Grandparents, we need YOU to help keep your grandkids safe online! In this podcast, we’ll tell you what you can do to help. You don’t need to know anything about technology to play a role. You are part of the solution!!
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Welcome to the nextTalk podcast. We are passionate about keeping kids safe in an overexposed world.
It’s Mandy and Kim, and we’re navigating tech, culture and faith with our kids. Grandparents they are so special. They bring wisdom, they bring love, all these things and they’re probably reeling sometimes with the world that we live in, with all the technology and all of the online world that seems unfamiliar, and so we’re trying to find this balance between what they bring from their experience and then the online world. We’re trying to figure out how do the two connect? How do we find a place for grandparents where they feel valued? And so that’s what this show is all about. Grandparents, how can you still stay in tuned with your grandkids?
Well, I have such special memories with my grandma and grandpa. I mean, they took me to church when I was little. My grandma was my Sunday school teacher. We would make pot roast after church, you know, and we would make mud pies. In the backyard, which I love. There was this huge tree. I would make the mud pies and I would put it in my make-believe oven and then I would throw the mud pies at this huge tree and I’d get so excited when they just splattered everywhere, and you know grandma and grandpa would like cheer and get excited about that.
So I have a lot of special memories and I think for me one of the things that as I’ve watched, you know, my kids and with their grandparents, one thing that I want to be real careful of is when we get together, sometimes we’re all on our phones and even like when they go over to grandparents’ house, like they’re all on their phones or they’re all Googling something.
And it takes me back to man. I just want back to the basics, like mud pies, and so I think that has been a real cool conversation, like within our family of you know, they’re on tech all day long. Oh, my goodness, yes, they’re grandparents, they’re on tech all day long Facebook scrolling, facebook, all the things and so can we make an effort here that when we come to your house, like it’s special, it’s different than the world? You know, this is where we bake goods together, this is where we do puzzles together, this is where time slows down. Like I want that for my kids and I want that in my own home, but I feel like I can’t achieve that because our lives are so intertwined. You know, like I can’t even think about basketball schedule without looking at my phone, you know, because everything’s digital for us these days. But at grandparents’ house, like I feel like if we’re intentional, we can step back in time for a minute and really build those relationships and focus on each other.
Yeah, well, and it’s just reminding our kids that that one-on-one in-person interaction is valuable. Like I think back to my grandma, we would go to the store and buy every carton of whoppers Now, I don’t know if you know what that is. They’re like the court-sized container full of whoppers and they’d be on the shelf and we would literally clear it out. I mean, sometimes it’d be 10, sometimes it would be 40, but we would get all the whoppers. And I have this memory of that and it’s laughing and giggling. We’d go back to the house and she would teach me how to crochet and it was an in-person connection that is so different than what a lot of our kids are experiencing, and I want that for my kids, like you’re saying. And so I think finding that balance of reminding our parents that what they have to offer is valuable and then also reminding our kids there’s wisdom here to be gained from this in-person relationship, Absolutely, and I just want to circle back here.
So, whoppers, are you talking about the malt chocolate ball? Whoppers? Yes, so this is where your addiction to chocolate came in, kim.
I don’t know what you’re talking about. What Grandma is the culprit here? It’s 100% her fault. Yes, it’s not your fault.
Your chocolate addiction is not your fault. No, yeah, I want to walk through kind of though, because sometimes I think grandparents, they I think there’s a pressure on them that they feel like when my grandkids come visit, I have to be cool with the tech stuff because they’re cool with the tech stuff. And I guess I would say to grandparents like, take that pressure off yourself, be different, be different than the world, be a safe place, a place where one-on-one connection is valued so much more than anywhere else. I know, you know, my kids are now 19 and 16 and one of the gifts that my mom and my in-laws gave us was when the kids were little and they lived close by. When that was the case, once a month they would take the kids and we would have a weekend all to ourselves and my mom would get the son and then my in-laws would get the daughter. Then the next month they would switch. You know they would flip-flop.
But my kids now they look back and they have such special memories, like my mother-in-law. They would go out and pick leaves and then they would press the leaves into a book and they would look it up, and my daughter loves nature. I think she got that for my mother-in-law because of these moments. The other thing is my mom would do baking challenges with them. She’s a big cook and so she would set a timer and they would do have so many ingredients they would have to use and do a baking challenge.
