TAMPA, Fla. (TBO.com) - How do you express grief when tragedy strikes?

For the friends of Colin and Megan Campbell, shot to death last week by their father in their sprawling Avila home, the answer was simple and immediate: social media. Raised on Twitter, Facebook and other phone-based apps, accustomed to sharing their emotions and opinions on everything else going on in their lives, they quickly took to social media to voice their pain and share memories of the Campbell kids.

“Just absolutely mind-boggling,” Danielle Daley tweeted.

“Still in denial about all of this,” posted Nick Rogers.

Colin Campbell, 18 and Megan Campbell, 15, were found dead in their family’s rented Avila home Wednesday after a fire destroyed the house. By Friday, investigators announced that Darrin Campbell, the teenagers’ father, shot his children, his wife Kim, and himself before setting the house ablaze.

Friends of the teens, who were students at CarrollwoodDay School, posted photos of the Campbells on their accounts and tweeted images of balloons released in their honor Wednesday. They created hashtags like #CDSSstrong and #prayforthecampbells and organized gatherings like a trip to IHOP in honor of Colin Campbell, who loved to eat pancakes at the restaurant.

One girl, who identified herself only as “A,” posted a photo of cookies she made “in honor of Mama Cams homemade chocolate chip cookies.”

Grief counselors from the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay were at the school last week after the fire, to help students process the situation.

It is not unusual for teenagers to express their grief on social media, said Debra Harris, director of 2-1-1 and the Crisis Hotline at the center. While it might seem unusual to an older generation, social media is the communications tool of the day, she said, and grief experts encourage teens and young adults to post their feelings rather than keep their emotions a secret.

“As long as they’re sharing, they’re moving forward,” Harris said.

The students are feeling shock, anger and confusion in addition to grief for the friends they lost. As time goes on, they will begin to process those feelings and post even more, Harris said.

Photo Credit TBO.com

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