A recent report from Thorn found that 14 percent of 9 to 12-year-olds had shared explicit images of themselves in 2020 and 21 percent said it was normal for kids their age to do so. Nearly one in five teens had shared sexually explicit images of themselves. Thorn’s report also found a rise in children using secondary accounts to avoid online supervision. In 2020, 25 percent of 9-12-year-olds surveyed said that they were using at least one secondary account and 73 percent said they would prefer not to say. This lack of supervision leaves kids vulnerable to online predators and exposure to explicit content. Of the minors who reported that they had shared sexually explicit images of themselves, half said that they had shared those images with someone they had never met in real life, and over 40 percent reported having shared the images with someone over the age of 18.
As shocking as this is, it is sadly not surprising given the rise in pornography use across all age groups and the increasingly violent and exploitative nature of that content. According to Fight the New Drug, “teen” was one of the most popular search terms on one of the largest pornography platforms for five years running. When fantasizing about sexual exploitation becomes accepted as “normal,” real-life exploitation increases, which is exactly what is happening with the growing number of children sharing self-generated child sexual abuse material.
An important thing to realize when considering this trend is that children are listening to what the culture around them says about sexuality. When “sexting” is treated as normal, healthy, and “empowering,” it is hardly surprising that kids imitate this behavior. People deserve to be treated with more dignity than that and young people need to know that their bodies and God-given sexuality are good and beautiful — and what is good and beautiful should be valued and protected, not flippantly distributed on the internet.
To address this, families need to be intentional about how they approach technology, recognizing how the design of a device may encourage isolation, making sure that young children do not have unfettered and unsupervised access to the internet, and helping teens establish healthy boundaries and accountability around devices. Parents need to make sure that they are aware of their children’s online activities and how that may be affecting them, and they also need to make sure that their own habits around technology set a healthy example for their kids.
Many adolescents have expressed that they wish their parents had more rules about screen use. This is imperative, not because we don’t want to treat teens as emerging adults but because we recognize that, as emerging adults, they need to develop habits of discipline. Moreover, preventing kids from interacting with strangers on the internet and sending explicit images is just as important as helping them understand that they shouldn’t get in a car with a stranger or that there are certain places where no one should ever touch them.
Because children are valuable their bodies, hearts, and minds should be protected. Part of protecting children’s bodies, hearts, and minds is helping them safely navigate the digital landscape, including setting boundaries on how much time they spend in front of screens and what online activities they engage in. Children deserve not to be exposed to sexual content online or in person. They deserve to be taught that their bodies matter and should be treated as valuable. And they deserve to know that their hearts are precious and that they matter to the adults in their lives – and that those adults will work to protect them from harm.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ~ Voltaire
School administrators and board members terrified of expensive lawsuits are capitulating to the demands of “gender”-confused adolescents. Parents are capitulating to the disordered thinking of their children, terrified that if they don’t, their children will commit suicide. Their fears are stoked by a deeply flawed study that is grossly misunderstood.
1.) No one knows what causes gender dysphoria. While some subscribe to “brain sex” theories of causation (for which there is no proof) or believe that intrauterine hormone exposure causes the development of gender dysphoria, there are other possibilities, including pubertal changes (e.g., early breast development in girls can lead to unwanted male attention that results in girls feeling uncomfortable with their female bodies); autism; sexual abuse; childhood trauma ; family dysfunction; and excessively rigid gender roles. Moreover, even a discovery that biochemical factors influence the development of feelings about gender would not mean that chemical and surgical treatments are appropriate responses to gender dysphoria.
2.) Gender dysphoria can diminish, resolve, or be treated in less drastic ways than the “trans”-affirming protocol that involves chemical and surgical interventions for a non-medical problem (i.e., puberty is not a medical problem). The best research to date suggests that upwards of 80% of gender-dysphoric children will “desist,” that is, their gender dysphoria will resolve and they will accept their bodies, unless their rejection of their natal sex is affirmed by their environment.
3.) There’s been an explosion in the numbers of children and teens identifying as “transgender,” including teens who never before exhibited signs of gender dysphoria. This latter phenomenon, which affects primarily teen girls, has been called “rapid onset gender dysphoria.” Some parents are reporting that their children have several friends who identify as “trans,” and some are reporting that their children self-diagnosed after spending time on the Internet where they encountered videos or chat rooms in which young people describe their gender dysphoria or “trans” identity. Many believe the dramatic increase in this profoundly unnatural phenomenon results from “social contagion,” which tends to affect adolescents much more than adults.