And so, again, my kids they love to cook. Both of them still love to cook and bake. I think they get that because of those memories. And the cool thing about this is not only are you giving them that one-on-one connection and that special memory that only you guys have, right, but in this day and age, they need to be reminded that life can actually slow down and be like that, like we can all put our phones down, we can all put our screens down and love on each other and create memories with one another. And you know, no matter what happens in the future, as the grandparents get older and maybe not able to do those things, my kids are going to have those special memories, and I think that is what I want to get everybody thinking about. The memories that they’re making together.
Yeah, for sure and I do want to say here like we don’t want to present this storybook picture that everybody has grandma and grandpa in their life, because we know that that’s not always the case, Like for me and Mandy both we came from divorced households and sometimes that’s not always the situation. You don’t have grandparents in your life. But I will say that for us, we have some grandparents in our life, but we’ve also made friends with kind of like heads up moms that are a little bit older and who will love on our kids, and I think that’s super important, Like if you don’t have mom and dad in your life to play that role. If you’re able to connect with people who are a little bit older, who pour some wisdom in them and share some special moments, it’s super important. It has been a blessing in our life for our kids to have people other than ourselves that they know they can count on, that they can learn from and they can have these wonderful experiences with.
I love that you said that. Any older folks that are listening to this show and I’m thinking 60 plus we need you, we want you, we want you involved in our kids lives. We want our kids to learn from you. And I would say, younger parents that have kids, littles or teenagers or whatever get involved in a local church. This is the best way that you’re going to meet these older generation. That’s the great thing about a church. It’s like older people mentoring and pouring into younger people, and that is the church in action, and so this is kind of what we’re talking about. But today I want to focus on three things. Kim, any grandparents or any older folks that are listening to this show, what do they need to know about? What’s going on with our kids and tech?
So, first of all, I think it’s important that grandparents need to know the world has changed and that seems very broad and basic, but a lot of times we’re thinking through this lens of what’s happening with our kids and with technology, and our parents are on a whole different level, and so we get frustrated with them. So it’s super important that we patiently explain and give some examples of how the world is different, not only from when we were kids, when they were raising us, but, my goodness, from when they were kids, and I think it’s really great because we can learn it together. Even us, as parents, we’re learning what our kids are up against in this world today.
Well, I know with you, know our parents and our kids, grandparents, one of the things they see the world has changed. But a lot of times where I think I add value in helping them understand the kids culture is saying you know, they’ll see a trend happening on the news or whatever and I’ll be like, well, that’s a TikTok thing or that’s a YouTube thing. When I point that out, then they make the connection that the kids are so overexposed because of the phones. And then I can also say you know, even though your grandkids doesn’t have a phone yet I mean this was before my kids had a phone even though your grandkids doesn’t have a phone yet, they’re talking about this on the playground. So when fourth grade happened, I said that to my parents. I said, hey, you know she doesn’t have a phone yet, but these kids are discussing porn at school because that’s how readily available it is. It’s with a click of a button they can watch any kind of video and that kind of awakens them. Oh my gosh.
So tech is a really big culprit here as to why our culture is changing so fast. Because sometimes I don’t know, you know they’re not in the algorithm on TikTok that our kids are. They’re not on the same thing, and so sometimes they just don’t make the connection about the tech and how it’s really impacting our kids. And so just little practical things. You don’t need to school them, you don’t. Please do not be dismissive of your parents. They just don’t know. It’s just like when our kids tell us about something happening on TikTok and we have no idea. You know our kids aren’t being dismissive to us, they’re being informative and so that’s the whole thing. When you’re talking about learning together, it’s not about like, oh my gosh, you’ve missed this, you don’t know. It’s about wow, tech is moving really fast. Let’s all figure this out together.
Well, yeah, and I think it also goes both ways.
Like you know, when my kids come to me and they tell me something and I’m learning about their space same with grandparents, like a lot of times they’ll come to you and say, oh my gosh, I saw this thing or I heard this thing or I did this thing, and they need a safe place to process it as well.
