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Social Media Doing Invisible Damage

Throughout history the older generation has thought the younger generations are weak, frivolous, and self-centered. Just as that older generation’s elders thought the same of it, and so on to the beginnings of our species.

It’s time to break the cycle with some reality.

Young people are not much different from generation to generation. You and I were just as foolish when we were young, as were our grandparents. Only the details of our foolishness differed. We grew up and found ways to be foolish mature people.

The problem isn’t with the young people of any era, it’s with the world they find themselves living in.

Growing up during war, famine, or a plague (a real one like the Black Death, not an overreaction like COVID) is going to affect the development of young people more than it affects the lives of the older generations. It’s easier to damage a seedling than a mature tree.

The thing most damaging to youth today is the deceptively named plague of “social media.” It’s as bad as war or pestilence. But like famine or disease, there’s no point in throwing blame; your energy is better spent helping the affected learn to live in spite of the trouble around them.

Most young people will overcome and go on. Many will not. Those most susceptible to the opinions of others are at a disadvantage, just as those too weak to hunt for food were at a disadvantage in hunter-gatherer societies.

If you saw someone in trouble, whether starving or injured, you’d help. Social media injury isn’t always so obvious.

Symptoms of this damage — also known as “wokeness” — include identity problems, racism sold as “anti-racism,” and a call for everyone to be exactly equal, not in rights, but in outcomes. This often results in a reliance on government to fix everything with legislation or by handing out money it doesn’t have. It leaves scars as real as a missing limb, a bullet wound, or a head injury.

I was encouraged by the recent report of the four Clovis teenagers who came to the aid of another young person who had been injured in an accident. Instead of just taking pictures of the scene and posting them to social media — as has happened in other emergencies around the world — they jumped into action and helped. In the end, we’ll be fine because they’ll be fine.