4.) The medical community admits it has no idea whether pathologizing healthy sexual development and setting children and teens on a path of lifetime risky medical treatments will help them, and they have no idea if these children will grow up to regret their “transitions.”
5.) Gatekeeping is lax. Gatekeeping is the process that determines who accesses “trans”-affirming medical treatment like prescriptions for cross-sex hormones. Parents and former “trans”-identified men and women criticize the mental health community for failing to take adequate medical and mental health histories of new patients that might reveal “co-morbidities” (i.e., the simultaneous presence of more than one chronic disease or condition in a patient) prior to prescribing cross-sex hormones or making surgery referrals. Some young gender-dysphoria sufferers are able to get prescriptions for opposite-sex hormones after just a couple of visits with a doctor. Worse, the pressure is mounting from the “trans” cult to eliminate gatekeeping entirely, even for minors.
6.) Puberty-blockers carry serious known health risks, and long-term effects are unknown. Kaiser Health News recently wrote about one of the primary puberty blockers administered to gender-dysphoric children: Lupron. Lupron is thought to cause osteopenia (bone-thinning), osteoporosis (bone loss), degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, and depression. Due to the number and nature of complaints received, the FDA is now reviewing the safety of Lupron.
7.) “Progressives” argue that the effects of puberty blockers are reversible and merely buy gender-dysphoric children time to figure out their “gender identity.” What they don’t share is that the vast majority of children who take puberty blockers move on to cross-sex hormones. In contrast, as mentioned earlier, upwards of 80% of gender-dysphoric children who do not take puberty blockers or socially transition eventually accept their sex. Preventing the process of puberty to proceed naturally not only interferes with the biological and anatomical development of children but also changes he social experiences that attend puberty.
8.) Cross-sex hormones are risky and lifetime effects unknown. Voice changes, sterility, and hair growth patterns (including male pattern baldness in women who take testosterone) are irreversible. Side effects and long-term health risks for women who take testosterone include a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL), an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL), an increase in blood pressure, a decrease in the body’s sensitivity to insulin, weight gain, possible increase in risk of heart disease (including heart attack), stroke, and diabetes. The side effects and long-term health risks for men who take estrogen include liver damage and disease, blood clots, stroke, diabetes, gall stones, heart disease, prolactinoma (a cancer of the pituitary gland that can, in turn, damage vision), nausea, and migraines.
9.) Many gender-dysphoric girls bind their breasts much like Chinese women used to bind their feet. “Chest-binding” carries serious health risks including compressed ribs, which can cause blood flow problems and increase the risk of developing blood clots. Over time, this can lead to inflamed ribs (costochondritis) and even heart attacks due to decreased blood flow to the heart, fractured ribs that can lead to punctured and collapsed lungs, and back problems.
10.) Boys under 18 can have vaginoplasty in which they are castrated and the skin from their penises and scrotums used to fashion the likeness of a vagina and labia. A surgeon, in effect, turns a boy’s penis inside out, with the outside skin of the penis becoming the lining of the “neovagina.” Alternatively, boys can have “intestinal” or “sigmoid colon” vaginoplasty, which uses part of their intestines to construct “neovaginas.” A 2015 study showed that between 12-43% of patients who had vaginoplasty experienced “neovaginal” narrowing, and 33% experienced “changes in urine stream and heightened risk of urethral infection.”
Bottom surgery for girls who pretend to be boys is more complicated and has less satisfactory results. It first requires a hysterectomy followed several months later by phalloplasty which requires skin grafts taken from the forearm or thigh to create a penis that has no capacity for producing an erection. Therefore, patients who want to have intercourse will need penile implants, the most common of which requires the most skill to use, has the highest complication rate (50% must be removed due to complications), and must be replaced every 3-15 years.
12.) There is a growing “detransitioning” movement. Detransitioners are men and women of diverse ages who regret having taken cross-sex hormones and amputated healthy body parts. Many have come to understand the cause or causes of their gender dysphoria and feel sorrow over the irreversible damage they have done to their bodies. Their stories, easily available online, are painful to hear.
13.) Research into gender reversal transitions is stymied by political pressure from “trans” activists.
“The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so…. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.