And if you have that information and you can walk them through it with, like you said, mandy, without being dismissive, that’s really helpful because it’s you know they’re learning it right alongside with you and your kid and sometimes it’s not a safe place for them to ask, like someone at the Apple store or whatever who might look at them like why don’t you know this? You get to be that safe place. You get to be that place where they can ask questions and be concerned and if you have a good tone, you can help walk them through it and answer their questions. And I think for us anyway, that has been super helpful. We’ve become like a. It’s like a full circle. We’ve become kind of the teachers and the helpers of our parents because of what we’re learning from our kids.
Well, and I think that’s that’s what’s cool about this is we’re all on the same page and we’re all having open communication in the extended family and bringing the grandparents into it. You know, not only are we all working together to keep our kids safe and raising this awareness, but we’re all helping each other and so making sure our older folks are taking advantage of by some tech scam or anything like that, because it’s a whole thing and they are being targeted.
So so, number one the world has changed and we all need to recognize that. Number two so this is a big one. With grandparents, no secrets in our family. We have to adopt a no secrets family policy, and I say this because early on in this journey, one of the things that I was noticing a lot of was grooming online grooming, in-person grooming and when I first started, I had a fourth grader and a kindergartner, and so I didn’t want to share these scary stories with them about people being groomed, because, you know, I don’t want them to not trust anyone in their life, be scared of everybody, right, but one of the patterns that I would see always in this grooming situation would be adults asking Kids to keep secrets. So this is an example that I give at events so that grandparents can understand what I’m saying here this grooming stuff that I’m seeing, you know, and let’s talk about it like in person.
There’s online stuff that happens to people sliding up in kids DMs asking them to keep secrets, simple secrets, not big secrets. That’s how it starts out at first, because you gain trust. But let’s talk about this as an example from an in-person. So I want you to think of a scale of zero to ten. Ten is crisis mode. So ten is your kid has been physically, sexually abused by someone. Okay, that’s the crisis mode in this example. Over here at one, two and three Groomer is going to exhibit red flags that we should be able to pick up on to prevent that ten from happening.
So, for example, say you have an elementary son who plays football. He comes home and he says oh my gosh, coaches using the F word at practice and he’s telling everybody Don’t tell your parents. So that’s a secret that an adult is asking your kid to keep from you Before next talk. I would not have thought anything ever, sure like I never would have even thought of this as a teachable moment. But this is a big teachable moment about grooming and manipulation. So now my response would be hey, son, thank you so much for telling me. No, adults should be asking you to keep a secret from me. So because coach asked you, we’re gonna move coach from the green light to the yellow light. Kind of think of a stop light. If coach asked you to keep another secret from me, we need to have a conversation right away. You need to tell me Okay, are you all right with that? Yes, do you want me to contact coach? Because I don’t think it’s okay. He’s using the F word with fourth graders. And then, right, your son will probably say, oh, my gosh. No, that’s so embarrassing. So you say, okay, I will honor that, but you have to promise me if he asked you to keep another secret, you will tell me okay. So that’s like a step one.
As this escalates, what happens is say you’re running late for practice, coach says to your fourth grader hey, have you ever had alcohol before? I have a beer in my car, but if you take a drink and I’ll give you a sip just so you can see what it’s like, but listen to me, you cannot tell anyone. If you tell anyone that I gave you alcohol, I will not be allowed to be your football coach and but I will get fired. Listen, parents, grandparents, if your little boy takes a sip of that alcohol and Does not tell you, like coach does not get a call from you addressing the situation, that coach knows he can do whatever he wants with your grandchild Because there’s secrets. Do you see that like the kid has been manipulated into keeping a secret from his parents.
So I was seeing all this play out and I had a fourth grader in a kindergarten. I’m like how do I talk to my kids about this? And so my husband and I came up with this we’re gonna have no secrets in our family. And it was working out fantastic. It was catching all kinds of stuff, and it caught silly stuff too. You know that I wouldn’t dismiss. I would always say thank you so much for telling me. I think this is a safe person. But you know, let’s move them from the green light to the yellow light kind of thing.
But here’s the thing I was not prepared for the time my kid came home from grandparents sleepover and Said we were driving home and my kid was super quiet in the car and then all of a sudden he burst out and he said I had eight popsicles for breakfast and they told me not to tell you.
