Who Is Influencing Your Kids?

Who Is Influencing Your Kids?

By Kurt Rohrs |

Do you know who is talking to your kids and what they are saying to them?

The mental health of children is one of the current hot topics in education. This is prompting a call for an army of social counselors, social workers, and child psychologists to be hired by school district administrations to address the issue.

Kids definitely appear to be more stressed now than they have been in the past. Some recent suicides by some of our students highlight the shocking and tragic consequences of this.

While hiring more mental health professionals in order to address the symptoms of student stress is one effort that is being pursued, the key question that still needs to be addressed is: what is the primary cause of this excessive stress?

At a recent conference on student mental health, I was able to ask several professionals this very question. All of them responded with the same answer: the influence of social media.

The Influence of Social Media

“Social Media Influencer” is now a lucrative profession. Professional influencers promote trends or products and can be highly compensated for their efforts. It is essentially a new advertising medium targeted at a young audience—including your kids.

But there is a darker side to social media influencing, particularly with cyberbullying or the promotion of lifestyle choices that run counter to parenting efforts. This can have a very harmful effect on impressionable young minds, sometimes with devastating consequences.

Many of these social media posts come with an overt or implied warning, “Don’t let your parents know,” which strips children of their primary protection against undesirable influences.

Some Social Media Channels

Tik Tok is a very popular social media site with wide public distribution that consists mostly of short videos, often recorded on a cell phone, that can entertain and amuse young minds. The intent is for a popular post to “go viral” and be shared by many people across the platform leading to an increase in the poster’s credibility as an influencer. But there are other postings that parents may find to be undesirable to have their children exposed to including drug and alcohol use, sexuality and sexual activity, and political extremism.

SnapChat is an app that is often used for small group text and video conversations between kids. The primary feature of this site is that messages are automatically deleted by the host server after a short period of time and can no longer be seen. This is supposed to protect someone from exposure of their malicious posts. The posts can only be preserved if someone takes a picture of the message, known as a “screenshot,” which can be saved on their phone or personal computer.

Many social media applications also have a feature that allows users to take conversations offline into private one-on-one exchanges through direct messages or texts. This is where a lot of cyberbullying occurs since it is generally out of the public spotlight.

Who Shouldn’t Be Talking to Your Kids?

Adolescents, who are often the instigators of malicious social media attacks that harm other kids, are not adults and have not yet developed the self-control necessary to avoid such transgressions. They are not fully aware of the consequences of their actions and often lash out without thinking. They need adult supervision.

Ill-intentioned adults, even some that could be considered as “predators,” find social media a useful way to communicate and mislead children into accepting narratives that normalize, enable, and encourage questionable behaviors. This process is also known as “grooming.”

There have also been reports of some educators using these social media channels to communicate directly to their students about their personal political and social opinions in order to circumvent restrictions that are imposed in the classrooms. Several of these educators have been exposed and removed from their positions.

Parents Need to Start Fighting Back

When it comes to social media, parental involvement is crucial. Parents need to be aware of who is talking to their kids and what they are saying.

The first step is to get on these social media platforms and monitor the conversations. Parents need to know what is being said to their kids and who is saying it.

The second step is to actively respond to objectionable content and discourage it. The argument that this somehow stifles “free speech” ignores the obvious fact that objecting to a public expressed opinion, particularly if it considered harmful to children, is also just as much of a free speech right. An army of concerned parents commenting on questionable posts should slow this down considerably.

Canceling the “Cancel Culture”

It can be said that “political correctness” has proceeded almost unchallenged in social media and in our classrooms. Any objection to the prevailing social narrative is often met with vigorous, and sometimes vicious, personal attacks on any courageous individuals who dares to speak up. The intent is to silence dissent and intimidate any reasonable opinions to the contrary.

This is where parents need to step up and brave the storm. They need to become active and support each other by pushing back on undesirable ideologies that are presented in social media. There are far more concerned parents out there than there are bullies and groomers. It’s time to go on offense. There should be no “safe space” for people that want to mislead your kids.

Kurt Rohrs is a candidate for the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board. You can find out more about his campaign here.

House GOP Members Get Creative On Social Media

House GOP Members Get Creative On Social Media

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona House Republicans took a novel approach to informing constituents with a new short video series, “Under the Copper Dome,” delivering information in an entertaining fashion. 

The GOP caucus’ debut two-minute clip followed Majority Whip Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City) as he reenacted discussions of HB2696, a bill increasing prison time for those who sexually abuse, smuggle, or traffic children.

The video depicted Biasiucci explaining his bill to several state representatives, including John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), who gave enthusiastic support. A group of GOP legislators walked together with Biasiucci into the Arizona State Capitol, with upbeat music playing in the background. The video concluded with Biasiucci addressing the viewers directly to discuss HB2696. He thanked Arizona law enforcement for working to end crimes against children. 

“[My bill] will bring the hammer down on these heinous crimes and ensure a safe Arizona for everyone,” said Biasiucci. “With this law, and another I sponsored last year toughening punishments for child sex traffickers, Arizona is leading the fight against trafficking and smuggling.”

The caucus’ efforts earned the approval of Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04). Gosar’s social media team puts out information with an entertainment edge, sometimes perceived by political opponents as controversial. Gosar was punished for a meme video parodying several Democratic members of Congress as villains in the intro from the cult classic anime “Attack on Titan,” with him parodied as the hero. 

The caucus drew from Gosar’s short video series, the Gosar Minute, as inspiration. One of the principal creators behind the video series, State Representative Teresa Martinez (R-Oro Valley), has served as Gosar’s Hispanic Outreach and Coalitions Director. 

Twitter shadowbanned the Gosar Minute hashtag for those with the “hide sensitive content” search filter turned on.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Attorney General Warns About Cartels Recruiting Arizona Teens

Attorney General Warns About Cartels Recruiting Arizona Teens

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a warning about cartels recruiting Arizona teens to traffic illegal immigrants across border.

The cartels recruit teenagers through social media ads. They promise to pay up to $2,000 for each illegal immigrant passenger they transport in vehicles, nicknamed “load cars,” to either Tucson or Phoenix.

Brnovich noted that his office has partnered with local, state, and federal agencies to prevent human smuggling in a task force known as “Operation Safe Streets.” At present, their task force averages two to ten load cars stopped a day. 

Additionally, Brnovich reported thousands of smugglers coming to the border. 

Load car drivers may face a slew of charges including kidnapping and unlawful fleeing. 

In March, the youngest load car driver to date was arrested in Cochise County. The 14-year-old had two illegal immigrants in his car. 

Earlier this month, Governor Doug Ducey petitioned the major social media companies — Twitter, Snap, Facebook, and Tik Tok — to take down “load driver” posts. 

“Inaction only enables cartels to victimize countless youths and families,” wrote Ducey. “Just as your companies work to protect youth from obscenity and violence on your social media platforms, it’s time to protect them from criminal solicitation as well.”

It doesn’t appear the social media giants have taken action. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Biden Administration Wants to Silence People They Don’t Agree With

Biden Administration Wants to Silence People They Don’t Agree With

By the Free Enterprise Club |

“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

Those were the words of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week, and they should send chills up and down your spine. It’s bad enough that we already have Big Tech playing speech police on a daily basis. Now, the federal government is flagging “problematic posts” FOR Facebook?!?

This is outrageous, and it’s incredibly dangerous.

The federal government is supposed to uphold the U.S. Constitution, not actively aid social media companies in censoring Americans.

But it appears this is only the beginning of their plan…