Wednesday, February 01, 2023

US Surgeon General: "Keep Kids Off Social Media"

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The U.S. Surgeon General has suggested a social media age limit and health officials are now urging parents to keep young kids and teens off the apps.

Here's why.

Be informed, not misled.

The Bible instructs parents to "train up a child in the way he should go."

Unfortunately, our culture has created a number of surrogates to displace parents in the "training up" of kids. 

For example, the entertainment industry has chosen to lead kids down the rainbow path to the LGBTQ worldview, which even claims that God makes mistakes in the creation of children---"sometimes boys are born in girl's bodies" and vise-a-versa. 

Disney has led that parade---at great cost to both kids and Disney stockholders. 

But perhaps the most powerfully destructive and invasive surrogates is social media.  

Social media creates a deadly illusion of reality.

Social Media Age Limits. 

Parents and lawmakers are trying to crack down on the use of these platforms but experts point out that there are unique challenges in the legal fight ahead.

“Most of their friends, most of their peers, they live in a TikTok world, they live in an Instagram world,” dad Peter Mutabazi said. “How can I navigate teaching them to be wise in what they’re doing?”

A growing number of parents are concerned about their children’s social media use and now, top health officials are taking a position on when they should be exposed.

A new study shows that a lot of time on social media could be changing how adolescent brains develop. Researchers looking at the relationship between use and other mental health challenges among youth.

Several social media platforms require users to be at least 13 to use their platforms but it's something that's hard to verify.

A 6-year-old can put in and say they’re 14 years old. 

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says, "I — personally, based on the data I've seen— believe that 13 is too early." 

"If parents can band together and say you know, as a group, we're not going to allow our kids to use social media until 16 or 17 or 18 or whatever age they choose, that's a much more effective strategy in making sure your kids don't get exposed to harm early,” Murthy said.

More than a thousand families are suing social media companies, claiming that the platforms are negatively impacting their children’s mental health.

TikTok is the most destructive.

Despite TikTok's claims of instituting youth well-being policies and bolstering it's Digital Wellness Hub, two lawsuits are renewing concerns about what some call inappropriate and sometimes potentially dangerous content displayed to minors using the app. 

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita accused the Chinese-owned media platform of deceiving its users with a major focus on how the app targets children. The AG claims the app's algorithm is designed to make it addictive and that once kids are hooked, it promotes material that is not age-appropriate.

The court documents specifically mention content about hallucinogenic drugs, how to make alcohol taste like candy, and videos of strippers, which the state says is a direct violation of TikTok's "12+" on the Apple App Store and a “T” for “Teen” rating in the Google Play Store and the Microsoft Store. In order to hold that status, an app should be able to prove that references to things like alcohol, drugs, and sexual content are “infrequent and mild.”

"Once on the platform, many children are exposed to non-stop offerings of inappropriate content that TikTok’s algorithm force-feeds to them. The resulting harm to young people, and society writ large, has been devastating," the first lawsuit reads.

The second lawsuit says the company is misleading its users when it comes to personal data and that the app does not disclose how much of your information it has access to.

The company did not specifically comment on the brewing legal battle, but released a statement saying "the safety, privacy and security of our community is our top priority. We build youth well-being into our policies, limit features by age, and empower parents with tools and resources," the company added, saying they also invest in new ways to keep the platform age-appropriate.

That is a lie.

In its lawsuits, Indiana is seeking up to $5,000 per violation as well as changes to TikTok’s policies.

A recent lawsuit filed against TikTok says the company isn't doing enough to stop the "Blackout Challenge,” a trend that encourages people to use belts, ropes, or a similar item to choke themselves until they pass out.

Two families filed a lawsuit after their children died, placing the blame squarely on the app. Eight-year-old Lalani Erika Walton never made it to see her 9th birthday and 9-year-old Arriani Jaileen Arroyo wouldn't see 10.

The suit says both "died from strangulation" after attempting the blackout challenge, which encourages users to choke themselves, and TikTok is named in it.

A TikTok spokesperson told the Washington Post that "the “disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend."

Chicago-based trial attorney Karen Conti says these platforms may invoke 230.

That provision---230---says that platforms are immune under the idea that they're really just a billboard and that they're posting things that other people are saying but in this case, the allegations are more than just posting — they have algorithms on these platforms that guide people to certain content,” Conti said.

Parents in cities across the globe say their kids died after doing the blackout challenge, including children in Italy and Australia.

TikTok is feeding personal information to the Chinese Communist Party.

The Indiana lawsuit claims, “The Chinese Government and Communist Party have a demonstrated interest in the kind of data that TikTok collects on its users, which they can use to spy on, blackmail, and coerce those users,” it continues, further claiming the company deceives people about how much data is collected.

I'm sure the CCP is more than happy to puruse the data TikTok gathers.


A 17-year-old podcast producer who was addicted to endless scrolling on social media said his health and life dramatically improved when he quit it all in a digital detox.

Ilias Michael, from Lostwithiel, Cornwall, a county in England’s rugged Southwestern tip, said combining it with meditation has helped with ADHD and improved his mental health.

There is a better way than simply emptying your mind. That too is often destructive.

God says we are to meditate on His Word day and night.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6:

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

The "training" is primarily based on teaching your child the Word of God. The Bible. 

Deuteronomy 6:7 says of Scripture:

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.d the Word of God. Scripture.

The following verses direct the parent to be authentic in their faith---not perfect, but authentic. Live a lifestyle that reflects the Christian faith you claim to believe.

Proverbs 29:17 says:

"Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." Explain the dangers and why you are helping the child withdraw or reduce the time spent on social media.

Always remember Psalms 127:3-5 - 

"Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

Don't let the enemy steal your child. Social media is nothing more than an illusion of reality.

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