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Hey, this is Mandy and Kim with nextTalk, where we are passionate about keeping kids safe in the digital world.
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0:00:32 – Speaker 1
More than cyber parenting conversations to connect.
0:00:36 – Speaker 2
So today we’re doing this show about aging out and we’re going to get into what all that means. But let’s talk about where we got the idea from. First, and I’m just going to say it it was from your second book. I’m excited for you, girl, I’m tired.
0:00:52 – Speaker 1
Yeah, it’s been a long time. I’m depleted over here. I am depleted.
0:00:57 – Speaker 2
0:00:58 – Speaker 1
Yeah, so I wrote my second book this year, in 2020, and right now my oldest child is 16. And when I wrote my first book, she was 12. A lot has changed in how I’m parenting the digital world, and so, as I’m writing my book, I’m writing about this concept of you have to get them to age out of some things. The guidelines that you have in place at 16 are going to look differently than the guidelines you have in place at three Absolutely Surrounding screens, right, and so that’s where this idea of aging out came from. We have a nextTalk team member. She calls it your exit strategy from exiting some of the guidelines that you set up when they’re little, and so, whatever you want to call it, that’s kind of the concept that it came from.
0:01:44 – Speaker 2
All right, Well, that sounds good, but I want to go back to hearing more about this second book. So tell me about that a little more so our listeners can understand what it’s all about and why you wrote it.
0:01:57 – Speaker 1
I’m super excited about this book. I wanted this book to be able to be read in less than three hours, cover to cover, like a short flight, a quick afternoon, whatever Hiding a closet from your kids.
I mean we’re all busy, right, and it was really challenging for me. I mean, we all know I like words and I’m wordy and I like to talk. I mean I wrote a book called Talk and so it was very challenging for me to get every word to be significant and have content and have meaning, because I wanted to pack a lot of information in there. But I wanted it, I wanted you to be able to get through it quickly.
0:02:40 – Speaker 2
Well, and one of the things I love about this book is so often we’re doing an event and you’re up there speaking and you’re talking about all these amazing things, and someone at that event leaves and says I wish I had brought my husband or my neighbor or my best friend, and they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to wrap that all up and share what they’ve learned, because they know it’s so impactful. And I feel like that’s exactly what you’ve done here.
0:03:05 – Speaker 1
This is the event. I have taken the event and I really felt like God calling me to this in 2019. Actually, at the end of last year, I went to you and my husband my two closest friends, right and I said, hey, I think God’s giving me this vision. Like I’m supposed to write this short book that is a summary of the event presentation and both of you guys kind of had the same response, which was Do you really want to do that?
0:03:31 – Speaker 2
Well, anybody have come to me, so I’m laughing, because we were like what, no, no.
0:03:37 – Speaker 1
And I was like but you don’t understand. All these people are like I wish I had all these things written down so that you could, that I could take it home to my husband or I could get it for my best friend. This is the solution. Let’s write the book. And little did I know that in 2020, all of our events would be canceled. So I look back now and I’m like, oh, my goodness, god was preparing a way for this message to keep going, even though our events were all postponed. I mean, I don’t have an in-person event now until 2021.
0:04:07 – Speaker 2
Yeah, he always knows. Imagine that. So I’m thankful once again for your obedience. Tell us the name of the book and where people can get it.
0:04:18 – Speaker 1
This book is called Keeping Kids Safe in a Digital World a solution that works, and I’ve taken what I try to do is take this really complex issue and break it down to three simple chapters. So chapter one is identifying the problem what are we facing today that other generations of parents didn’t have to face? Chapter two is searching for a solution that works what really keeps our kids safe in the digital world. And chapter three is my absolute favorite part of the entire book and it’s the 10 practical ideas to implement the solution in your home.
0:04:50 – Speaker 2
And that’s really my event presentation, and so people will say, hey, do you have these 10 practical ideas that I can take home and now I do yes, because we’ve all been to something where the speaker is sharing some amazing information and we’re doodling all over these papers and we’re taking notes. And then we’re so excited we get home and we want to share it with everybody and we’re trying to make sense of what we’ve put down on these little papers half of a napkin and the back of your church bulletin and you’re trying to put it all together to tell your family and they’re like, OK, now what? And so this does it for us, which I love, and you’ve done such a beautiful job putting this together For those of us who want to share the message of nextTalk and your book in a more concise form and get people on board. So I think everybody needs a book, I mean.
I’m maybe a little partial.
0:05:44 – Speaker 1
But I think you’re biased. You’re like a mama who it doesn’t see any wrong with me. But yes, yeah, and you can get it on Amazon. It’s, there’s Kindle version. You can get it primed to you, whatever you need.
0:05:56 – Speaker 2
So you are writing the book and we’re always thinking about content and what we’re going to cover and praying about what God wants us to share in the podcast, and this whole aging out concept just kept coming up for both of us, and even a mama I was talking to recently was like you know. I feel like some of the things that I told my kids they really needed to do before are not making so much sense anymore. When do I make that transition? And so that’s what this show really is all about being able to set those standards in your house at a young age, but then changing and shifting and growing with your kids as they get older so that they become more independent and grasp onto that knowledge themselves and go with it 100%.