In teen’s brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing—and not necessarily at the same rate. That’s why when teens experience overwhelming emotional input, they can’t explain later what they were thinking. They weren’t thinking as much as they were feeling.”
Culture is providing a lens through which young people with still developing brains interpret their experiences of discomfort with their bodies. This lens is distorting common, usually transient experiences.
As months and years pass, more men and women will tell their stories of anger and sorrow at being deluded and betrayed as children by ignorant and cowardly adults—some of whom cared more about lawsuits than about children.
So, when your school administration and board decide to allow objectively male students into girls’ private spaces or vice versa, ask them if they will accept some measure of responsibility for facilitating confusion and error when ten or twenty years from now, the “trans” ideology is exposed as one of the great pseudo-scientific errors in American history along with Freud’s theories of psychosexual development, false memory syndrome, and lobotomies.
For more information about detransitioning, watch these Youtube video clips:
A survey finds that younger people have the most trouble putting their devices down.
By Sarah D. Young
For most people, a digital device is never too far out of reach. And between text message alerts and constantly changing social media feeds, technology begs to be paid attention to.
For some, the desire to dip into the digital world can spiral into an unhealthy relationship with technology, and some age groups may have a more difficult time unplugging than others.
Findings from a new survey conducted by global research experts, GfK, show that teenagers and higher-income households are most susceptible to technology addiction. Younger age groups, the study found, tend to have the most trouble taking a break from technology.
Teenagers most susceptible
Nearly half of 15- to 19-year-olds (44 percent) surveyed agreed with the statement, “I find it difficult to take a tech break, even when I know I should.”
Slightly fewer twenty-somethings (41 percent) agreed that they struggle to take a break from technology (their mobile device, computer, TV, etc).
The percentage of respondents who admitted they struggle to put down their device dropped to 38% for those in their thirties and dropped even more for the older age groups — 29 percent of those in their forties and 23 percent for those in their fifties. Just 15 percent of people aged 60 and over said that they had a problem turning off their technology.
Differences across incomes
Additional findings from the study suggested that members of high-income households are the most likely of all income brackets to find it difficult to take a break from technology.
According to the report, 39 percent of people living in high-income households find it difficult to take a break from technology even when they know they should; 30 percent of low-income households said they grappled with the same dilemma.
Overall, one in three people who responded to the online survey of 17 countries said they find it difficult to unplug, even temporarily.
Dealing with internet addiction
Although it’s not officially recognized as a disorder in the latest edition of the DSM, technology addiction (also called internet addiction) has been on the radar of health professionals for some time.
The results of a 2006 phone survey conducted by Stanford University researchers showed that one out of eight Americans have at least one possible sign of problematic internet use.
Some experts say people who use their phones or browse the internet for many hours a day experience a “high” similar to addiction and feel withdrawal when cut off.
When excessive internet use begins to adversely affect a user’s mental and physical health, daily life, relationships, and academic or job performance, it may be time to seek help.
While only a professional can diagnosis an internet addiction, this online screening tool can help you find out if you have an unhealthy relationship with the internet.
“I recently spoke to a university faculty member who told me a student just chewed her out because she “sucks” as a teacher. When the professor inquired as to why the student felt she was inadequate, the student was unprepared to answer. After stumbling over his words, the sophomore replied, “Because you gave me a bad grade after I tried really hard.”
Universities are now reaping the consequences of thirty years of misguided parenting styles.
At the risk of sounding as if I am stereotyping, let’s look at the meta-narrative. Too many parents delivered the following sentiments to their children growing up:
“You are special and deserve special treatment.”
“If you participate, that’s all that matters.”
“You don’t need to let others influence you.”
“You deserve the best because you are the best.”
As a parent and a teacher, I believe there is a kernel of truth in each of these statements. Every kid is, indeed, special. Participation is important. Kids need to embrace their own views and they can, indeed, be the best at what they do.
But these are partial truths that lead them to poor conclusions.
Kids should not expect special treatment
Employers will expect much more on the job than participation
Others do play a role in our viewpoints and have an opinion that matters
And most are not automatically the “best” on a project, compared to others
These incomplete perceptions have wreaked havoc on a generation of students and they are causing angst in the aftermath. When something goes wrong, some kids go ballistic. Students actually NEED the input of adults other than their parents.