They told me it was a secret and a light bulb just went off in my brain. I have not told my parents that we have a no secrets family policy and how important it is and why we have it like giving them the grooming example as to why we implemented this no secrets family policy. So after that day I called both sets of grandparents and I explained the situation to them and I said I want you to spoil your grandkids. They can have eight popsicles for breakfast when they’re at your house, like it’s no problem, but please can we stop using phrases like what happens at grandma, stays at grandma’s, or don’t tell your parents, even if it’s about something stupid like sugar, because that’s how groomers groom our kids with stupid little things like listening to music, wearing wearing the same color, like that’s how they groom our kids into gaining trust. And once I explained it, the grandparents were like oh my gosh, why didn’t you tell me?
I didn’t know well and you know your experience was sharing this with the grandparents went really well. They were like, oh my goodness, I didn’t know. We want to be on your team. It may not always go well. I think in most cases grandparents will care about the situation and about their grandkids and they will wanna be a part of the solution. It may look different and they may not see it the way that you do, but if you can get on the same page of how can we best protect this kid, I think that’s our goal and, like I said, every situation is different, but getting on the same page is really important.
It is very, very important. Like if the grandparent in your kid’s life right now is using a clause like what happens at grandma stays at grandma’s, they don’t know. Please don’t yell at them. Go in and say, hey, I think we need to have a conversation, cause that phrase bothers me a bit, and what it’s basically saying is yay, we get to spoil our grandkids and I don’t wanna take that from you. I want you to spoil the grandkids.
But this no secrets thing is really important to me because of online grooming, because of in-person grooming. It is a way that helps keep our kids safe, and so if we can work together on this and so then give some little practical tips that your grandparents can say to your kids, so say, your kids bring up something Like hey, this happened at school today and oh my gosh, it’s a big word. They say it to their grandparents. A great one liner is to be like hey, have you told mom or dad that? Like, have you had a conversation with them about that? That way, you don’t have to worry about figuring it all out. You don’t know the background of that friendship or whatever, like maybe the parent does, but you’ve got some one liners that are always pushing it back to hey, your family’s the safe place. Go talk to them about this kind of thing.
The idea and the concept of us all being on one team. If we can find a way to do that, that is the best space for our kids. Okay, so the world has changed. That’s tip number one. Number two no secrets in our family. The third thing that we think is really important for grandparents to know is make memories Be the solution. And again this goes back to the whole team idea, like we’re all on the same team, even if we differ about a few things. Ultimately, we want the kids to be safe, no matter what’s happening in the world. So one of the things is engage and ask.
You know, what’s really cool is I had a grandparent come to an event recently. It was a grandfather and he had a question during the Q and A section which I loved and he basically was saying I help both my grandkids mom and dad work and so sometimes I’ll pick my grandkids up from school and that’s like how I help them out, which I loved. That Again, it’s that team effort, like we’re all working together here to help our kids, right, and but they said sometimes they’re like downloading stuff from the school about what’s happening with their friend group or whatever, and sometimes the grandfather is like I am pressing into, hey, did you talk to your mom or dad about that? Like I am saying those things, but what happens if I follow them with mom and dad and they’re not?
talking about them. So they didn’t like take the extra step. And so I loved this because grandpa is engaging, he’s invested, he’s making sure that okay, grandkid is telling me this. I’m saying go talk to mom and dad, but I’m following up to make sure it’s happening, because I wanna make sure their questions are getting answered, because these are big subjects that they’re bringing up to me, and so I loved this so much and I said you know, in a perfect world, what could happen here is you can go back to mom and dad and you can say, hey, they asked me about this.
I don’t want you to bring it up to them directly, because I want them to know that they can tell me things and they’re safe here, you know. But at the same time, you need to be aware so you can steer conversations or bring things up from maybe a TV show around the subject or whatever. But I want you to know that this is going around in their little mind about what this is. And that way you have adults working together in the background and you’re not getting rid of the kid’s safe place, right? Because kid likes to hop in the car with grandpa and just download, and then sometimes it may not even be intentional about not following up with mom and dad. It’s just they forget. I mean their attention span’s so low they may just forget about it. But you have grandparents engaged and they’re saying, hey, mom and dad, this is happening. But mom and dad is not saying grandpa told me that.
Grandpa told me that don’t do that, because then your kid is not gonna feel safe with grandpa, and we want kid to feel safe with grandpa.
