When I was talking with Joel Persinger for GunGuyTV last week, I said that I have the same irrational hatred of social media that Shannon Watts has for AR-15s, though there is one big difference; I don’t think that banning platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, or X is the answer, unlike Watts and her gun-banning ways.
Just like with firearms, I believe a little education and training could go a long way towards developing a culture of responsible social media use, and that education clearly needs to start at a young age given the idiocy our kids are exposed to on a regular basis. There’s been no shortage of dumb TikTok trends over the past few years, but this might be the most moronic of all.
At least four Kentucky teenagers are facing terrorism and harassment charges after allegedly threatening their teachers with hidden bombs as part of a demented trend made popular on TikTok.
The four bomb threats were made at two Oldham County high schools since the new school year began on Aug. 9, the Oldham County Police Department said in a statement.
Three incidents were confirmed to have stemmed from a social media “challenge,” and the fourth is suspected of being related to the challenge’s hoax.
“The challenge encouraged students to record a video of themselves telling a teacher there was a bomb or gun in their backpack,” police said.
Three students slapped with “terroristic threatening” charges were 15-year-olds at Oldham County High School, located 20 miles northeast of Louisville.
A fourth student, also 15, at the nearby South Oldham High School, may also have been inspired by the trend, according to police. That student was charged with “harassing communications.”
These teens may have been chasing clout, but they ended up catching charges. Now the four teens have been suspended indefinitely, subjected to a mental health evaluation, and are all facing formal charges that could derail their plans for the future.
The district sent a message to parents urging them to warn their children about the consequences of making such dangerous allegations.
Officials also asked that the parents monitor their children’s social media accounts.
“Whether written or spoken, all threats are taken seriously and students need to know the repercussions of these actions, both short and long term. Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress or anxiety for our students, families and staff.”
It doesn’t matter if the teens had no real plans to carry out their attack as far as prosecutors are concerned. Their “prank” still had to be taken seriously by the school and local law enforcement, wasting police resources and needlessly causing concern for educators and students alike.
Monitoring our kids’ social media accounts isn’t a bad idea, but the suggestion about educating our kids on the dangers of doing dumb things online to begin with is even more important as far as I’m concerned. Kids have a way of doing things while their parents are blissfully ignorant, but giving them education and instruction about the lack of anonymity online and the real-world harm that can come from social media pranks can keep them from making bad decisions in the first place instead of just catching them after the fact. It’s too late for these teens, but their dumbassery can at least serve as an example when we’re talking to our own kids about their behavior online.