I had a respected educator email me recently with a request. He said:
“One area I would like you to address more specifically is student discontent and the behavior that is sparked when things ‘go wrong’ for them. When they are mistreated (bullied by professors or coaches), I can understand they need to respond. But, when they ‘perceive’ they are mistreated, they will lash out to ‘hurt’ the people or parties they feel are responsible. I have come to interpret that ‘lashing out’ as a way to get revenge, in order to ‘feel better’ about themselves.”
He then offered two examples of this scenario:
“Two students compare grades on a paper in English. One gets a B and one gets a D. Explanatory notes are written on each paper explaining the points taken off (but also points of merit) that explained the grade. The student with the D goes into a rage of sorts and starts trashing the professor through Social Media. This includes making remarks that are irrelevant to the paper and corresponding grade.”
“A basketball player gets upset over playing time. When the coaches explain why AND what that player can do in an effort to get more playing time; the player equates effort with promotion. So, after he/she works harder in an effort to get better, the player expects to play more whether he/she actually got better or not. Plus, he/she looks at the player ahead of him/her getting more playing time and comes up with a variety of criticisms against that player.”
“I have seen this happen multiple times over the last two years and have struggled with coming up with effective ways of dealing with it.”
Three Steps We Can Take to Help Students’ Perceptions
1. Explain the difference between reacting and responding.
Students who receive a poor grade or evaluation have a weapon they’re often unready to handle well: social media. They can “vent” at a teacher or coach who gives them a poor assessment and fail to see what’s happening. Emotion usually follows a negative evaluation immediately. Logic comes along later. As teachers and leaders, we must remember these truths when it comes to our students:
Sometimes people feel guilty—because they are guilty.
Sometimes coaches don’t give more playing time—because a player is untalented.
Sometimes students feel like their work is a failure—because they actually failed.
And usually they’ll vent at your feedback before they benefit from your feedback. The best leaders don’t try to remove their guilt if they’re guilty. Nor, tell an athlete they are awesome, if they are not. Or, inflate a failing grade a student earned.
When students want to react, expressing the negative emotions they feel, that is one thing. They’ll never improve, however, until they learn to respond to an evaluation. Reacting is about emotion. Responding is about logic. This means welcoming a third party to help them see an issue objectively. Once the student matures past venting, we can ask them for a logical reason why their paper deserved a better grade or their talent deserved more time on the field. Logic requires rationale, not emotion.
When students are guilty of something, don’t tell them they’re not. If students fail at a paper, don’t lie to them and tell them it was good. We can offer compassionate feedback that is logical in order to help them think logically. The best time to bring this up is at the beginning of a year, before anyone can take it as a personal vendetta.
2. Help them separate performance from performer.
We must enable students to separate who they are (as the performer) and what they did in their recent performance. A failed assignment does not mean the student is a failure. Failure is not a person. It’s an experience that can change. Martin Luther King, Jr. received a C- in public speaking while in college. His skill simply needed to improve. Thomas Edison was asked by his teacher to not return to school as a student. He had to learn on his own. And he did. Too many American kids have grown up ill-equipped to handle negative feedback. This is criminal on the part of the adults who raised them. We must teach them to seek growth, not affirmation. Affirmation usually follows growth quite naturally.
This is a vital step our young must learn to take to help them grow. We must relay to them that we believe in them and their ability, but that their recent work did not reflect their potential. It’s actually a compliment. We are saying to them:
“You are better than this.”
“I have high expectations of you.”
“These critical comments are because I believe you’re capable of more.”
“And because I believe in you, I refuse to dilute the standard due to a bad performance.”
Once again, the answer is not to dilute the truth. A truthful response, communicated with empathy and concern is what enables them to mature.
Far too many young adults are unable to separate “performance” from “performer” and hence, they take every comment personally—as if it is a personal attack on them. We must enable them to get past this or they’ll never be able to keep a job or keep a relationship in tact.
3. Play a game with them called: What’s it like to be on the other side of me?
Too many students (and adults for that matter) struggle with self-awareness. I believe becoming self-aware is step one on the leadership journey. So why not sit down with your upset student and play this little game where both of you relay to the other what it feels like to be on the receiving end of their communication and style? My friend Jeff Henderson calls this game: “What’s it like to be—on the other side of me?” It’s a brilliant set up for honest conversations where I can both listen to my students assess my style, but also share with them how they’re being received by others. Once I have conveyed my evaluation, I will often say: “I’m pretty sure you don’t mean to come across this way.”
