Mandy and Kim hosted a live podcast to share what they’ve learned about parenting social media at any age! Parents logged-in and were able to ask questions and get real time answers. We’re sharing the audio here so you can get ideas on helpful social media guidelines, important conversations to have with your kids, and the answers to parent questions you may have too!
Mandy and Kim hosted a live podcast to share what they’ve learned about parenting social media at any age! Parents logged-in and were able to ask questions and get real time answers. We’re sharing the audio here so you can get ideas on helpful social media guidelines, important conversations to have with your kids, and the answers to parent questions you may have too!
Transcription is done by an AI software. While technology is an incredible tool to automate this process, there will be misspellings and typos that might accompany it. Please keep that in mind as you work through it.
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. Today we’re airing a show that Mandy and I recorded live. We had listeners log in ask their questions and we tackled a great topic navigating social media with our kids. Hope you enjoy it.
I do want to introduce you all. This is Darby. If you can see her sweet little face, darby runs our social media behind the scenes. We asked her to join because anytime I don’t know an answer to social media, I’m texting Darby. Why is this happening? She’s here for her expertise and also she’s in the social media world. She sees what people post, what kids post, all the things she may chime in or if you have a question directly for her, she’s here as well. You know Kim and I from the podcast Kim, remind us how old your kids are, because I think this will be important during this conversation.
I have a 14 year old, an 11 year old and a nine year old, so we’re kind of in elementary, we’re in middle school, we’re in all different realms of social media and conversation. So lots of different things happening over here and my kids are now 16 and 19.
That just gives you a reference as to what we’re talking about here. So wanted to do navigating social media with your kids, because we feel like it’s just changing and evolving constantly. You know, I think we always think of like the big ones, like Instagram, snapchat, tiktok, as social media, and I’m going to cover a little bit on those because my kids are on those they’re older. But I also think we need to expand our definition of what we’re calling social media because, in your mind, we kind of need to think about social media as any online place where our kids can go to connect with others Right and now. Like 10 years ago, when I started this journey, like you, couldn’t go to a lot of different places to connect with people, but now that’s completely changed, and so Kim is going to chime in on that after I talk about the big three and kind of talk about, like her kids. They’re not on what we would traditionally define as social media, but they’re definitely being exposed and talking with people online.
I want to remind everybody of before we move on is if you have a question, you don’t have to wait until we’re done talking. We want to hear from you as we’re going through the different topics and tips. So please ask your question in the chat or just raise your little hand digitally or on your photo if you’re on screen and we’re happy to stop and answer questions as we go. And yeah, mandy’s right, I will tell you.
I talk to moms all the time and dads and they’ll say, well, I don’t have to worry about it because my kids not on social media. And I’m like, oh, they don’t watch YouTube. And they’re like, oh well, yeah, yeah, they do. Oh, they don’t play Roblox oh, yeah, they do play Roblox. And so I think it’s really important that we do redefine social media, because I think a lot of times we think we don’t need to be in that space, understand it or spend time on it because it doesn’t apply to our family. So that’s a good place to start. Mandy is just, social media looks different than we’ve ever thought of it before.
Yeah, broaden your definition of it. Broaden your definition of it. I do want to talk, like traditionally, though, when we think of social media, so like Instagram, snapchat and TikTok, I want to just briefly talk about those. So my 19 year old daughter I have walked her through social media now for years. We started with Instagram. That was her first social media platform Then we went to Snapchat, then we went to Twitter, which is now X, and then we went to TikTok. The reason she got TikTok late she was 16 or 17 is because it was late on the scene, it was musically, and then you know that whole mess blew up and then they like rebranded as TikTok, so she got that late in the game. She says that TikTok affected her the most out of all of them. Out of all of them.
