A recent TikTok trend led to threats of gun violence nationwide causing many schools to send kids on Christmas break a day early, including Three Rivers Community Schools this past Friday.
As a result, another trend has started, only this time on Facebook and among adults, calling for parents to delete the TikTok app off their children’s phones. But deleting a social media app won’t stop gun violence or threats of gun violence any more than offering thoughts and prayers after a national tragedy will prevent another one from happening.
We are a polarized nation, we pick sides, and more often than not choose hate over love. Kids have noticed and are taking their cues from the way adults in their lives behave. We have a responsibility as a nation, as human beings, to shift our focus from simple solutions brought on by knee jerk reactions in the heat of the moment, and instead start to do the real work.
The kind of work I’m talking about doesn’t offer shortcuts, it takes dedication and persistence over a number of years. The kind of work that requires speaking to folks who you disagree with, and re-teaching ourselves to do so with civility and grace. We have to treat one another better, and that means practicing patience and humility in the face of frustration and fear. We can do better, we must do better, for our sake, for the sake of these kids.
Many of us have lost touch with our humanity, and we won’t find it again unless we’re willing to do the work it takes to get there. So leave your kids’ phones alone because the solution to this particular problem is too complex to fit in a 30-second- or three-minute clip, and it certainly won’t be solved from behind a screen.
Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor of Watershed Voice.