Ready for the new kind of talk you will be having with your kids?
Forget about guiding your children through the adversity of adolescence, this conversation will be a lot more painful. As a society, we have reached the point where we have to go beyond ‘educating’ or helping ‘navigate’ our young people through social media.
Kids these days already know not to meet up with online strangers in real life. They know not to share private information like home addresses etc. The problem is greater than that – and far more sinister.
Aggressive political messaging, unachievable beauty standards, and grotesque comedic illiteracy are just some of the key content you will see on social media sites in 2022.
You’ve got to give it to Gen Z. They aren’t stupid – they’ve just been heavily manipulated.
With my own experience using social media at age eighteen, I can stand by that statement as fact. I’ve seen social media facilitate a kind of downfall in the people around me. Once headstrong individuals are frequently and ineloquently collapsing under the unreasonable standards placed on them through digital media – a psychological programming of sorts.
Social media never used to be like this.
Yes, I have grown up with online platforms, but not in the same way as Gen Z.
The other day I was with a four-year-old, nine-year-old, and eleven-year-old. It was fascinating listening to the conversations of those half a generation behind me. However, my fascination rapidly turned to heartfelt concern when I heard the four-year-old busting out inappropriate TikTok material.
Four years old.
This young age is a fundamental stage in our pre-primary education where we learn best by repetition. The content shared on these sites repeat keywords and phrases in an uncomplicated tactic to condition young people into thinking that a warped, progressive outlook on the world is a societal norm.
This constant bombardment makes topics such as the patriarchy, fear of climate catastrophe, gender inequality, and why men should wear nail polish seem like issues the great majority of citizens are concerned about.
Heads up, most people don’t give a toss.
But youth are at the short end of the stick. Without formative education or life experience, they lack the skills needed to evaluate these different perspectives. This then becomes a dangerous game where the ill-informed grow up to classify themselves as the ‘informed’ with little to no historical understanding behind their fundamental philosophies.
Times are changing, and having our kids exposed to more technology is an unavoidable situation. The issue remains that there is some content on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook which, as an eighteen-year-old, I find disturbing and have to switch off from.
How easy is it to be sucked down a rabbit hole of similar media after watching a couple of videos of one topic? Social media algorithms ensure it. These platforms aim to target their insecure consumers and this tactic will always be successful.
Being a female, one of the main reasons I have switched off or ‘detoxified’ my social accounts is because of the unrealistic and unachievable standards set out for women. There is this kind of glorification for disordered eating and weight loss. The amount of advertising that comes along my feed for diet pills (aka appetite suppressants), waist trainers, plastic surgeons, fillers and the whole lot is shocking.
Then there are the deceptive posts from ‘influencers’ [semi-famous people paid to promote products online] who Photoshop every crevice of their images. Now, could you envision a four-year-old consuming the same content? Imagine how messed up her head will be by the time she is my age if there is no kind of intervention…
If this isn’t addressed, the mental health implications for the next generation will be phenomenal.
And then there is the downright dirty left-wing indoctrination. Politically progressive messaging is rampant on social media. This content is then regurgitated in the classroom where those who disagree are inadvertently ‘out-stared’ by their indoctrinated peers.
Labor MP’s form a small group of left-wing political users on social media that are using their exposure to further influence young people’s political standpoints. It’s much easier for Daniel Andrews to relate with a sixteen-year-old by poking fun at other politicians than to ethically connect with them on policy grounds.
It goes further than this.
Instagram and Facebook are major culprits when it comes to silencing conservative users. Whether it be through ‘fact-checking’, putting warnings on messages, or threatening to disable accounts – the result is an imbalance between political content online. It happens to me all the time, even in private messages. Social media monitors and manipulates everything published on their platforms.
And our education sector fails to inform students on how to navigate this new kind of medium. Left-wing sympathising teachers, who would love nothing more than conservative students to be shut down and shunned, make no attempt to alert children to the problem.
I didn’t realise how far the tentacles had reached until the eleven-year-old in that group of kids told me how she slammed a male peer for commenting on something she was wearing because she could ‘rock both genders’ and he couldn’t.
At that age I would not have had the slightest clue what she was talking about. By listening to children, you can tell how successfully marketed these heavily manufactured phrases have been. They are not organically concocted out of some kind of ‘gender enlightened’ pre-teen.
Our poor youth have no idea what they are regurgitating or the implications of repeating this nonsense. They have no idea they are contributing to a much larger societal issue and powerful political movements.
I believe this is the beginning of the end for Gen Z. It’s obvious education has proved to be a fragile institution, heavily moulded to the hands of extremist progressive ideology. This historical degradation has been occurring for decades. Now we are at a tipping point. How are our youth going to establish a viewpoint on contentious issues if their only source of information comes from a few random ‘users’ spouting factually unsubstantiated spin?
What many often forget is that these young people are the ones that are going to be at the ballot box this year. And after two years in isolation, I certainly do not want some green-haired, progressive Gen Z, Covid-worrier entering the ballot box to worship Dictator Dan (their saviour) and reimpose lockdowns (for their emotional ‘protection’).
In my own belief, rehabilitating my generation from prolonged exposure to damaging social media content is long gone. Instead, we have to focus on the next generation of young people. They must be our priority.
Adults need to understand that social media’s culture has changed from keeping family and friends close together through ‘updates’ and sharing photos, into the politically intense world of woke extremism and political recruitment.
It’s all about cash and clicks.
We can’t rely on external forces, and certainly not social media companies, to take action against the kind of detrimental content being exposed to our youth. Parents need to take the reins on this one. Scheduling ‘social-media free’ hours or days gives kids time to unplug and reconnect with reality. I do this myself as it allows me to get things done and prioritise what matters to me.
But most importantly, parents need to educate their children on how to manage usage social media and understand that most things they will witness are fake or untrue.
It’s too late for the Millennials, but parents can save Gen Z from making the same mistakes we have.
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