She did a show with me about it, because the TikTok algorithm is very weird and once you get into a couple of videos like, it’s very hard to break out of that algorithm. For example, one of the first reasons I got TikTok was and this was years ago when it first came on the scene was I got a call and a parent said oh my gosh, my elementary age kid. We have TikTok on my phone she’s not allowed to have it on hers, but we do funny dances and stuff together and we posted this funny dance and we got a video back with a guy masturbating to my daughter’s video and the elementary age girl saw this. Remind you, this was like year one of TikTok, so it was new. We were trying to figure out what happened and I was like, okay, give me your account name, let me log in, let me create an account. I didn’t even have an account at that time. I said let me log in, let me create an account, let me see what you see, let me see how this predator reached your kid, like I was just trying to wrap my head around it. So the first exposure that I had on my new TikTok algorithm was this masturbation video. Let me tell you, for over a year I could not use that account because every time I got in it it was masturbation videos and like daddy, pimp and kids out videos, because I had clicked on that original video and so it was just feeding it to me. I was Googling puppies and going into puppies, but my algorithm was just stuck there. So I ended up having to stop and redo a separate account and I tell you that story because some kids are curious and they’re going to scroll and look at videos and then they’re trapped in an algorithm and even if they feel convicted and they’re like I shouldn’t be looking at this, I don’t want to, it’s hard to get out of it and then that’s a weird thing, coming to your parents saying I need to create a different account because now my algorithm is that you know, like it’s a whole thing and so be aware of TikTok. I think sometimes we think it’s so innocent and it’s not. It’s really a difficult one and you can go down some deep rabbit holes there.
But I want to start from the beginning. Like I started with Instagram and the first thing I want to say is I don’t, I do not believe that your kid turns a certain age and they’re ready for social media. Like, I don’t believe that. I believe your kid needs to prove to you they’re ready for social media. Now I do think an age should be 12, 13, 14 for starters. Like I don’t think we should be like, oh, my five year olds ready for Instagram. I don’t think that’s the case. So I do want to be very clear on that, because I get asked like what’s your timeframe? And that’s generally what I say.
Now, as Kim would say in our new defined definition, her kids have social media, even though they’re not on the big three. So this is like, traditionally speaking, giving your kids Instagram, snapchat or TikTok. I’m saying 12, 13 or 14. Your kids need to earn it. You need to catch them doing something amazing, maybe it’s. They came home and they said this fight broke out in the bathroom today. Here’s what went down. I didn’t have to tell you any of it, right, that’s earning. They are confiding in you and so then it becomes okay because you told me I think you may be ready to earn your first social media platform, right? So why do I say start out with Instagram? Instagram is not holy. There is porn, there is cutting, there is really bad stuff on Instagram.
The reason I advocate Instagram as your starter platform is because you can be logged in to their account on your phone. This gives you complete access. You can see their DMs. Now there is disappearing DMs, just like Snapchat now, because that’s been an upgrade to Instagram, but it’s still, to me, the one that you can monitor the most. Snapchat and TikTok, you just can’t monitor that. Instagram is where I would start. If your kid is ready to earn their first platform, the conversation needs to be this is a new world for you, so I’m gonna be in your business for a little bit. I’m gonna have your account on my phone. Need to be very clear about that, okay.
Now listen, parents, if you’re monitoring, say, your 13 year old’s phone and you’re walking them through Instagram, you cannot go through their DMs and every cuss, word or whatever. Be like, okay, what is happening here? Like, pick your battles. Okay, pick your battles. If there’s a nude, absolutely you have to address that, right. If there’s something illegal going on suicidal thoughts, anything red flag you have to address it. But I tell you this all the time because I get parents monitoring their kids’ social media and they’re nitpicking. You can’t be too picky because then it feels like you’re helicoptering and this has to be about I’m coming alongside of you because I want you to be safe online, like that’s why I’m monitoring you. I also wanna say one more thing before I turn it over to Kim and she kind of dive into. The younger portion is I say they earned Instagram and then my daughter earned Snapchat. I do not believe Snapchat should ever be a starter social media platform. It should never be.
Most kids just love Snapchat because it’s like a text thread. That’s why they love it and they love the Snap Streaks, which are you chew to picture each day and it keeps up and you have so many streaks. Kids love that, right, it’s like keeping score. They keep track. It’s a challenge. They love that. But shady stuff does go down on Instagram. I mean, if it’s gonna go down, it’s gonna go down there because they know it’s very difficult to monitor and it disappears. Now you need to have the conversation with your kid. If they have Snapchat, yeah, it disappears, but anything can be screenshot or recorded from another phone, so they always need to know it’s still a digital footprint that you’re leaving somewhere, right? I’ve seen cases like FBI cases where predators have been involved. They’ve gotten into a kid’s phone. They recover the snaps, they can recover them, so it really doesn’t disappear, even though it’s been sold that way to the generation. So those are the conversation with Snapchat. Okay, I got a question here, darby. You wanna read that? I can’t see it all.
