- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2018

President Trump on Thursday suggesting restricting internet access to children amid a discussion about school safety held in response to last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“We have to look at the internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it,” Mr. Trump said during the discussion.

“And also video games. I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And you go one further step and that’s the movies. … maybe they have to put a rating system for that,” Mr. Trump added.

The president’s comments followed a remark made moments earlier by Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general, about ignored indicators that preceded last week’s massacre.

“Kids now are on social media. And there were so many warning signs on Snapchat, on Twitter, on Instagram, and they were sending them to all different sources,” Ms. Bondi said.

Florida plans to launch a mobile phone app that will let children instantly and anonymously report internet threats to authorities, Ms. Bondi told the president.

SEE ALSO: Trump says NRA, Congress want to help him address school shootings

“It will go in the app and it will go into one clearinghouse for state law enforcement in Florida,” she said.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire inside his former school last Wednesday using a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others, according to authorities. He was subsequently charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is currently being held without bond.

Law enforcement received but ignored tips concerning Mr. Cruz, the FBI conceded last week. News reports have since revealed that the suspected shooter frequently touted his firearm collection on Instagram, a Facebook-owned photo-sharing service where he showcased his so-called “arsenal.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said last week that authorities investigating Mr. Cruz’s online activity found “very, very disturbing” posts, albeit without elaborating.

The FBI declined to comment on either Mr. Cruz’s internet activity or the president’s remark when reached by The Washington Times.

Discussing the topic of terrorism during a presidential campaign rally in 2015, Mr. Trump suggested “closing that internet up” to keep extremists from using it as a recruitment tool.

“We’re losing a lot of people because of the internet,” Mr. Trump said. “We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some way.”

“Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech,’” Mr. Trump added. “These are foolish people.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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