WASHINGTON—Leading women in the parental rights movement spoke out in defense of the family from cultural extremism at the Road to Majority Policy Conference on Friday.

Alleigh Marré, executive director of the American Parents Coalition, and Michele Exner, senior adviser of Parents Defending Education, emphasized the importance of parents having conversations with their children about advocating for themselves.

“These should be dinner table conversations,” Marré said. “We need to make sure our kids are equipped with the language, and to know that what they feel is right, to be able to push back.”

Exner said there is an increasing trend in schools of not sharing information with parents.

“Right now, we’re up to 1,100 school districts, which includes about 10,000 schools and about 18 million students, that have policies in place that are essentially meant to keep information from parents,” Exner said.

Exner and Marré spoke to a packed room at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual event. Daily Signal senior reporter Mary Margaret Olohan, author of “Detrans: True Stories of Escaping the Gender Ideology Cult,” interviewed the two parents.

When it comes to social media use, Marré said a Gallup poll found that kids under 18 years old spend an average of five hours a day on social media and nine hours per day in front of a screen. 

“Of all that, 41% of American kids spend two hours a day on TikTok,” Marré said. “That’s more face time than we get with our kids when they’re in school for a full day.”

Within two to eight minutes of kids using TikTok, they are exposed to content about eating disorders and suicide, Marré added.

“It is incredibly important for parents to be having those conversations with their kids about setting [social media] boundaries,” she added.

Both women said there was a parental awakening in the United States during the mass COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 and 2021.

“It took us off auto pilot,” Marré said. “All of these institutions were slowly moving a certain way.”

With the curtains pulled back, she said, parents see it all in totality today. 

Marré and Exner said they are hopeful about the future. Exner said the effect COVID shutdowns had on parents will “continue to give parents the power to speak up and advocate on behalf of their family and their children,” something that was uncommon a few years ago.