Parents urged to speak up as WitchTok surges

Parents urged to speak up as WitchTok surges

Parents have been advised not to be afraid of making a “value judgement” if they’re concerned about their children’s activity online as the ‘WitchTok’ hashtag surged past 31.5 billion views on social media app TikTok.

WitchTok is an umbrella term under which young people post and share content related to magic and witchcraft, with many commentators online expressing concern at its potentially harmful effects.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic newspaper about the popular online trend, writer and theology student at Cambridge University Esmé Partridge said that modern society is “defenceless” against these trends because parents may believe they shouldn’t interfere with their children’s lifestyle choices.

“I think not being afraid, if you do come from a religious tradition, and certainly if you’re a parent, not being afraid to actually make a value judgment and actually say, ‘This could be harmful’,” is very important, Ms Partridge said.

Saying that “from a place of love”, rather than suppressing a child’s sense of spirituality is necessary for combatting trends such as WitchTok, Ms Patridge said. She added that you can allow young people to explore faith and to develop their own personal sense of spirituality while also setting boundaries.

“Religious people do have a duty I think actually to protect and to issue spiritual protection. And I think also even people who aren’t religious, I think taking negative effects of things like the occult a bit more seriously instead of just reducing them to, ‘Oh maybe it’s just psychological’ or ‘Maybe it’s just mental’.

“I think trying to think, ‘Well, maybe this could be something else and maybe we should not just shrug it off,” she said. “Maybe we are actually connected to the supernatural in ways that we didn’t think we were.”

Ms Partridge added that “people underestimate actually how vast the exposure to these things is, because TikTok’s algorithms can really propel a video that’s been produced by some midwestern teenager in their bedroom, you know? That can be getting billions of views.”

Read Jason Osborne’s full featured article on the surge of ‘WitchTok’ here.