Published August 1, 2022
An elementary school in Indiana must allow a 10-year-old boy who identifies as transgender to play on its all-girls softball team despite a new state law preventing males from competing on female sports teams, a judge ruled Tuesday. This is just the most recent example of how the trans movement is affecting our kids: an elementary school’s all-girls softball team. What is behind all these stories of young children gender bending? Social media could have something to do with it.
Social media and smartphones are harmful to kids. This is increasingly recognized and reported on by the media and has become a growing area of national, bipartisan concern in Congress. And parents already seem to realize that screens are addictive for kids, so they limit screen time and put boundaries in place around when and how often they can use devices. However, many parents aren’t aware of just how full of harmful content and dangerous voices many of today’s popular apps are. Time limits won’t cut it since even a small amount of time on the wrong apps can be extremely damaging.
The truth is that social media apps today are full of pornography, sexual images, and radical LGBT content directly opposed to conservative values and Christian beliefs. Kids are following and listening to complete strangers, many of them grown adults, whose voices bombard them on social media. And some of the loudest voices recently are those of transgender influencers.
LGBT activists have taken to the online world to recruit more followers, specifically seeking young people, to join their cause and become their allies. They prey on the vulnerability of children in order to convince them of the validity and normalcy of their radical, sexually perverted lifestyles. Influencers are actively working to undermine parents’ own authority over their children and to replace the loving influence of parents in children’s lives and hearts with their own “welcoming and accepting” rainbow community.
Social media companies allow influencers to peddle misinformation on the drugs and surgeries that are commonplace for transgender individuals. Influencers coach teens on how to lie to doctors and their parents in order to get these drugs or surgeries, which they promise will make them feel better. On TikTok YouTube, influencers talk about how great they feel now that they have “transitioned.”
The message they send to youth is, “if you feel uncomfortable in your body or feel like you don’t belong, just transition your gender and it will solve all your problems.” And what young teen in the throes of navigating puberty and body changes, as well as traversing difficult social dynamics, feels comfortable in their body and confident in who they are? Teens, especially girls, are ripe for recruiting to the trans cause.
One mom whose daughter began to transition was determined to get to the bottom of it and found out teens were making fake social media accounts that appear innocuous so as not to raise any alarms with their parents. These children’s — young girls — real accounts, on the other hand, were full of strangers sending self-made masturbation videos, kids sending each other erotica, people talking with each other about which drugs do what, talking about how they were assigned a different gender than the one they identified with, and discussing “top surgery” and “packers.”
Parents are the only ones who can protect kids from trans influencers and other harmful content online. You are the ones on the frontlines, and circumstances are increasingly demanding that you “go nuclear.”
Consider completely keeping your children off of all social media until they are in their late teens. Delay social media use as long as possible. There certainly may be practical challenges to not allowing your children to have such accounts, but they should be balanced by a recognition of the enormous dangers and social pressures that are introduced by having them. At best, it is far easier to delay their introduction than it is to cancel them once introduced. In particular, TikTok has been shown to be the worst app for serving up explicit content to children unbidden.
Don’t let your children have a smartphone. The near-constant access smartphones provide to the internet is a temptation too powerful for children to have in their pockets. The good news is that there are now plenty of smartphone alternatives that still allow parents to communicate with their kids but without the unbridled internet access and social media apps that prove to be damaging to the mental health and development of children. Swapping out smartphones for a safer, alternative phone for your child is one important and effective step you can take today.
Allow only public use of the internet. Parents should only allow their children to use the internet in a common, public space in the house. Don’t let children use any devices connected to the internet in bedrooms or other private places, especially not at night. Consider having just one family computer, or tablet device, kept in the living room where you can always monitor what your children are seeing and doing. And keep all devices password-protected so that parents have to unlock them for children to use. The organization Protect Young Eyes, warns parents to protect their kids from the “toxic trio” – bedrooms, boredom, and darkness – that increases the chances for digital temptations and harm.
Lastly, consider purchasing a filter or parental control software for all family internet devices. There are several good parental control and filter software options available today that block explicit videos and images, allow parents to block certain websites and apps, manage screen time, and monitor websites, texts, and more. Given how prevalent pornography and other illicit material is online, these tools can be effective in blocking sexual and violent content from children’s view. However, be aware that filters will not catch all inappropriate material, particularly, they won’t block out LGBT content unless it is sexual or pornographic in nature.
These are just a few examples of steps parents can take now to protect their children. For more ideas on what you can do as a parent and information on practical tools available, see the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s new Technology Guide for Parents.
Many of these measures will likely sound extreme to the people around us. Even friends who are parents may think you’re being a Luddite, but it is far better to ban or delay these technologies in your home and face the challenges of battling your kids or the social snubbing of others than to embrace them and surrender your child’s soul to the voices of strangers online who do not have your child’s best interests at heart.
You are your child’s parent. Don’t abdicate your most fundamental role in their lives by being too passive and permissive about their use of social media and the internet.
Clare Morell is a Policy Analyst at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where she works on EPPC’s Big Tech Project. Prior to joining EPPC, Ms. Morell worked in both the White House Counsel’s Office and the Department of Justice, as well as in the private and non-profit sectors.
Image: Quinn Dombroski on Flikr via Creative Commons