. If you’re putting it out there, you will be caught. It might be swift, it might take a little bit longer, but you will reap what you sew. Making the situation worse is I would like to see more students talk to their peers to make it clear that what you’re doing is not cool, it’s no laughing matter.

Why? Gun violence takes lives. Just ask those victims from Parkland, Florida, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and countless other schools where a madman decided to unleash gunfire on unsuspecting victims. Hmm, there is just one problem with that? Those victims are no longer living on this Earth, so think about all the people killed during school shootings, when you decided to phone in a threat, send an email or get on social media to post what you consider a joke. It might be funny to you, but it’s not funny to everyone else.