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Producers’ Pick | Dr. Tom Kersting: Is Social Media Making Children More Violent?

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
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June 4, 2022 5:00 am

Producers’ Pick | Dr. Tom Kersting: Is Social Media Making Children More Violent?

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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June 4, 2022 5:00 am

Psychotherapist Dr. Tom Kersting on social media’s accountability for school shooters.

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Radio that makes you think. This is the Brian Kilmeade Show. She told me that she assumed the police just weren't there yet, but then afterwards she heard the grown-ups say that the police were there but waiting outside. And that's the first time that she really started crying in the interview. She'd been pretty stoic up until then, but that's when she started crying saying she just didn't understand why they didn't come in and get her. Yeah, and that was one of the producers at another network talking about the interview with a child.

You don't really know if you should put an eight-year-old on, even if they're articulate. And you want their point of view, but I'm not sure it's in their best interest. But then you find out these kids and their survival instinct, putting blood on them, they were shot, they were pretended they were dead. They kept calling 911, took the phone off of the, sadly, one of the teachers that had been shot dead. Can you imagine that? And calling 911 repeatedly. We don't have all the intersets, but believe me, we will eventually get them, and still was their best assessment to stand on the outside.

But nobody thinks that was the right thing to do. I don't want to get to the police element of it, but I do want to talk about the school psychological part of it. Let's bring in Dr. Tom Kersting. You know, Dr. Tom always comes on, school psychologist, best-selling author, has a great perspective on this. Is it just me, Dr. Kersting, or are things seem to be getting worse? Well, I mean, certainly when you look at the statistics of all these school shootings, it's absolutely getting worse. However, I was on a different show last week, and one thing I really wanted to reiterate to parents is that we aren't seeing this stuff constantly in the news and so forth, and on social media. But the truth is that statistically speaking, and I know it's hard for people to hear this, it is safe for our children to go to school. Now, we need to really convey that message to our children, because one of the issues is that we have so much anxiety and so forth nowadays. It's an epidemic among kids, and yes, if our kid's a little bit older, we can talk to them about these issues. But if we're younger, we want to really ascertain and make sure that our kids know that it is safe to go to school and trust that the schools are following the proper protocols. And that trust is lost for that kid, for 18-year-olds to be targeted, and they call for help. And then we find out the help was on the outside for 47 minutes, or maybe even longer.

It's just, it's mind-boggling to think that was thought to be the correct decision. But what would you do with, we're talking about all these different technologies to identify that bloodthirsty kid in that high school, the 17-year-old who becomes an 18-year-old that we saw two times in the last three weeks go on a shooting spree. I mean, what do you, how do you, when you had this job, how do you assess what kid will be a potential killer and what kid is solemn, what kid just likes to wear black, what kid just has a broken family? Yeah, you know, so when I worked in education, I did for 25 years.

I'm just doing, you know, private practice now only. But, you know, when, you know, we were pretty, it was pretty easy to identify, you know, a kid that, you know, was somewhat troubled. Of course, you would never say, all right, that kid's the kid that's going to shoot up the school. But I think the difference now, Brian, today is that everybody has some sort of a digital footprint. You know, every shooter, every, you know, incident that we see, that person typically has been, you know, putting little, planting little seeds out there, or just blatantly saying I'm going to do A, B, C, or D. So I think, in my opinion, you know, you look at social media, that's what my whole book is about, by the way. You look at social media, they have the ability to, you know, quickly just shut somebody down if they don't agree with their opinion and so forth. I think what social media needs to do maybe is be accountable for this. If they have alerts, if somebody is posting, I'm going to go, you know, shoot the school or kill my grandmother or something, that information should be, whoever's sitting behind there on these social media, you know, companies, should be sending alerts, figuring out where this person is, notifying the police and so forth. That's what I would do if I were to fire controllers.

The name of your book, Disconnected, how to protect your kids from the harmful effects of device dependencies. So okay, most of these guys, like the Buffalo guy, was telling somebody on his digital footprint. They're still trying to investigate that. And then we have this killer who's holding up clear bags of dead cats and laughing about in the passenger seats of a car.

