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Daily Journal
     October 22, 2021      #91-295 KDJ

Parents, check in on children's internet

Daily Journal Editorial

At the risk of sounding like a bunch of old fuddy-duddies, we remember our younger days when pranks were limited largely to throwing a little toilet paper into trees or maybe streaking some windows with a bar of soap. Much more than that and you ran the risk of being discovered and your parents getting a phone call — and no one ever wanted their parents’ phone to ring.

It seems, though, that times have changed. And again, not to be a fuddy-duddy, but they’ve not changed for the better. Now, “the kids” are taking their prank cues from social media and performing these acts for all the world to see.

Education reporter Stephanie Markham wrote Wednesday about the battle school districts here in Kankakee County are facing with students taking part in TikTok challenges. It’s a problem shared at schools around the nation as students are flocking to the social media app in mass numbers.

These “pranks” — we put that in quotes because many of these acts rise far above the level of a joke — make us long for the days of simply having to pull toilet paper from tree limbs.

There’s a challenge for each month and each seems worse than the month prior. And worse yet, only a couple don’t run the risk of a student getting themselves in legal trouble, whether it be civil or criminal. Vandalize a school restroom, spray a neighbor’s fence and theft. But wait, there’s more. Some of the challenges could quite possibly result in sexual assault charges. Smack a staff member’s backside, show your genitals in the school halls, kiss your friend’s girlfriend and jab a breast are all on the list distributed by two local school districts.

Honestly, the list left us speechless.

The internet is no place for a child to wander aimlessly and without escort. Sadly, these challenges are just another example of how dangerous of a place it really is, and this is another reminder for parents to monitor their children’s access to it.

We encourage parents to check in with their kids about this list of challenges and make sure they know the consequences of taking part. You could be saving them trouble that could follow them for a lifetime.

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