0:00:02 – Speaker 1
Welcome to the nextTalk podcast, where we share real stories and practical advice for parenting the digital world.
0:00:09 – Speaker 2
We’re your hosts, Mandy and Kim. Mandy is an award-winning author and the founder of nextTalk, and I’m the director of nextTalk, a nonprofit organization created to strengthen families through open communication. You can check out all of our resources at NextTalkorg.
0:00:24 – Speaker 1
We’re your wives, moms and friends tackling culturally relevant topics from a Christian perspective. We’re sharing what we’ve learned and where we’ve failed. We’re so glad you’re here for this conversation. Okay, parents, you’ve decided I’m getting my kid a phone.
0:00:42 – Speaker 2
You’re taking a leap. What do you do? We want to make it simple for you.
0:00:46 – Speaker 1
Three things. Three things you need to do if you’ve decided your kid is ready for a phone. We thought this would be a great time to do this podcast. Put it in a simple package for you, because we know lots of you may be wrapping up that phone and putting it under your Christmas tree this year.
0:01:05 – Speaker 2
If you’re doing that, though, we don’t want you to go into it blindly. These three things are going to be crucial, critical, important.
0:01:12 – Speaker 1
We’re going to get right to it. Everybody’s busy, we’ve got presents to wrap. We’ve got shopping to do. Number one explain why your kid earned it. I think this is so important because it builds the relationship and the trust with your kid. Here’s my suggestion If you are wrapping it up as a gift this year, write a letter or have a conversation after they open it. Do you remember when you told me about what your friend group was doing? or do you remember when you walked into the bathroom at school and those people were doing that and you came home and told me that use practical examples that are fresh in their mind that tell them. okay, because I’m confiding in mom and dad and I’m telling them what’s going on in my online world and in real life at school. I am building trust and that’s why I have earned this freedom.
0:02:05 – Speaker 2
When we had this conversation with our kiddo, we wanted to point out different areas of life as to why we thought he was ready for his phone. So, like you mentioned, mandy, things he reported that he saw online things at school or within his friend group, also at home, the way that he was treating his siblings, his respect for mom and dad following through on his chores. And then the other one that we thought was important was the need He needed a phone for these very specific reasons. It wasn’t just because everybody else was getting a phone. So we approached it from those three, gave some very specific examples and it was a really helpful conversation. I think he really got it Like this is why I’m getting a phone. Okay, makes sense.
0:02:47 – Speaker 1
Well, and it empowers him because he’s earned it. I think what we need to get away from is oh, you’re 14, now you get a phone. Like they don’t just magically turn an age and then they’re ready for a phone. This is about building trust and building a relationship, and each kid is gonna be different at a different age And so, again, i love, kim, how you approach this with your son, because you’re modeling for him. These are the things you’re doing amazing, and this is why you’ve earned this privilege, earned this freedom. So, number one, explain why your kid earned it. This is important for relationship building. Don’t miss that.
Step Two create clear guidelines and expectations. Now Kim mentioned you know we told our son he earned this because he would report things that we were clear about, that we wanted reported. You should already have clear guidelines set up in your home about what they’re reporting to you. We have a whole show on just these guidelines, but just if I wanna throw a couple out, your kid needs to be reporting to you things like anyone in a bathing suit or less. Now, in the beginning, that’s the threshold. That will change over time because they’re gonna be seeing lots of bathing suit pictures. Eventually it’ll become those highly sexualized pictures that you keep looking at. Looking at. Those are the ones we wanna talk about then. So it moves with your kid.
But anyone online asking for personal info So that could be like Xbox or playing Roblox, anything like that new words or concepts you don’t know, just any new idea that is brought up online or on the bus or in a classroom and you’re just not sure what it is.
Come home and ask us Anything about sex, dating, marriage Let’s just talk about that Any violence, mean or bullying language. So you’ve got this core set of guidelines. I want you to report these things to me. Then, when you start checking their iPad use or checking their Xbox use or looking at their phone during random phone checks and you’re finding some of these things that they didn’t tell you about, that’s an obvious conversation. Hey, i was very clear about what I wanted reported and this wasn’t reported. So we need to have a conversation here. So those guidelines need to be in place before they get a phone and they need to be carried over into this phone era, and so it’s a constant building of trust. Like I know, you’re gonna be exposed to things on this device, but I’m trusting you to talk to me about it, and so we can have a conversation here.