I'm putting out this video. Everybody that talks about him say how scared they were of him. And now we're going to get more and more that he was, there was actually about six interactions with police officers. So when you look at that, you look at Parkland, you look in Buffalo, the guy gave two and a half hour psychological analysis with, I guess, state police officials in New York.

So, you know, it's not like we didn't see any of this coming. But what is your assessment of this in that are we thinking to ourselves there's something we're doing online or in today's lack of nuclear, traditional nuclear families that is allowing, and coming off the pandemic, is having a plethora of mentally damaged kids? Well, you know what, Brian, my book is all about that, by the way. So let me just explain to you. So the average kid nowadays is spending between eight and nine hours a day on a completely different planet called cyberspace.

All right. So the way the way the human brain works, wherever we are, our mind is spending the most time, you know, through repetitive messaging and so forth, the mind actualizes that. So now when you look at, I call social media the tailpipe of the mainstream media, because everything funnels down to that.

There's a camera everywhere, everything's captured on a street corner, everybody's got a camera in their pocket. And what our kids are marinating in all day long is violence, bad behavior, muggings, and so forth. And that has now become the norm. So therefore, their brains are normalizing this. And when you take a, you know, a sociopath, like this, you know, recent shooter, and you add that in, you know, the layer of all of this, you know, violence and anger and so forth, you know, that's just fueling that psychopathic mind to go out and do something that severe. That's how I look at it. Dr. Tom Kirsten, our guest spent 25 years in the school system in New Jersey, right? Yeah, correct.

Yeah. So when people want to blame the gun, they want to blame social media, they want to blame parenting, how do we get on top of this right away? Because it seems like every day that we don't work towards a solution, we see another horrific scene. You know, you mentioned, you said something, Ryan, a little while ago, the term nuclear family, and that's a missing element in our society right now compared to the way it used to be. Even families that do have two parents and, you know, a couple kids and so forth, you know, they're not really functioning like families anymore.

You know, sitting around the dinner table, having dinner every night with one another, even, you know, I talk about this as well, even when you, when you look in, when I'm driving my daughter to school, she's a freshman in high school. I look in the rear view mirror, every kid in the pastor's seat is staring, you know, staring at their phone, absolutely interaction. There's no interaction between parent and child. So what parents need to do, anybody that's listening right now, here's a crazy statistic for you. The average parent spends just three and a half minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.

That is a statistic. So what we need to do, first and foremost, is parents have to make time to sit and have deep conversations with their children on a daily basis. That is how you form that connection, that parent-child connection. That's how our kids become confident, that's how our kids become motivated, and that's how our kids become good citizens. I think it's a great, that is fantastic. In the meantime, in the meantime, while we wait for that to happen, while we see a lot of broken families or families, oh good, they're on, they're on text, they're, they're on their phone, I can make a call in my car.

In the meantime, how do we stop it? People are in, talking about gun legislation now. Are you against, dude, from what you saw, are you against giving teachers the option to be armed? Are you against having two armed officers in every school, big or small? So my father is a retired police officer. My brother is a deputy inspector with NYPD. So I come from a law enforcement family, right?

And my experience with a law enforcement family is that they are the greatest of the, the best of the best, my brother and my father. And they're, you know, they are equipped and responsible to handle, handle a weapon. And my dad always says, you know, he's a big advocate of having armed police officers at schools because he said the, the best thing, and we've heard this before, that's going to protect the bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And schools that do have, you know, armed officers, those are called soft targets.

So somebody that knows that there's going to be an armed officer is less likely to enter one of those schools. And that's just, you know, that's just, that's common sense. So I am, you know, I'm not against it. I, I'm, I'm actually for it because I don't see the teachers being the ones, you know, that are going to be carrying out these mass shootings. Anything, whatever's going to protect our kids first and foremost is what I'm all in for. I hear you. So in the big picture, I saw this stat today and I brought it to her.

