TikTok Threats Create Real Life Chaos For Families

TikTok Threats Create Real Life Chaos For Families

TikTok Threats Create Real Life Chaos For Families

Out of all the social media platforms, TikTok has proved to be the worst of the bunch.

While the short videos of adorable pets, giggling babies, and dance routines are usually fine, the dark side of TikTok’s viral nature is that bad things can be amplified and spread quicker than COVID at a Buzzfeed Christmas party. This time, a vague and nonspecific threat against schools all across the country sent districts nationwide into – if not panic – a reactionary level of concern.

One of the posts “refers to a threat to school safety ‘for every school in the USA, even elementary,’ on Friday, December 17, 2021,” according to a message sent out by the Surry County School District in North Carolina. But the district said that “while we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation.”

In Maryland, Baltimore County Public Schools tweeted that it is “aware of an anonymous threat posted on TikTok targeting all schools in the United States,” although “law enforcement agencies have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not credible.”

In Wisconsin, the Waukesha School District sent a letter to parents “asking you to discuss this with your children,” while the nearby Hamilton School District canceled classes today, according to Fox6 Milwaukee.”

“We take all threats seriously and any threats against the school or district will be disciplined to the greatest extent possible, up to and including expulsion from school,” the Waukesha message read. “If you or your child hears of any specific threat to our district, we ask that you please report it immediately.”

Meanwhile, in Central Florida, the Citrus County School District reported Thursday that it was being “inundated with parent calls this morning asking about these latest threats and their validity.”

Even the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement.

And TikTok itself has put out a statement, claiming that they have found nothing except stories about the rumor itself.

And herein lies the problem. TikTok, like so much of social media, can be easily manipulated into an elaborate game of telephone, where the message gets broadcasted widely, and altered every time it gets repeated. One person’s rumor becomes the next person’s fact, and so on, and so on, and so on.

I am currently writing to you from the real world consequences of what happens when a TikTok “threat” that got repeated over and over and over again manifests into school districts feeling that they have to act.

Yes, my teenagers are currently sitting at home, logging into Zoom classes, because their high school is closed today. On the last day before vacation. Now, the other high schools in the district are open, but ours has also been dealing with repeated graffiti threats of a planned school shooting. With Oxford fresh in everyone’s minds, school districts are reacting swiftly, even when multiple sweeps of campus find nothing out of the ordinary. And yet, here we sit at home, and my younger children, who are at school, are operating on a “modified lockdown” scenario due to the TikTok threat.

Again, this is the last day of school before a two-week vacation. Anyone else find the timing of this just slightly suspicious?

We are trying to re-civilize an entire generation right now, and so many of them are now dealing with mental health issues that have been exacerbated by lockdown policies. We have discussed the behavior of students and how the teachers are reacting. Now, families all across the country are having to deal with the fallout of a few bad actors on TikTok. It’s “vague” and “not credible,” but we are going act EXACTLY like a shooting could happen at any second.

Kind of sounds like how the public health policy doctors react to COVID-19 variants, hmmm?

Kids across the country were kept away from each other for over a year, using only social media to communicate. Now, that social media is coming back to bite us all on the ass. What happens when the next rumor of a threat spreads across TikTok, or Instagram, or Snapchat? Will this become the next excuse to send everyone home? We can’t keep doing this. And in case anyone has forgotten, Zoom school absolutely stinks. Fifteen months of it was more than enough to convince me that it was useless; I find the reminders painfully unhelpful.

Here’s a radical notion – get the kids off social media, and allow them to interact with each other in person and relearn their social skills. It’s so crazy, it just might work.

Featured image via antonbe on Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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