STOP THE MANIPULATORS
(from destroying your kids)
Ps. 1:1 AMPC
Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. – God
1 Peter 5:8 NLT
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. – God
I humbly ask you today to listen very carefully to what I have to share with you. Please read this article with great care, including each of the quotes I have included. You may recoil at some of what I share. You may be tempted to strongly disagree or disregard it. I am respectfully asking you, please, seriously and prayerfully consider what I am writing. Your children’s well-being and lives are at stake.
From the very beginning of time, the devil’s great strategy has been to manipulate humans about what is true reality. He started with a woman, sensing her unique vulnerability. She in turn manipulated her husband as he was uniquely vulnerable to the female influence, and sin and death were the result. They have been ever since. But understand this fact: the devil’s strategy has never changed, only the method that he uses. He no longer shows up as the talking reptile, his most powerful method of manipulation today is social media and its most invasive, effective tool, his primary weapon of choice, the typical smartphone.
There is a grave and terrible reality that parents are facing today. Most refuse to recognize it. They’ve simply convinced themselves that this is a necessary part of the modern way of life, and they embrace it and go along with it. Dads, please listen very carefully. Your sons and daughters are being severely harmed and manipulated by social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and the porn industry. Young lives are being destroyed!
Please read these quotes below taken from the documentary film, The Social Dilemma. These people are from deep within the industry, who have now come to grips with its deadly, nefarious realities, and are working to expose it.
“If something is a tool, it genuinely is just sitting there, waiting patiently. If something is not a tool it’s demanding things from you. It’s seducing you, it’s manipulating you, it wants things from you. We’ve moved away from a tools-based technology environment, to an addiction and manipulation used technology environment. Social media isn’t a tool waiting to be used. It has its own goals, and it has its own means of pursuing them by using your psychology against you.” – Tristan Harris, former design ethicist at Google and co-founder of Center for Humane Technologies
“We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection because we get rewarded in these short-term signals: hearts, likes, thumbs up and we conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth. And instead, what it is is fake brittle popularity that’s short term and that leaves you even more, and admit it, vacant and empty before you did it. Because that enforces you into a vicious cycle where you’re like, what’s the next thing that I need to do now, because I need it back. Think about that compounded by two billion people and then think about how then, people react to the perceptions of others.” – Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital
“There are only two industries that call their customers “users”: illegal drugs and software.” – Edward Tufte
“We’re training and conditioning a whole new generation of people that when we are uncomfortable or lonely or uncertain or afraid we have a digital pacifier for ourselves that is kind of atrophying our own ability to deal with that.” – Tristan Harris, former design ethicist at Google and co-founder of Center for Humane Technologies
“We’ve created a world in which online connection has become primary. Especially for younger generations. And yet, in that world, anytime two people connect, the only way it’s financed is through a sneaky third person who’s paying to manipulate those two people. So we’ve created an entire global generation of people who were raised within a context with the very meaning of communication, the very meaning of culture, is manipulation.” – Jaron Lainer, computer scientist and virtual reality pioneer
“The TikTok mental health explosion is “clearly a modern version of social contagion, which has always been more prevalent among teen girls than other demographic groups,” said Dr. Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.” Eating disorders have also been shown to spread within friend groups.
Rates of depression have doubled among teen girls between 2009 and 2019, and self-harm hospital admissions have soared 100 percent for girls aged 10 to 14 during the rise of social media between 2010 and 2014, the most recently available data. The rise of poor mental health along with the ubiquity of smartphones has led to its own frightening epidemic.
TikTok is now a breeding ground for mental disorders. The evidence that social media is harmful to young mental health is both mounting and damning. And it’s time that Gen Z — and their parents — started taking notice.” From the article by Rikki Schlott, How TikTok has become a dangerous breeding ground for mental disorders, New York Post
Dads, moms, you must wake up to the addictive, invasive, manipulative impact that social media and the smartphone are having on your kids. Do not stick your head in the sand. Do not think to yourself, this could never happen to my teen, or think it is not happening to my teen now, even though they have their own smartphone. There are literally hundreds of billions of dollars being invested by the smartest people in the world, to manipulate your children in every possible way, through the medium of social media and the smartphone. We must destroy these invaders! We must have a “take no prisoners attitude.” We must make it as impossible as we can for them to manipulate and destroy our kids’ moral, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. That means you are going to have to decide being popular is not your most important job as a father. Being wise, courageous, effective, and protective is your most important job.
Here is a true, but heartbreaking story. Some time ago, I read a story about a Christian father, who was arrested by the police along with his young teen son. Why? Because the son had convinced his dad to do a TikTok challenge the kid found on TikTok. The dad was certainly naive, not fully realizing that he was driving the kid around, letting the kid out of the car, while the kid ran to the back of people’s houses, kicking their doors, trying to scare as many people as he could, while filming it on his phone.
This father I am sure was trying to be winsome with his son, trying to relate and have some fun. The consequences were quite the opposite.
Being a father is a very, very tough job. We are required to make some hard decisions that often leave us very unpopular with those we love. They take tremendous courage to make. You will certainly find this out if you decide to ban Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, the typical smartphone, and the rest from your teens. But I would urge you to. They are not your friends, they are enemies, master manipulators, and extremely destructive to your kids’ well-being.
Here is a safe, practical alternative. Use the Light phone for your teens. This phone allows you to call your child, or they can call a friend, text, and keep their favorite songs on it like an iPod. That is all. Here is a brief description from their site, “The light phone is a premium minimal phone. It will never have social media, clickbait, internet browser or any other anxiety-inducing infinite feed.” https://www.thelightphone.com/
Or as I like to say, “This phone will help them walk in the “light!”
Friends, I genuinely care about each and every one of you. Your families matter a great deal to me. I write and share all of this from a loving and sincere heart. May God give you great wisdom and courage to do what must be done in the wicked days we live in.
*For those interested. The Social Dilemma is filled with tremendous info if you are interested in watching it. I made it halfway through, as it made me furious, disgusted, and reminded me once again, why I refuse to have a smartphone or live on social media.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling