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Social Media and Harm to Children

Sep 7, 2023

Social Media and Harm to Children by Clare Morell at Ethics and Public Policy Center. We have a severe public health crisis on our hands: America’s children and teenagers are literally dying from social media. They are more depressed and anxious than ever before. New data from the CDC shows that nearly 3 in 5 teen girls felt persistent sadness in 2021 . . . and 1 in 3 girls seriously considered attempting suicide. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that for the first time in 15 years the mortality rate for 0–19-year-olds actually increased two years in a row…. A recent study by Sapien Labs found that adults who acquired their first smartphone at younger ages are now worse off in measures of mental well-being than those who acquired smartphones at a later age. Read


Parents vs. Public Schools with New Year Underway by Daniel Payne at National Catholic Register. “As the Church teaches, parents are the primary and first educators of the child,” [Shawn] Peterson said, “and the state has a duty to not only refrain from interfering in that relationship, but [also] must actively support that right in several ways, including financial support.” …. [Catholic Education Partners] works with bishops, superintendents, state Catholic conferences and other Church leaders to “ensure that laws and regulations support and allow Catholic schools to be fully and faithfully Catholic.” CEP is pushing forward with numerous initiatives, Peterson said, including “several state-level efforts to pass more expansive and better parental-choice legislation,” as well as efforts to push back on excessive state control of Catholic school licensure, accreditation and testing requirements. Read 


My Son Sam Doesn’t Need ‘Special Ed’ by Thomas Chiapelas at Wall Street Journal. [N]ot every child with special needs requires a special education neatly dictated by finely manicured projection tables and charts. What many of them need is a special community—and one rooted in faith can do more than the most well-funded and credentialed public-school programs. I know this because I’ve seen it in Sam’s life. In an environment that graciously receives him, my son can learn, his teacher can guide, and his classroom can embody the message of Christ: that we must let our light shine before others. Read


New Jersey Catholic School Case Shines Light on the ‘Ministerial Exception’ by Andrea M. Picciotti-Bayer at National Catholic Register. In 2012, the Supreme Court formally recognized what’s known as the “ministerial exception.” This bars the government “from interfering with the decision of a religious group to fire one of its ministers.” There was still some confusion, however. Were school teachers really ministers? A majority ruling by the court in 2020 settled the matter, endorsing the decisions by two schools—both Catholic parochial schools—to dismiss teachers on religious grounds. Read


Massachusetts Teachers Union Wants to End Standardized Test Requirement for Graduation by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. The Massachusetts attorney general is poised to decide this week if supporters of a petition to end the state's standardized test requirements for graduation will be permitted to collect signatures to force a statewide referendum. The proposed referendum, which has the backing of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, would allow students who have completed their high school coursework to receive their diploma without passing the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam. Read


Gadsden Flag Vindicated: Colorado School Reverses Course After Kicking Student Out for Patriotic Backpack by Tyler O’Neil at The Daily Signal. A Colorado Springs school has reversed course after booting a 12-year-old boy off campus for refusing to remove a patch on his backpack depicting the patriotic “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag. According to video footage, administrators at The Vanguard Secondary School had told a seventh grader named Jaiden that he could not step on campus while wearing the backpack with the patriotic patch. Staff at the charter school, part of Harrison School District 2, reportedly argued that the banner featuring a rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me” is associated with “slavery” and the “slave trade.” Read


California School District Settles with Mother after School ‘Transitioned’ Daughter without Her Consent by Brian Flood at Fox News. In what's been called a landmark victory for parental rights, a California school district has settled for $100,000 with a mother who said her [11-year-old] daughter was "socially transitioned" to a boy without parental knowledge or consent…. Once Konen found out that her daughter was being identified as a male and socially transitioning without her knowledge, she sued the district. Her daughter has since decided to re-identify as a girl. Read


Throwback Thursday


Empower Parents to Protect Their Kids from Social Media Harms by Clare Morell at National Review on February 22, 2022. In 1998, connecting to the Internet from home meant tying up the phone line and slowly loading low-resolution images. Since then, getting online has become as easy as pulling out a phone to watch livestreamed videos in high definition. But the main law meant to protect children online, the Children Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), hasn’t been updated since it was passed in 1998. A law designed before even MySpace came on the scene is simply inadequate for the TikTok era. Read

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