Yeah, the question’s from Ellie. And it says do you guys know how to monitor Instagram? You just get their login and add it to yours, Like in the app.
Yes, ellie, let me see if I can walk you through it real quick or I can send you instructions on how to do it. It is super easy to do, where you could add an account login and you toggle. So on my Instagram account I have my sons who’s 16. I have the next talk one and I have mine, and I can easily toggle in between those. So we’ll follow up with an email to you guys on step-by-step instruction on how to do that, but it’s super easy to do. Now listen, this does not catch any accounts that they’re not telling you about. That they may have, and that is a conversation of hey, I want you to have social media, but I need you to be safe on it. There are predators out here that you may not recognize the signs, and I’m trying to help guide you and keep you safe. So if you wanna open a second account on Instagram, let me know, like if you.
I remember my daughter coming to me in middle school and she’s like I need a spam account. I’m like explain to me what a spam account is. Why would you? You’ve got your main account. Why would you need to spam? But they have different categories for their groups. They may want one just for their volleyball team, that’s just their. You know, I remember at the time then this was years ago she said she said, well, my spam account I can post on every day and it can be funny and jokes and all that, but my main account, like you, only post, like big events on your main account. You can’t over post, like there’s rules in their world. And so just ask them like, why do you want a second account, why do you want this?
But you definitely need to be stressing to your kids. If I find out you did a, created an account away from me, like that’s a fracture in the relationship, that’s a whole different conversation, because now I can’t trust you. So then we have to reel back a lot of privileges because the trust has been broken and that’s what I’m trying to prevent here. I just need open communication and tell me you know why you want these things, why you want this account and why you want this social media. Really good question. Okay, any others before I? Any other questions on that portion? We can come back to it too. Okay, I want Kim to talk because as we were preparing for the show, she was like well, you know, my kids aren’t on your kids’ social media, but they’re on social media and I was like, okay, tell the people, kim, tell the people because social media has changed since I started.
Well, it has, yeah, and you know. I do want to say one thing, because I do have a 14 year old and so, as we’re talking about these different platforms, one of the things I’ve heard from other parents and in my circles is they’ll say, well, my kid hasn’t asked for social media yet, but you know, they’re like 14, so it’s time. I really want to encourage you if they’re not asking for it, don’t give it to them, don’t suggest it or put it on their phone, which I’ve heard from some parents. They’re like all their friends are doing. I feel like it’s, you know, it’s probably socially time. It’s different in different circles, in different schools, like what they’re into the social media mix there. My kids at their school they do, some of them do Snapchat, but a lot of them just have these group text threads and they live on those and they really could care less about social media. And you know, you’ve heard, facebook is for moms and Instagram. They’re like well, you know, if you’re into pretty pictures, and you know, so all kids are different. Let them come to you and ask for the social media.
And yes, so social media has definitely changed. My kids started their first social media platform would have been Roblox, and a lot of kids are still on there. We have experienced bullying. We’ve experienced predators reaching out and asking for personal information. All the things that we get concerned about on social media happens on Roblox and other platforms like that. So these conversations start as young as possible. My daughter, who is now nine, just turned nine one of the youngest on our team, and we started these conversations when she was two. You know about reporting guidelines, you know if you see someone with a bathing suit or less, anything about relationships, anybody asking for personal information, and so she could apply that in person, like on the playground, at the grocery store and also online. And so those conversations grow as they get older. I’m still having those conversations with my 14 year old. They just look different and I will tell you one of the cool things about them being on a phone, on a tablet or on social media is it gives you insight into their world.
