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How long should we wait before posting about tragedies online?

When two Prince George teens drowned in Kwitzil Lake after a prom party this weekend, family members found out over Facebook.
Trish Howard is the aunt of Craig Wood--one of the teens who drowned.

"Family was not first notified that this had taken place until about 9 a.m. and only by piecing together Facebook posts and through contact with friends," said Trish Howard, the aunt of one of the victims.

Prince George bush party drownings - Kwitzil Lake, police search

The bodies of Kendall Moore and Craig Wood were discovered inside their vehicle after it was pulled from the water following a lakeside party near Prince George, B.C. (CBC)

"No family should have to find out they lost a loved one by reading a posting on Facebook. That is another part of the tragedy."

However, some of the teenagers who were putting the information on social media were not aware the families had not been notified.

Caitlin Lloyd found out about the deaths from her home on Sunday. She says it seemed natural to go online to express her condolences.

"I don't think anyone of us knew the parents were unaware until later on," she says. "But I think just a short message about feeling sorry for the loss and I thought the best I could do was just a note, a short message, and I think that's what everyone else was thinking as well."

Krista Levar is the RCMP Victim Services Coordinator. She says she understands the desire for young people to reach out online, but asks they think about the bigger picture before doing so.

"It would have been a good idea to wait," she told CBC.

She also points out that police need to make sure information is correct before notifying families.

"If you're going to tell someone that someone they love has died, that somebody's child is dead, you want to be 100% sure you're not telling the wrong people."

Listen to the full interview with Levar below:

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