0:05:28 – Speaker 2
In that same vein, we wanna set up those kind of guidelines for the way that they interact with their phone. And this is so important. I mean, you have been at dinner at a restaurant and looked over and seen a whole family on their phones and nobody’s talking. If that’s okay with you, that’s fine, your family, your choice. But if it’s not, you have to communicate things like that with your kid from the get go, so everybody’s on the same page. So things like no phones at meals, no phones in bedrooms or bathrooms, no downloading of new apps without approval, no deleting of texts allowed especially now with the new update That’s a whole thing. So you have to go over those kinds of things. So they establish that baseline. And I always tell my kids hey, these rules, yes, they’ll grow and change with you, but I may add more as I discover them. These things can change, but we’ll always discuss it before I enforce it.
0:06:20 – Speaker 1
You know, another conversation to have is your phone is not a diary. Everything can be discovered in your phone And so it’s not a place where you have privacy. And I want to drill that into my kids so they understand, like, even when you delete it, there’s a way to get it back. You know tech people can find a way. Also, it could be screenshot before you’ve deleted it and put on Twitter in a public forum. The other thing, too, Kim, that I want to be real clear here is your kid’s getting a phone for Christmas. We are recommending it. nextTalk. They wouldn’t have social media at first. That is an earned thing as well, And it’s earned one platform at a time. So when your kid unwraps a phone, it’s not a free for all. They’re not downloading Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, all in the same phase.
Day of Christmas. Right. We want to walk them through each of these platforms and teach them how to use each of the platforms, learn it ourselves and be involved in their online world. My daughter now is 18. We went Instagram, snapchat, twitter, tiktok. She says TikTok affected her the most. It was the worst one out of all of them And I see a lot of kids now starting with TikTok.
So this is a red flag alert for me And we’ve got littles getting phones for the first time downloading TikTok. That’s their first social media platform. That’s a huge concern of mine. We always recommend Instagram as the first starter platform because you can be logged into their account and see everything That includes the DMs. You can fully monitor. that. That does not mean Instagram does not have porn or it’s a holy app. It’s not the case. Your kid has social media. your kid has a phone. They’re going to see porn. They’re going to see inappropriate stuff. The key here is that they are going to come home and report it to you so that you can have a conversation about what they’ve been exposed to.
0:08:17 – Speaker 2
And I just want to circle back to the way you started that and make sure we’re clear. When your kid unwraps that phone, instagram, yes, maybe their first social media. But we don’t mean that day Your kid needs to learn how to use their phone for a while until you feel that they’re ready for their first social media platform, and that could be a year, that could be six months, we don’t know. That’s again your family, your choice. We don’t mean right away that you have to give them a social media platform.
0:08:46 – Speaker 1
Thank you for clarifying that, kim. And when they do earn the social media platform, i want you to circle back to number one on the show, because you’re going to list why they earned it. Yeah, so they’ve done something on their phone. Maybe there’s a group text happening and there’s some bullying going on and they brought it to you And they’ve said, oh my gosh, this is happening in my friend group. That is a sign that they may be ready for their first social media platform, because they’ve got the phone, they’re group texting, they’re doing all the things on their phone and they’re displaying to you that they’re ready for an additional responsibility, like their first social media platform.
And then also, to wrap up this number two, all of these things can be outlined in a contract, a cell phone contract, a list, something that you all put down together and everybody’s on the same page. These are the expectations. This is what I’m expecting you to do with this phone. Also, include in there if the phone gets broken, who’s paying for it. That’s a biggie, because phones are going to get broken. I know my kids have been calling around. when they were little they would call around and get screen quotes because they would crack their screen and it would be in the contract like you’ve got to pay for it if that happens. And so just be clear about all your guidelines about caring for that phone, use of that phone, when to use that phone and reporting guidelines. This is a big bullet point here. OK, so, number one explain why your kid earned it. Number two create clear guidelines and expectations. Number three monitor and talk.
0:10:15 – Speaker 2
This is where the hard work comes in for mom and dad.
0:10:19 – Speaker 1
Listen, monitoring is great, and if you are giving your kid a phone for Christmas, i hope in your mind you have said to yourself I’m ready for this additional work as a parent, because it is additional work for us. That means random phone checks, and when they first get a phone, you are going to be doing random phone checks. Often With my 18-year-old I’m not really into phone checks anymore. She’s flying so low. With my 15-year-old, the random phone checks used to be, when he first got a phone, once a week. Now maybe once a month, or, if I see red flags in his behavior, it’s going to be more often than that. And so again, you’re earning trust. They’re learning to do this on their own.
