Friday, July 15, 2022

TikTok--A Threat to Every American User

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Consumers around the world spend an average of 463 minutes or over 7.5 hours per day with media. American consumers tend to average more time than most, as media is a major part of their daily lives. Although the ways in which media is consumed are changing, Americans still spend around 347 minutes per day with traditional media, along with 470 minutes of digital media.

What are we consuming during those 13.61 hours every day? 

Remember; Garbage in--Garbage out.

Be informed, not misled.

American adults, 18 and over, are spending 13.61 hours per day consuming some form of media. I would like to think it's all listening to Christian radio. But it isn't.

We are listening to both traditional TV and radio, we are on websites streaming movies and music, and we're on social media sites, which in some cases dominate most of the 13.61 hours per day of media consumption.

Studies show that in 2010, 51% of males and 56% of females aged between 16 - 24 had created at least one social media account. In comparison, in 2019, 78% of males and 86% of females of the same age had a social media profile. The growth in these percentages demonstrates the younger generations' reliance on social media, a media that has become a staple in everyday life.

In America, users of Facebook spend 58 minutes per day (325 hours per year) on the platform, while users of Instagram spend 53 minutes per day (297 hours per year).

Studies show that the Gen Z generation is gravitating towards apps like Instagram and TikTok, as they allow them to be more creative and express themselves. Facebook is often seen as the place you’ll find your parents.

We could talk about the wasted time spent on media that is non-productive in the Christian life, clearly, that's the case. 

But I want to focus on one specific media platform---TikTok, a Chinese-owned site that poses a threat to every American user, according to Brendan Carr, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.

TikTok is not what it appears to be.

It is the fastest-growing site in the world at this time. It attracts mostly kids. Millions of kids.

Carr says, "A lot of people view the Chinese app TikTok as a platform for sharing funny videos, but it poses a data security risk." 

He says, “They just see TikTok for what it appears to be on the surface, but that’s just the sheep’s clothing. If you look beneath it, there’s an awful lot of data that’s being pulled from your device, and apparently sent back to China. Underneath that, it’s pulling biometrics, including face prints and voice prints, keystroke patterns and rhythms, search and browsing history, location information.”

Carr referred to a June BuzzFeed report based on leaked audio from 80 TikTok internal meetings that revealed that engineers in China had repeatedly accessed U.S. data. U.S. user data flowing back to the Chinese regime is concerning, according to the commissioner.

Carr says, “Once data hits China, they have a national security law there that compels all of those entities there to assist them in espionage activity."

While the Chinese regime repeatedly denies that the "Communist Party" can access users' data, it's well known that China runs the world's most sophisticated data analytics operation---meaning that all sorts of nefarious conduct can and probably is taking place as we speak.

The Chinese Communist Party has a history of business and industrial espionage and blackmail.

Carr says, "Engineers in Beijing are working on the algorithms very actively...deciding what is displayed to users in the US and globally. Whether it's a foreign influence campaign or other content, it's noteworthy that China does not allow TikTok inside of China, yet they allow these kinds of influence campaigns to take place globally."

Senators Mark Warner (D-Va) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are urging the Federal Trade Commission to formally investigate the relationship between the Chinese regime and TikTok's owner in Beijing.

TikTok has become known for its role in promoting bad behavior.

James Loy, College of Education, Health and Society at Miami University in Ohio is one of many educators that are addressing this issue in their school.

He recently published this:

McGuffey Hall, home of the College of Education, Health and Society.

A rise in destructive student behaviors encouraged by social media trends on platforms such as TikTok are occurring in many school districts. In recent weeks, the "devious licks" trend has resulted in criminal activities such as stolen soap dispensers, smashed bathroom equipment, vandalized walls, and more. Similarly, the recent announcement of the "slap your teacher" challenge has raised additional concerns. Miami University College of Education, Health and Society educational leadership faculty and experts are available to help schools address these and related issues.

TikTok is a threat to your children and a national threat to our country. As the Apostle Paul would likely say: "From such turn away."


Do you know how much time your child or grandchild is spending in front of the screen? You should look into it---and into what he or she is looking at.

Do you know how much time you are spending consuming media data? 

I would suggest you check out your own kids or grandkids. See how they're spending their time. Then take an honest look at yourself.

I am not suggesting all media is bad. It isn't. But evaluate the kinds of influences you are exposing yourself to. And ask yourself, "Does it uplift me in my walk with Christ, or is it disturbing and depressing? Does it create anxiety or peace? Is it secular, or is it Christian in nature? Does it create thoughts and emotions that glorify God?

On the media you find to be non-productive to your Christian life, throw the switch. Pull the plug.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.