Dr. Phil To Ted Cruz: If You Want To ‘Create Chaos In Society,’ You Start By ‘Attacking The Children’
Dr. Phil Ted Cruz
Screenshot: Verdict

Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, commonly known as Dr. Phil, told Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) this week that social media companies are attacking the family unit in the U.S. by targeting children with “toxic information” that causes them to suffer from a wide range of mental health problems.

McGraw made the remarks during a special appearance on Cruz’s “Verdict” podcast this week in response to Cruz noting that the “pressures that are on our kids right now are qualitatively different from what we experienced.”

“I mean, they’re just assaulted online with social media, they’re confronted with themes and messaging and influence that is deliberately poisoning them, and what about that worries you?” Cruz asked. “And what should parents be doing about that?”

McGraw said that “a lot about it worries me because it’s not just that there’s competing information out there.”

“One of the things I talk about is the fact that our children aren’t just being exposed, they’re being targeted,” he said. “And when I say targeted, I wrote a book in I think 2004 called ‘Family First.’ And at that time, I said the family in America is under attack, that families in America are under attack, the family unit, the family values, everything that families stand for in America are under attack. This was 20 years ago. Let me tell you, it is so much worse now than it was then.”

“And when I say they’re under attack, one of the ways is what’s happening on the internet, what’s happening on the social media platforms,” he continued. “People don’t understand algorithms, including me, but I got myself in touch with experts that do understand this. And a good example of what I’m talking about, research was done where they put together some accounts, put a girl’s name on it, 14 years old, just her name, 14 years old, opened this account. And within a matter of a few hours, she started getting targeted with toxic information. By that, I mean information that led her to eating disorder sites, suicidality sites, different kinds of things that were really unhealthy.”

McGraw said that researchers pushed things further by opening another account and including on the account somewhere the words “weight loss.”

“The amount of toxic feed that went to her content, that went to her, went up multiplicatively within the first few hours,” he said “The algorithm picked up those words and what they do is they feed you what you will click on. So, it was like 10 times more toxic information.”


McGraw said that children were being “targeted” despite social media companies knowing that what they will click on “creates anxiety, depression, loneliness, confusion, self-hatred.”

“And if you want to create chaos in a society, where do you start? You attack the children,” he said. “If you get them to hate themselves, be questioned about who they are, what they are, what’s that going to do to the next generation and the next generation? And right now, we have the highest levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness among our young people.”


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