0:06:38 – Speaker 1
You summarize that really well. I mean, I have a 16-year-old and more than likely she’s going to be moving out in two years and going to college, and I don’t want her to get to college and be like my computer is now in my bedroom and I’ve never had this before. I don’t know how to interact with this. Or, you know, mom’s not here to tell me to get off screens. What do I do? And so we want to create this process of them self-regulating and then creating their own healthy balance with screens. They need to become their own little manager. So that’s the goal, and I think we can look at a couple key things that we normally implement at a young age and how they transition. So I think we need to give some examples to our listeners about what this really looks like.
0:07:23 – Speaker 2
I just have to share the story because I think it kind of makes your point as well. I just heard it the other day this mom said her daughter went off to college and called her in a panic because I guess there was this issue or at her campus there’s this issue with theft of things like cell phones and laptops and technology, and so everybody brings their phone with them into the bathroom, not just to be on but also for safety reasons. And her daughter literally called in a panic and was like what do I do? What do I do? I have to bring my phone into the bathroom. And she realized in that moment that she had not empowered her daughter to make a sound decision about technology and her use of it. Like, of course you can take it with you, just don’t turn it on, don’t use it in the bathroom. And here’s this 18-year-old that she’s talking through this. So I think it’s super important that we have these, these conversations that help the kids shift, I guess.
0:08:17 – Speaker 1
Well, and this is why it’s always important to explain the why behind your rules. You know so when they’re little. The why behind the bathroom rule that we always recommend no phones in bathrooms is we just need you to know that it’s not okay to take pictures without clothes on, or you could be caught in a mirror. You could you could be taking a selfie and not realize something is caught in a mirror. Yes, we need you to have that responsibility and then, when you get it a certain age, you’re going to be able to to discern if you need to take it in the bathroom or not and what you can do with it in the bathroom.
0:08:50 – Speaker 2
It’s almost like we go from awareness to discernment. It’s like that that leap there as they get older.
0:08:56 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. So let’s look at some things we talked about. You know the bathroom, um, let’s talk about the bedroom, because that’s one of the things that we recommend as nextTalk is no phones in bedrooms. And for a three year old, on the family tablet, that makes perfect sense. For an 11, 12 or 13 year old who just got their first phone, that makes perfect sense, right, because they are learning. We don’t want them behind a screen is too much temptation. Their little brains are still developing.
So with COVID we’ve had in virtual learning, we’ve had a lot of to set up a lot of workstations in our home, like we’ve had to adjust, like a lot of other families, right, and so one of the things that my daughter said my 16 year old is she said I want my workstation away from little brother when I’m on calls for school. I need privacy, I need quiet, I want to focus and you know, my husband and I talked and we were like, okay, we’ve never, out of all the random phone checks we’ve done, we’ve never found anything on her phone that has caused an alarm for us that she had. There’s been things, but she’s already told us about him, right, and she’s demonstrating great responsibility. She’s interning in our youth group. You know, all these things are coming together and we’re seeing her make really wise decisions and my husband and I were like it’s time she’s aged out of this bedroom thing. We’re going to set up a desk in her room.
We’re going to get her a new laptop that’s going to help her right now, junior, senior year and through college, we’re going to set her up for success here and we’re going to explain to her that she’s aging out because she’s made really great decisions and we’re going to celebrate it. Yes, we’re going to praise her and we’re going to say you’re going to be leaving in two years and we want you to be able to self manage the laptop that’s going to be right next to you in your dorm room or where our apartment or wherever she’s going to live, right. And so we had that conversation and it was almost like you’ve graduated, yay. It empowered her and she’s making really wise decisions with this laptop.
0:10:55 – Speaker 2
Absolutely, and I’m sure it makes her feel good, too, that you are seeing the things that you shared with her and asked her to do. She followed through on and now she gets the benefit of that. She made good decisions and now she gets some independence Absolutely Another one that they kind of has tweaked and aged.
0:11:13 – Speaker 1
So one of the guidelines if you’ve followed us for a long time or you’ve read any of my books, you’ve heard me say when I was a student I was a student in the middle of a college, and I’m not saying that in any of my books you’ve heard me say when our kids were little, we had a guideline that you report anything in a bathing suit or less. That did not mean that we thought all bathing suit pictures were bad or we were shaming people, but that was just our threshold to try and figure out. Okay, tell us when you see something. Now that my kids are older, you know they’re 16 and my youngest is now 13. So I have two teams in the house, right, bless it.
Having teenagers it’s fun, always a lot of fun conversations.
But now we’ve explained to them the difference between a bathing suit picture, a group of kids standing by a pool all taking a picture in their bathing suits, right, versus this sexy pose. I’m going to turn a certain way so you can see my butt cheek hanging out of my. I mean, do I need to describe it Like sending a message with your body? There’s a difference between an innocent bathing suit picture and a sexy, you know, like a sexualized pose in a bathing suit. And so now we say, okay, you know the difference, so I don’t need you to report to me all of the bathing suit pictures, you see, I just need you to report those sexualized those that you go back and you’re like whoa and you’re looking at it because it’s it’s a little bit cross and align. Those are the ones that we need to talk about. And then we go into the conversations about not objectifying people, not looking, not shaming the person. But you know why we don’t? We don’t take those kinds of pictures because it makes people look at you in a different light.