I love that so much because that is such a special relationship and we wanna preserve that. I would also add to that as grandma or grandpa or special caretaker or mentor in the kid’s life is it’s never a bad idea to connect with parents and say I wanna support what you’re saying here, like what is your take on this? So if the kid is talking to you and downloading with you, you don’t wanna confuse the kid. If you’re saying one thing and mom and dad are saying something different, that could be a really bad situation. So I think getting on the same page is super important.
Well, and a lot of cultural stuff. Sometimes, like I found my my parents don’t know the shellicacies of how to have that conversation versus us more on social media and we’re in it with our kids more like we’re monitoring our kids phones, so we know the tone of kind of conversations that we need to go in. So we always want, if we can, we always want parents taking the lead on and grandparents be backup, right, being like support, yes, but, but this is a. This is a little example of like the conversation and bringing parents into the conversation. But this third point is so important about making memories.
Kim, the world is moving so fast for your kids. They are on the playground and they are hearing political stuff and culture, wars, first graders, like that’s what they’re hearing. So if you can be the place like the refuge that when they come to your house it’s slower and it’s board games and it’s baking and it’s crocheting and you are, you have no idea the value that you’re bringing to the table. Grandparents, if you could do this for us I mean you you have no idea because it’s really hard with us as as everything we have juggling, like we try to do the board games and we try to do, but it’s going so fast for us and we’re all juggling all these balls in the air that we feel like we just can’t keep up with.
That’s how parents are feeling today. We’re we’re checking the phones every night or, you know, we’re making sure their YouTube searches are okay. We’re doing all of that, and so if you could present this back to basics world for them, where it’s more simple and it’s about connection and making memories, that is the gift that we’ll keep on giving for generations. They are going to tell their kids about that because they realize it’s different, it feels different. We’re not talking about all this weird cultural crap all the time. This is like special, like we’re just spending time with one another and we’re loving each other. This is needed so much in our world today. Like if I could give every kid this, like a special memory place that they can make with a grandparent or an older person in our world. Like this is what we need for our children. It’s so invaluable.
Really is so invaluable.
You are absolutely right, mandy, and if you are a mom or dad listening, you need to share this with them.
You need to tell them because I think a lot of times grandparents feel dismissed, they feel not relevant, they feel like what is my role in this space? And taking the 10 minutes to say here’s why you are invaluable, like, literally, the wisdom that you can share, the time without being rushed, that you can give to my kids is such a blessing, like they need to know that and that will bless them. But a lot of times we don’t take the time to do that because we think they know, and so if you are a parent listening, please share that with your mom or dad or the elder person in your life that can speak into your kids, because they need to be encouraged about their role with our children and how important that it is. Like Mandy said, it is the gift that keeps on giving. It is the time that transforms relationships and encourages our kids and gives them support and love at a time when everything feels very crazy for them.
Well and grandparents share. When you’re visiting with your grandkids, share stories of when you were growing up. I mean, my mom had four brothers and sisters and there were no phones. They had one car for they were and they would like go out and use glass jars for water balloons Like just stupid stuff. Yes, it was so unsafe my mom cut her finger open from it. But those are the memories that my mom would say to my kids and be like but we didn’t have, we didn’t know. It was just like creative play outside and some of my best memories are of that, when we would get on our bikes and go down to the pond and go fishing on the dirt road and that’s what we did when we grew up.
Like my mom, sharing those memories with my kids. And my kids start to see the world different because they’ve grown up digital. They’ve grown up everything fast and tech and everything’s divisive and everything’s a argument and every you know that’s how they’ve grown up. And if you could paint this picture for them of how you grew up and how special that was, then I think we may have an opportunity here to even out this generation so they get a balance of maybe some tech but then some of the connection and the memory making that our goal is for our kids. I just can’t say it enough. Grandparents, elderly people, you have a huge, huge role to play in this. You can do this for our kids more than we can do this for our kids, and we’re asking you to step up and do it. Pour into kids, pour into your family. We need you. This podcast is ad free because of all the people who donate to our nonprofit.
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This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional or to diagnose, treat or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological or legal problem. Listeners are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional, or to diagnose, treat, or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological, or legal problem. Listeners are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
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