Mum warns parents of jokes and words boys who are being groomed by far right use
It takes a lot of trust to not interfere with your child's social media and online activity .
You don't want to deprive them of what's often a very useful tool – nor make them stand out because they don't have a smartphone or internet access in the same way their peers do.
On the other hand, the internet is frequently abused by those who'd do impressionable youngsters harm.
Like, for example, people who, in the words of mum and writer Joanna Schroeder "are actively laying groundwork in white teens to turn them into alt-right /white supremacists."
In a compelling Twitter thread she says having been watching her boys' online behaviour she's noticed how vloggers and other social media users have been doing this – aka grooming.
Joanna points out that there are signs – and even jokes and certain turns of phrase – which can alert parents to this grooming.
She writes: "First, the boys are inundated by memes featuring subtly racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic jokes. Being kids, they don't see the nuance & repeat/share.
"Then they're called out for these jokes/phrases/memes by parents, teachers, kids (mostly girls) at school & online. The boys then feel shame & embarrassment – and shame is the force that, I believe, leads people to their worst decisions."
Next, Joanna warns, they start "consuming media with the 'people are too sensitive' and 'you can't say anything anymore!' themes.
"For these boys, this will ring true – they're getting in trouble for 'nothing'. This narrative allows boys to shed the shame – replacing it w/anger.
"And who is their anger with? Women, feminists, liberals, people of color, gay folks, etc etc. So-called snowflakes. "
The danger now, Joanna says, is there's nobody to challenge this belief they now hold.
She continues: "Here's an early red flag: if your kid says 'triggered' as a joke referring to people being sensitive, he's already being exposed & on his way."
So how to counter this?
Joanna recommends: "Look through his Instagram Explore screen with him. Explain what's underlying those memes. Explain why 'triggered' isn't a joke, what a PTSD trigger is actually like. Evoke empathy without shaming him.
"Remind him you know he's a good person, but explain how propaganda works.
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