Social Media and Gun Violence

Social Media and Gun Violence

As an incredible number of people are being shot, we tend to blame everyone, from gun manufacturers to child abusers. We also seem to feel this is someone else’s problem until it affects our loved one and perhaps even takes their life. In July 2023, the United States Surgeon General issued a call to action about social media’s corrosive effects on children. The 25-page report warns of a “profound risk of harm” to young people who spend hours a day on their phones. Evidence shows a connection between social media and gun violence.

We must look at what our children are exposed to on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok. Children can be seen on those sites posting photos or videos of themselves with guns and stacks of cash. Sometimes, kids call out rivals, resulting in deadly violence in schoolyards and on street corners. Desmond Patton at the University of Pennsylvania has been studying the relationship between social media and gun violence and has posted his results, which are of interest to researchers, community leaders, and police across the country. 

In an August 25, 2023 post by Liz Szabo on Oona Tempest/KFF Health News, social workers have described social media “as a relentless driver of gun violence” in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington D.C. We urge parents, churches, and individuals working with young people to take an interest in what social media their kids are being exposed to, and how much time they spend on it.

The importance of following God’s instructions to parents cannot be over-emphasized. Being a parent or a youth worker can be exhaustive, but raising kids to be law-abiding followers of Jesus who care about others and want to improve the world is worth investing time and money. 

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: KFF Health News