Promoting Virtue and Resilience in the Face of Digital Temptations

Bona Verba from the Headmaster

In his thought-provoking talk, “TikTok Ate My Daughter and My Son Won’t Stop Playing Video Games,” delivered at CLASSICAL’s Veritatis Splendor Parents Night last month, Dr. Leonard Sax shed light on the alarming influence of social media and smartphones on our society, particularly our youth. As he emphasized, it is crucial that we address the negative impacts associated with these addictive devices, which have the potential to harm our children’s well-being and compromise their futures.

Dr. Sax’s expertise aligns with extensive research that has shown the detrimental effects of social media use among teenagers, especially girls. The constant exposure to carefully curated highlight reels, cyberbullying, and the relentless pursuit of validation takes a toll on their mental health, leading to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Moreover, the incessant stream of notifications disrupts their sleep patterns, resulting in fatigue and a range of cognitive and behavioral issues linked to instant gratification. As an educator with nearly 20 years of experience, I have personally witnessed the devastating consequences of this phenomenon.

It is essential to recognize, as Dr. Sax pointed out, that social media does not promote virtue but often stokes vice. The addictive nature of these platforms fosters a culture of comparison, materialism, and superficiality, diverting our youth’s attention away from meaningful personal connections and the pursuit of goodness, beauty, and truth. This stands in stark contrast to the very essence of human flourishing and contradicts the CLASSICAL mission.

Addressing this issue, as Dr. Sax suggested, starts with responsible parenting. Parents, he says, must actively engage with their children, instilling healthy boundaries and educating them about the potential dangers of social media and smartphone use. By setting clear limits, fostering open communication, and encouraging alternative activities that promote creativity, physical exercise, and social interaction, parents can create a nurturing environment that prioritizes their children’s well-being. Furthermore, by enforcing restrictions, we establish a societal framework that recognizes the potential harms associated with these devices and ensures that children have the opportunity to grow and mature without undue influence.

CLASSICAL parents and teachers are called upon to unite in this effort, as Dr. Sax emphasized, to ensure the well-being of our students and promote their development into virtuous, resilient individuals who are equipped to navigate the challenges of the digital age. By implementing these necessary restrictions, safeguarding their physical and mental health, and fostering a society that values their well-being above all, we can make a difference and empower our children to lead fulfilling lives, free from the negative influences of social media and the temptations of smartphone usage. By heeding his advice and working together as a community, we can create a brighter future for our children, one in which they can flourish as human beings, unencumbered by the detrimental effects of these addictive digital technologies.

Torches Up!
Mr. Michael Rose

Michael Rose - Headmaster

Mr. Michael Rose

Meet the Headmaster

Mr. Rose has taught various courses at Brown University, Cincinnati Moeller, and The Summit Country Day School. As a part of his degree work in education, Mr. Rose’s research interests included the Great Books curriculum, the Paideia teaching method, and the “effects of emerging digital technology on student reading, writing, and researching.” Read More