I want to bring it to our interview. Most students are frozen socially and emotionally at the age they were when their pandemic started, according to the New York Times. This is a survey of 362 school counselors. 94% of the counselors said, 94% said, says that the students are showing signs of anxiety and depression that before COVID 19, 88% said students are having more trouble regulating their emotions. Almost three quarters say the kids are having more difficulty solving conflicts with friends. They, they've had a year off from interacting in many cases, especially if the parents went back to work. And then a lot of kids went from, I hate so, I hate doing the laptop and I hate zooming to, I want the freedom of zooming and you haven't seen your friends in a while.

Did you expect those type of high numbers? You know, I see it at my private practice, Brian. So the anxiety issue has been around for a while. It's been an epidemic really since 2012 when smartphones first came out.

But COVID 19 was like the next, the next layer, the icing on the cake. And let me explain why, why kids are, you know, we're seeing more anxiety. So when you take a human being, okay, and they are sort of, you know, imprisoned in their own home, I'll use that term, COVID 19 kids were not allowed to go to school, most of them, the activities were canceled. So they were isolated by themselves in their bedrooms and their bedrooms became their classrooms. Now what happens, the way the human brain works again, is that we develop habits and comfort zones. So if you've been in your bedroom for months or a year, that becomes your safe space now. Your brain now realizes that there's nothing dangerous about that. Now, schools open up, society opens up, and after having been, you know, shut down for a year, going back out into, quote, the real world, the brain doesn't really recognize that. It seems like, like foreign territory. So it sets off the body's natural alarm system, the sympathetic nervous system, which is what triggers anxiety.

So it's legitimately, that's what, that's the body is preparing itself to defend itself, you know, against the threat, even though there is no threat. So the only solution is to continue to put our kids out there, you know, as best we can get them into the school, get them, you know, immersed back into society with activities and so forth. But it is a major problem. How old are your kids? So my son is 19. He just finished his freshman year in college.

My daughter is a freshman in high school. Are you worried? Am I worried for them?

Yep. You know what, I'm not. All right, because, and again, you know, I am, you know, I spend a lot of time with them. I try to stay on top of them as much as I can. I tell them I love them as much as I can.

I hug them. But I am worried about, you know, the world around them. And what I'm trying to explain to my own kids and other kids is that, you know, our kids haven't changed. It's the world around us that has changed. So I try to insulate my kids as best I can from the negative element of the world around us and try to, you know, get them to realize that, you know, the world really is a good place.

We just have to keep ourselves out of the bad spaces. Yes, it's good to have a psychologist as a dad. That's certainly a psychotherapist, I should say.

Dr. Tom Kirsten, yeah, look, my kids are now two in college, one out. But I would not be worried. I also know what my town has done. They do have armed car concealed armed guards. I do know they're doing profiling within the system. They even are seeing six and eight year olds. There's communications with the grammar schools to the high schools, to the junior high schools, among the local officials who are working in the schools. And we have so many retired cops in our area.

It is just one of, we're fortuitous. It's not an affluent area. There's all different kinds, but they're getting proactive about it.

I'm just wondering practically, can others do what Marco Rubio just talked to us about at the top of the hour? They're already profiling kids, not to just, and a threat assessment, not to evaluate their future success. Yeah, no, we need to, you know, like schools have all the information. You know, if you have a kid that's defiant and oppositional and has behavioral issues in the school or emotional issues, or has a history of aggression and violence, you know, those things can show up in second, third grade.

And, you know, and I think, you know, really transitioning that information, you know, from elementary school to middle school, to the high school, you know, just arms people, administrators and school counselors with knowledge and with information and with the ability to, you know, to red flag a kid that, you know, that may fit the profile of someone that would do something horrific. Dr. Tom Kersting, thanks so much. Pick up his book, Disconnected, How to Protect Your Kids from the Harmful Effects of Device Dependency. Thanks, Tom. Hey, thanks, Brian. Have a great one. All right.

Take care. You got it. From the Fox News Podcast Network, subscribe and listen to the Trey Gowdy Podcast. Former federal prosecutor and four-term U.S. Congressman from South Carolina brings you a one-of-a-kind podcast. Subscribe and listen now by going to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-15 03:41:44 / 2023-02-15 03:48:34 / 7

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