I haven't been around asd much as I'd like lately. My life has been really hectic and intense since May, after losing more than 75% of my income in March, and having to get creative just to keep the ends meeting. So having had my hands full chasing work more than doing work, just trying to keep the bills paid and the cupboard not bare, sometimes things have slipped a little. The following is a slipping that caught me completely off guard in a bad way. I am an artist who uses social media to show my art. My oldest daughter who is 26 does the same. My youngest struggles a little with autism, not severely but has some slight learning challenges and comprehension issues, and at 15 has less experience with social media than some 10 yr olds I know. Because I have been trying to ease her into the internet because of her taking things so literally. She wanted a way to show off her drawing and gacha edits and talk to other kids, because she's been bored and lonely with no school going on and missing her friends. So I let her have an IG account with strict rules. No pics of her, and no PMs with strangers. Made the account private and told her to just add her family and friends she knows personally from school. And then I monitored it very closely at first and all was going fine. But then our financial world got rocked hard and it took all i had to keep us going through it. I got busier after the bio war started and I guess she got lonelier. So she made her account public to try to find some of her friends from school and I didn't know. But I soon noticed a change in her behavior. She was sneaking and doing IG at night. So I thought she was just doing the typical teen things and grounded her from it for a while. She got a little upset but wouldn't say why, and chilled out some within a few days. Then she went to stay at her mom's a while because it's summer, and she downloaded IG again there, and started the same addictive behavior, which was what got her caught and she had Tik Tok and IG. So her mother took her phone and grounded her from it again for directly disobeying both of us about the IG, and just summarily deleted the accounts. At that time Alayna was very upset and crying. She said her friends were going to die if she wasn't there to talk to them. Having a hard time imagining that being a serious thing...friends...dying...because she didn't answer? Surely it's just teen drama right? She didn't elaborate so I didn't put any more thought into it. I went back to trying to keep us fed, vehicled, and sheltered. But over that time period Alayna would hardly eat and hardly laughed and we chalked it up to just loneliness from this bio war shutting everything down and isolating everyone and her youth group shutting down except for virtual, and tried to find ways to cheer her up hanging out with her every minute I could. Some worked a little but none worked much. It was very depressing seeing her go from always laughing and happy and moving and hungry, to being quiet and subdued and somber, and almost never eating all the food on her plate anymore and saying she wasn't hungry when i'd ask her what she wanted for lunch. I had started to think someone from school had been picking on her over her weight or something, but she's not over weight so that didn't make any sense. So I just kept trying to talk to her and make her happier again somehow. About two months went by and I wanted her to be able to message me on messenger while we were out if we got separated for any reason. So I asked her if she could behave and stay out of IG and Tik Tok. She said she would for sure so we gave it a shot. A few weeks later she got busted having IG again. And once again went into the "my friends are going to die!!" Crying and shaking. It was late, so I sent her to bed and then I laid in my bed scrolling through her PMs to try to make sense of this, and what I found totally caught me off guard. I didn't even know this could be a thing. Out of the 30 or 40 message streams there were several wanting her to send a pic of her leg or her arm or something, and she would just ignore those. But there were 8 or 10 where the person on the other side of the screen was saying things like; (talking about things way over Alayna head sexuality wise) "don't tell your parents because they'll tell my parents and I'll get in trouble" then later things like "you're abandoning me aren't you, you're not answering fast enough, I'm going to cut myself and it's all your fault." Or "hey where are you?" I guess you've left me so I'm going to kill myself now and it's your fault." And sometimes her replies went something like hey come back!! Please!! Don't do it, I didn't mean to abandon you!! I'm here I promise I just had chores to do!! Please come back!! And the person never responded again. Or they would be telling her they were sitting there cutting themselves and it was all her fault, and she would be saying "please don't do this! It's okay, you don't have to do this!! I'm not abandoning you!! Please stop this hurts so much!! Please don't!! And they would be telling her she should be a better person and respond faster when they messaged her. I read through all of them, it was horrible. It reminded me of some of the things I've read on Chinese brainwashing techniques. It put the "my friends are going to die" in a whole new light. My heart would shatter ever time I found where I knew her heart was breaking and that she was likely crying her eyes out in the middle of the night. So, having a better understanding of things. I sat her down and had a long talk the next morning, and told her that I wasn't sure what was up, I had never heard of anything like that craziness in all my time on social media, but that not to worry it wasn't real. Either it was just some cruel jerks playing twisted sick pranks, or just some sick person/people preying on young minds. But either way there weren't a bunch of kids out there cutting themselves and killing themselves because she didn't answer. She said "really?" I said yes. She said "Really really?" and I said yes sweetheart I promise (because either way it wasn't her fault if they had, but I don't believe they did) and she just collapsed into my lap, and said "oh thank god" and went limp and just laid there. She wasn't just being willfully disobedient, she had spent the last several weeks trying, on her own, to figure out how she had been responsible for all those kids hurting themselves, and was struggling with the guilt of that and believing she was somehow maybe responsible for the deaths of 6 other kids because she didn't answer fast enough, and trying to keep from being responsible for anymore of them. There really are some messed up people in the world. If I give her another smart phone between now and the time she turns 18, I will be very vigilant, as in like checking it three or four times a day. My frinds who work in special ed say they want to get the schools going again because though the media won't share it, middle schoolers and highschoolers are committing suicide at an alarming rate right now due to the isolation. I can't help but wonder how many of them may have taken their own lives because they thought they were responsible for multiple other children committing suicide and couldn't live with the guilt. It's a really scare thought that just shatters my heart that much more.