0:12:54 – Speaker 2
On one hand, this aging out concept is so important because we want to equip them and encourage them to be making these decisions without mom standing over their shoulder or mom being that person all the time that they have to report everything to. We want them to be able to self-regulate, like you said. But another side of it that I see is if we’re not shifting them into a more mature state of mind and dealing with these things, they can become really judgmental because it’s just real, every bathing suit I see is wrong. And if they don’t, if you don’t walk them through maturing on what they’re looking at and processing it, then it just stays in that kind of kid state of like wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and we don’t want that either. We don’t want our kids to be at that state of mind and judging people in that way. So I think it’s twofold it’s preparing them for the world and also helping them mature in the way they see the world.
0:13:44 – Speaker 1
Absolutely 100%. Another way it’s changed over the years is random phone checks. You know so when they first got their phone, I’m checking it every day. At first, yeah Right, and then a week goes by, and yeah, a week goes by and we’re good. So maybe it turns out that I’m checking the phone every week or every couple of days, right by 16, I’m doing random phone checks maybe once a month, once every couple of months. Now listen, if I saw bad grades happening, if I saw behavioral issues out of the ordinary, I mean every kid is going to have attitude and every kid is going to show who struggles. But you know what I mean? Like something serious that you’re, like something is wrong with my kid. You know you’re better than anyone when you see that I would be doing random phone checks way more.
I love the analogy. One of our pastors said it’s like a kite string and so, the more they demonstrate trust and the more good decisions they make, you let that kite string out and you let them fly. Now, once they’re flying, they may make a bad decision and you may have to reel that in and have some more conversations, but then, as they’re growing and learning this online world, you let that kite string out again, because what we want is our kids to leave our nest and leave our house, being able to fly with social media and have a healthy balance with screens.
0:15:07 – Speaker 2
All of this is so good. You know, as your kids are getting older, to be thinking about these things, and so often parents will say, well, what, what age do I do this at and what age do I do that at? And so I just want to encourage you here that you know your kid and every kid is different Pay attention to the things they’re saying, pay attention to the wins and the things they’re listening to and actually modeling in the way that you’ve taught them, and that’s going to be the age when you know it’s time to shift, and that’s going to look different for every child out there.
0:15:36 – Speaker 1
And if you’re finding things on your kids phone that they haven’t told you about or talked about, do not give more freedom. You need to build the trust before you give more freedom again, because there’s that secrecy component that we don’t want. The other thing, the other caution is you know I have a 16 and a 13 year old. It looks very different. I would not allow my 13 year old right now to have a laptop in his room all by himself. And it’s not because he’s a boy, it’s because he’s 13. It’s just different. He’s not ready yet. You know, he just got a phone. We’re still working through those phone basics Now.
0:16:10 – Speaker 2
Once he ages a little bit more he’ll get more freedom, and when he turns 16, it’s going to look different than when your daughter turns 16. Every kid is different. Just pay attention to each child and meet them where they’re at.
0:16:23 – Speaker 1
Absolutely, and some guidelines may never expire. So one that we talk with our kids a lot about is sleeping with your phone. We still have a spot in our house where we’re like, at the end of the night, y’all put them up Now. When they were little, I would collect them Now. It’s kind of their responsibility. But we talk about how we want this to be a healthy habit when they move out. So I want you, when you’re an adult and when you’re a parent, I want you to have enough self-control where your phone is away from your bed, so you’re not waking up at 2am and can’t sleep. And then I’m going to scroll through Twitter Because we’ve all done that and we know it’s bad. Absolutely, it’s not healthy. We wake up grumpy and we’ve had all this intake in the middle of the night. It’s just not healthy for our brains. We need sleep, and so we’re explaining the why as to why that one doesn’t age out.
One last thing celebrate the wins, and what I mean by that is as your kid gets older, you’re going to see them making really wise choices, sometimes with their phones, and that is something to be celebrated and discussed. So my 16-year-old a couple of weekends ago we were Saturday, we were doing something. And she’s like oh, by the way, I’m taking a social media break this weekend. I’ve decided no social media for me. Woo-hoo, I mean, that’s a win, right? Yeah, it is. And so by the end of the weekend, I could say how did you feel? And one of the things that she said was I felt more productive.
I felt more plugged in. I didn’t point those things out to her. I wanted her to experience those things because she’s becoming again like a manager of her own digital online stuff. She’s aging out, she’s aging out and I’m really not sad about it.
0:18:03 – Speaker 2
I’m more sad than you are. I’m excited. So to wrap up as your child gets older, allow them to earn more freedom in the digital world by building trust. Kids will age out of some guidelines, but if guidelines don’t change over time, explain why and celebrate the wins. Celebrate the freedom they’ve earned and any decisions they make on their own to have a healthy balance. Hey, thanks for tuning in and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. Have a great week, Thank you.
Transcribed by https://podium.page