I received a phone call from a former intern, who I let go before her internship was over. It was hard for both of us. The phone call, however, was a positive reflection of her time with us. She left angry but was now grateful. We had both shared “what’s it like to be on the other side of me.” To put it simply, it was eye-opening for her. This young woman called to thank me for being honest, and for turning her “misperceptions into meaningful perspective.”
I believe that’s one of the leader’s primary jobs.”
“The rise of smartphones has allowed consumers to multitask and get more things done than ever before, but researchers state that it has led to greater distractibility amongst young people.
In a recent study, scientists from the University of Helsinki tested participants between the ages of 13 and 24 on their ability to perform working memory and attention tasks. They found that this younger generation had trouble filtering out disturbances and sticking to the task at hand.
“[Participants] had a harder time filtering out distractive stimuli. This was also seen as higher activity in regions of the frontal lobe, which can be a sign of excessive strain,” said lead researcher Mona Moisala.
Competing for resources
The researchers theorized that young people who extensively use multiple types of media use brain resources differently than other people. To test this, they monitored participants’ brain activity through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as they attempted to complete a task that required listening and reading.
The participants in the study were selected, at least partially, due to their extensive use of several types of media; the findings showed that those who had the most trouble during the task also had the most competition for neural resources in relevant brain areas. This, the researchers say, is a major limiting factor that could help explain the poor performances.
Moisala says that the study findings could go a long way towards understanding how screen time affects young people. She states that additional studies could help reveal how technology affects the developing brain and how negative outcomes could be avoided.
“Taken together, the results from these studies are of great importance, since it is vital to understand how the increasing amount of on-screen time might affect or interact with the cognitive and brain functioning of the current youth,” she said.
“From “TMRW” and “WYCM” to “vamping” and “vlogging,” the current digital lingo resembles that of an encrypted secret language — a secret code only known to those still waiting for their driver’s licenses. Students are coming up with clever, short, and to-the-point phrases that can make communication quicker and in many ways more interesting. But some of this lingo warrants a second look.
For those of us looking to keep a pulse on what our students are talking — or texting — about, first we need to know how to decode their shorthand. Our Digital Glossary gives parents and teachers a window into the world of kids’ digital lingo.
We’ve highlighted a few popular terms from our glossary to give you a leg up on cracking the code.
“Dox” is short for “dropping documents.” The term is used when someone maliciously reveals someone else’s personal information such as address, phone number, or private social media username on a public site or forum.
Among kids, doxxing might be done in revenge when a romantic relationship ends. The vigilante hacker group Anonymous has been known to dox people to draw attention to an issue.
Similar to doxxing, swatting has the potential for some serious consequences. The term refers to a particular type of prank, which involves calling in fake police tips in an attempt to send a SWAT team to an individual’s home.
The term gained some serious attention when a Canadian teenager pleaded guilty to 23 charges related to an international binge of hacking, pranking, and harassment including swatting and doxxing unsuspecting victims. The teenager’s rampage led to a Florida school lockdown and even caused part of Disneyland to temporarily shut down.
PIR and POS
Two acronyms used to indicate when an adult is present. “PIR” stands for “parent in the room”; “POS” indicates “parent over shoulder.”
Can anyone guess what TIR stands for? (Hint: Not parent in the room, but __ in the room.)
BAE and FTW
Not all kids’ lingo is worthy of concern. “BAE” stands for “before anyone else.” It’s used across the Internet as a term of affection for a significant other or crush. “FTW” stands for “for the win.” For example, on a photograph of a friend wearing a purple jumpsuit, another teen may comment, “Purple jumpsuits FTW!” The acronym can be used seriously or sarcastically.
Still trying to figure out what “on fleek” means? Don’t worry if you don’t know this term. It seems the world doesn’t really understand it, either, yet people continue to use it. It’s essentially a synonym for the phrase “on point,” and it originated in a Vine video by a user known as Peaches Monroee, wherein she refers to her eyebrows as being “on fleek.” Now, rapper B.o.B has released a song called “Fleek,” and popular celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj have posted on social media with the popular caption.
What a profound honor, privilege, & grace in this life, to be entrusted, even momentarily, with the temporary care, safety, and education of other peoples' children. "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." -John Dewey, "Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought." -Napoleon Hill, "What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the [individual] who instructs the rising generation." -Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Divinatione