When you do random phone checks, which I greatly encourage, this is not like, hey, tomorrow at two I’m gonna be checking your phone. Please don’t do that, because your kids will go in and delete things and change things, even if they’re good kids, they’re just like oh, mom might take this in the wrong way or whatever this is. You go pick up their phone in the middle of the day on a Saturday After they go to bed. You scroll through and it really gives you insight into where their heads are. It lets you know like, okay, this girl is kind of being aggressive with my kid, or they’re talking about this new app and this is what they’re saying about it. It’s like this secret little tool you get to create conversation with your kid. So that’s a positive to me about social media it’s you see their outward appearance and what they’re putting out in the world and then if you do a random phone check, you can compare those two and that creates great conversation about all different things. I think that’s good, as they’re on Roblox.
And then the big one under our roof is YouTube. My kids aren’t really asking for Snapchat or Instagram or TikTok, but YouTube now has YouTube shorts. So let’s look at those in two different categories. Youtube in itself I have always liked kind of it. First I was nervous because it was like, oh my gosh, they’re gonna see all these things, but it’s very easy in a lot of ways to prevent some of what they’re seeing. So, for example, in our house we have one account under my name. Everybody searches and uses and watches under that account, so I can see it on my phone. It’s easy for me to check the history. It’s easy for me to access it at any time. I’m not trying to remember everybody’s passwords and logins. We have one account, all five of us, so that’s one thing.
You can turn off autoplay with regular YouTube. So, yes, there’s gonna be suggestions that will auto populate. Here’s something you might like, based on the algorithm you’ve created from what you’ve already watched. But if you turn off autoplay, then it’s still like oh no, we’re not gonna watch that, we’re not gonna watch that. If something plays that you don’t think is appropriate, you can actually flag it. We don’t want content like this and so that algorithm works for you instead of against you, and it starts to filter through like okay, they don’t want these kinds of things, and it looks at your other content in generating new videos for you.
You can also use parental controls. They have some pretty good ones on there for language and for content. Oh, and the restricted mode. Make sure your restricted mode is on, and so there’s some different features and options under there. But if you go into controls you can look at your restricted mode and then that will give you the option to toggle it on or off and then some different options there. So I feel like with regular YouTube I had a lot of control and then one day my son says hey, mom, there’s this new thing on YouTube. It looks pretty cool and I’m like okay. So I walk over and it’s basically TikTok on YouTube. And I don’t say that loosely, it’s YouTube.
Shorts are essentially like TikTok. If you look on your TV you’ll see the regular video stream as you’ve always seen it, but at the top in a longer format. So the videos look more like the shape of your phone. They’re gonna populate across the top. Those you cannot turn off autoplay, they just play, play, play. And they’re like TikTok in the algorithm that if you watch one video that is maybe questionable, has bad content, even if you turn it off within two seconds it’s going to pick that up and feed you more of that type of content.
So this portion of YouTube has now become where I’m parenting the most. I feel like YouTube suggests this. I agree 13, 14 and under. No, we don’t do YouTube shorts, it’s just not allowed in our family. I can’t really control it. There’s no settings. They estimate over a million videos are being uploaded a week on YouTube shorts because that content is not monitored in the same way YouTube traditional videos are. You’re getting all kinds of things. I mean you can go from a clip from Disney to an almost pornographic and very, very inappropriate clip right away, and they’re 60 seconds or less. They’re quick and your kid can easily. I’ve heard kids say it’s like standing in front of a candy bowl and my hand can reach in and get as much as I want and I just can’t stop eating and I just keep eating and eating because it goes so quick and it’s so addictive and so intriguing. And this is where a lot of YouTubers are trying to get new followers that otherwise wouldn’t find them because anybody can put their videos. Any content can be in YouTube shorts, so it’s a very dangerous area in my mind.
So again in our house, my 14 year old is able to watch YouTube shorts because our conversations look different. I’ve prepared him. We’ve talked through all the different things, from sexuality, bad language, things I expect to be reported. We’re talking about taking your thoughts captive, not continuing to watch something that you immediately know is not good for your heart and mind and coming to me if you can’t get it out of your heart and mind. So I feel like he’s at an age now where he can manage that a little bit. But my other two were not there and I think that’s a very important conversation if you have younger kids, if they have access to YouTube, what you’re allowing, what you’re not and how you’re gonna monitor that. So those are my two biggest ones Roblox and YouTube. Definitely need to set the settings when and where you can, but more than anything, have the conversations about what you expect from your kids.