0:11:02 – Speaker 2
When you get the phone, as you’re setting it up, it’s so important to set the parental controls from day one. If you’re an Apple user, you go into screen time. It has everything laid out there. There’s so many different options now that you can set and change and monitor. And then you have to remember that within different apps and different platforms there’s going to be different parental controls. The easiest thing is just to Google it And you’ll get step-by-step instructions on every single thing game, app, platform on how to set those parental controls. So you have that established from day one. And for us, that was part of the conversation. This is not because we don’t trust you. This is another layer of helping you protect your heart and mind. because it’s so easy to stumble across things, even when it’s unintentional. you type something in all this bad content comes up, and so it’s a layer for that. And then also, of course, because they’re young and they’re still figuring things out. we want to help protect them and be able to monitor what they’re seeing.
0:11:57 – Speaker 1
As an Apple user, i love the screen time. It’s under settings. You can limit and restrict each app to how much time per day You can set movies to be downloaded to PG. You can limit adult explicit content on websites. Everything is defaulted to allow all of that. So you have to go in and set that up, make sure that you know that It’s not defaulted to limit adult content on websites. So you need to go in on day one and do all that. You can also purchase monitoring software. You can pay 9.99 a month and get alerts when keywords are used on social media and that sort of thing.
But I also need you to be aware there are so many loopholes. There’s loopholes with restrictions. There’s loopholes with monitoring. Here’s why, first of all, there is like a legal privacy thing that won’t allow monitoring services to access, like DMs, like direct messages on Instagram. So again, that’s why I say Instagram is a great social media platform to start, because you can be actually logged in to their account on your phone And so it’s an easy way to monitor that.
But the biggest loophole of all guys you can be monitoring their phone like crazy. Right, you can be in it. You can be up there helicoptering it. You know all the things. It’s like getting on a military base. You know all the things. But listen, they know you’re doing that. They know you’re monitoring. So if they want to hide something from you, they’re going to use a friend’s phone And they’re also going to set up different Instagram and different social media accounts on their friend’s phones.
So you’re monitoring the Instagram account. That’s like I love Jesus, john, 316, yay. But the Instagram account that’s showing the sexualized bathing suit photos that your kid is posting. You don’t even know that account exists, right, and so I’m telling you all this not to scare you. I just don’t want you to pay $10 a month and think I’m good, because that’s a false sense of security.
The bottom line here is you need to have a good relationship with your kid. So if they do want to open up multiple Instagram accounts and kids do they’ll have a spam Instagram. They’ll have a one for their athletics. I mean, they have all the different social, but you could. It’s a conversation. Why do you want more than one social media account? To explain this to me, like I’m five and they will, they will walk you through it and then you can understand and then you have access to everything and you know what’s going on out there. But this is why the relationship is so important. You could monitor all you want, you can have everything set in place, but there are loopholes and they’re smarter than us digitally. They always will be. This is their generation. We are always playing catch up.
0:14:57 – Speaker 2
So all the monitoring that we’re talking about, all the different layers there, that’s so important. But, as always, the first line of a defense is going to be the relationship, the conversations that you have, so that they know that you understand the struggles and the things that they’re walking through, so that they know you are their safe place and they can come talk to you about what’s happening in their school and what’s happening online. That’s just so important And that’s where you’re going to learn the most about your kid and help keep them safe.
0:15:23 – Speaker 1
So we hope this show helps you. Number one, explain why your kid earned it. Number two, create clear guidelines and expectations. And number three, monitor and talk. Talk is the most important thing. Create that healthy dialogue with your child. So wrap up the phone, enjoy your kid being so excited about it, but make sure you have these three items in place so that you can keep your kids safe on that new device. Thank you so much for joining us, listening and sharing our podcast. Because of you, this show is in the top 5% of over 2.9 million podcasts.
0:16:04 – Speaker 2
We have lots of resources for you, from counseling to live events. Or if you have a show idea or a question for our team, visit our website at nexttalkorg. We’d love to hear from you.
0:16:15 – Speaker 1
At nextTalk. we’re more than cyber parenting It’s conversations to connect. 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.
Transcribed by https://podium.page