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Emma Didn’t Have Social Media. How #delayistheway is Shaping Her Life.

Emma's Story - Blog Feature image - Delay is the Way

Emma Didn’t Have Social Media. How #delayistheway is Shaping Her Life.

I received an email from a college freshman, who permitted me to publish her message using a different name. Her parents gave her a smartphone in middle school but didn’t give her social media until well into high school. This decision had a profound impact on her life.

“Delaying” social media doesn’t mean bubble-wrapping our kids and preventing them from using ANY technology. PYE is a pro-kid, pro-tech, but PROTECT organization. “Delay” doesn’t mean NO TECH, but rather, SLOW TECH. It always has. Just like with Emma’s story below. In other words, we teach, train, prepare, scaffold, and model what good, healthy, and helpful use of technology looks like. In summary, even if we say “no,” we teach them as if we’ve said “yes.” We talk and teach about everything. Why? Because digital doorways are everywhere.

That’s what Emma’s parents did. Here’s what happened:

 

Hello Chris! My name is Emma, and I am a freshman at Butler University. I was born and raised in Michigan and am pursuing a degree in Middle Secondary Education and History.

First, I wanted to thank you for the work that you are doing battling child pornography (child sexual abuse material or CSAM).

My parents followed your organization for a long time and used it as a tool to raise me in a world where social media and CSAM are becoming more common.

I did not get my first social media account until I was seventeen years old, and that was Facebook under close monitoring. About nine months later, I got Snapchat shortly before my eighteenth birthday. Since coming to college, I had to get a Twitter account for professional reasons only, but I don’t treat it as a social media site, but rather, as a tool to further my education. Even though I have these social media sites, I still refuse to get Instagram and TikTok because of how I was raised, for I believe that social media can cause more harm than good, especially when it comes to the dangers it has for a child. I am old enough to know what is dangerous and what is not, but a child does not know this, and that is the danger I hope to eliminate.

My parents used your tools and advice to raise me into someone who in return, is advocating for more transparency on the issue of CSAM throughout the world.

I’ve been reading the news closely on this issue, and I find it shocking how battling CSAM isn’t more mainstream and that our Congress isn’t doing more. I am shocked that I had to dig deep into the Internet to even find sources that were willing to talk about pornography, with the most recent mainstream story being Billie Eilish’s story of coming to terms with the dangers that pornography had on her life. That was back in 2021, and I’m frustrated to find little to no information on this topic in the mainstream media.

Your movement is inspirational because it has taught me the importance porn can have on children, which connects greatly to my future career. However, educators should not be the only ones who should know about this problem. Yes, educators can have a say and can change the lives of their students just through their actions and their words, but everyone must understand that this is one of the main problems of the twenty-first century.

Porn influences children to commit these acts themselves when they fall into a cycle. Rape porn is leading to increasing acts of rape. Domestic and sexual violence rates are common among my generation. People see porn on the Internet and believe that this is acceptable behavior and in return, commit these acts of violence that are affecting others. I am disgusted by this because it is not a child’s fault that porn exists on the Internet, and they should not be exposed to this. The next generation needs positive influences in their life, and the elimination of illegal content and decreasing access to porn for children is a step in that direction.

I am currently in a Peace and Conflict Studies class, and we are supposed to advocate on a topic that is disrupting the peace and justice of our world. I decided to advocate on the issue of battling CSAM because as someone who is going into education, I believe that my future students deserve the opportunity to have a childhood without the distraction and destruction of pornography. I am an advocate for the end of CSAM and the message needs to be spread.

With that being said, I appreciate what you are doing for the world, because if it wasn’t for your organization, I would not be the advocate I am today. Continue fighting for the lives of children, because you are making a difference, and I will continue to fight for not just my future students, but children all around the world. Thank you for your time.

Best regards,
Emma
Butler University

Parents, disappointment is a wonderful teacher.

Challenging our children to find satisfaction in life other than that which comes from the SmartTV, Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, or TikTok is essential to their development, ability to learn, and long-term mental wellness.

Yes, the mental wellness of your FUTURE teen has strong dependencies on the decisions you make TODAY related to technology.

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is the largest long-term analysis of brain development and child health in the United States.

The study, led by faculty at the Yale Department of Psychiatry and Columbia School of Nursing, analyzed screen media activity in over 5,100 9- and 10-year-olds. It found that youth who spent the most time on their digital technology were statistically more likely to exhibit higher levels of internalizing problems two years later. Internalizing problems include depression, anxiety, social anxiety, somatic (body) complaints, and other concerns. This association between frequent screen time and mental health problems was also accompanied by small, but distinct changes in the outer layer of the cerebrum.

Not every child glued to a screen experiences mental health distress. But too many are. Why experiment with their one, precious childhood? It’s why we believe so strongly in: #delayistheway

Is it difficult for you to tell your child “no” or “not yet?” Just a reminder that it might be the healthiest thing you say to them today, along with the “why” so that they hear your heart.

Join others who have decided to delay! 

We created a private community for like-minded parents to find counsel, ask questions, and learn. It’s not another Facebook group. No ads, no algorithms, no asterisks. Just honest, critical conversations and deep learning! For parents who want to “go slow” together. Become a member today!

The Table - Private Community from PYE

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3 thoughts on “Emma Didn’t Have Social Media. How #delayistheway is Shaping Her Life.”

  1. Chris, this was incredible to read. We have three little boys and I find this information so helpful. Thank you for all you do!

  2. This is so important. My kids really love technology and the iPad but are just not mature enough to make wise decisions about it. They need protection from parents (and grandparents,) but resources and advocacy are also essential! Thanks Emma and PYE!

  3. Such wise and well-written words from a college freshman. She seems to be a rare jewel. It’s an example of what college freshman can value and express, when they haven’t spent the last 8+ years on a screen. I echo her frustration about lack of mainstream coverage when it comes to all topics about internet pornography regulation and the difficulty (and some recent success) our government has had in their attempts to do better for the sake of our nation’s children and minors. I hope I live to see big changes in this area.

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