by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The reality that the internet is a virtual Mos Eisley — “wretched hive of scum and villainy” — is why my husband and I are unashamed internet Nazis. That movie night is all our children get of screen time in a week, and usually it’s from a DVD we choose.
This stance is rare but constantly affirmed by tales such as my movie night scare and others that constantly cross my desk, this week including a Forbes article titled bluntly: “How TikTok Live Became ‘A Strip Club Filled With 15-Year-Olds.’” Noting that “Almost half of minors in the U.S. use TikTok at least once a day,” the article goes on to detail how TikTok connects children to predators, who seem to be increasing in conjunction with the Internet-enabled porn explosion. …
… Girls as young as 12 and 14 can make serious cash posing, sending pictures of their feet, and exposing their bodies for the phone camera. It’s illegal and TikTok’s statements to Forbes firmly stated the company works to stop this as soon as possible, but it’s clear that even if the company does its best it can’t whack underage livestreams fast enough to protect children without exception.
Technically, users are supposed to be 18 to send or receive money on TikTok, and at least 16 to livestream on TikTok, but everyone knows that’s a mere formality surmounted by lying about one’s age. …
… It’s also clear that most parents are oblivious to the massive harm they enable by allowing their children to access the internet unsupervised. Parents facilitate this access by buying their kids smartphones, tablets, and internet-connected gaming systems. The result is that children ages 8 to 12 use screens for entertainment for more than five hours per day. That’s 35 hours per week, almost as much as a full-time job.