I love this because I think the connection of YouTube shorts to TikTok very similar. I think, in our mind shift. We have to go there, which we haven’t been. Youtube started out very just video-y and Darby said maybe it’s the second largest search engine, so it’s Google. And then YouTube. Kim was telling me my kids use it more than Google. Kim was telling me when we were preparing this show my kids use YouTube more than Google. They go to YouTube and search for their projects or whatever they wanna do, and not Google. So I think we have to recognize that this younger generation is looking to YouTube like we saw Google and it’s all video content. So you could imagine, my mind immediately goes to the pornography stuff. Right, I mean, even on Google you pulled up the videos but you have to click the video tab instead of, you know, getting just the list where YouTube is not like that.
I forgot to say. Also, with YouTube, you can turn off the comments and I feel like, if YouTube is a newer platform in your home like we didn’t do comments for two years of having YouTube, so I was like we can talk about it and have our own comments under our roof. You don’t need to read everybody else’s Cause. A lot of times you’ll sleep bullying, just mean things or strange comments or even people putting contact information in the comments Like, oh, are you into this? Contact me, and they’ll leave email, all kinds of stuff. So we turned off comments completely for a couple of years just to get used to the platform. So I would also suggest that.
Well, and I think that’s a good suggestion, kim, because when you turn off comments, then you’re limiting the social media aspect of it. It becomes more of a search engine versus the social media connecting with all these strangers. Yeah, I mean, because that’s what it is on YouTube, I mean, if you’ve got that comment on, you’re even seeing a bigger connection to strangers than you are on some like Instagram. If you’re only following people you know in real life, you can limit that a little bit. Yeah, absolutely, I love all that. Any questions? That’s what we just wanted to start with. But we, you guys, can, and these questions can be about social media, or can they? They can just be random. They can just be random. My kid has their first boyfriend girlfriend. Help me, I. We can answer that. We can answer that. I had that in my group this week.
So my son was using what I didn’t know with social media. He has this editing app called Cap Cut. Have you ever heard of it? I have, and he uses it constantly and makes basketball videos and highlights and we were like good job, like you’re doing so great. And then I’m doing a phone check and I see him texting with a girl who I don’t know, and so I asked him about it and I was like hey, where did you get this? You know, how did you meet this girl? Like who is she? You don’t have her saved in your phone. And it turns out that he met her on Cap Cut. I was like how did you meet a person on Cap Cut? I don’t understand.
And we’ve been having the conversations I mean probably not as young as two, but for what I think of is forever with them. Like you don’t share personal information online, but I think it’s kind of he’s 13. And I think that it’s kind of a. You see other people’s profiles. You want yours to match other people’s, and so he gave his phone number and he gave the city that we live in and he gave another personal information that I won’t share.
But I was like why is your phone number on a public social like. So he had, and then upon checking I found like three or four more contacts that he was Texting. So we had a very long conversation of okay, what do you do? So my husband was like delete all of them and delete his phone number and change his profile and I was like I Don’t think that that’s the way to do it, but I don’t know how to handle it, because I want him to still edit, but I don’t want him to be talking to strangers then in different places, because it wasn’t boys talking about basketball, like he was talking.
Well, I was even, I was even gonna say so I don’t know this app, but I was even going to say, like even the you version Bible app, you can connect with people and can socially. And we’ve had situations where people were sending inappropriate pictures within the you version Bible app Because they didn’t think their parents would check that. Yeah, oh, so these kids they’re, they’re brilliant kids.
They figure it out, they do.
They try to be sneaky. It’s just their digital world. It is right. It’s like you see it all the time, I mean on social media.
I remember during COVID I Stumbled up on this tick-tock and it was like let’s become pin pals, we don’t have anything else to do. The world is locked down and people were just here’s my address and this is where I love and and and and and they don’t think about it because it just seems so innocent, right, and and I think that’s the conversation, like I don’t be mad at him, say I understand, like everybody else was probably doing it and chiming in and you want to meet people and I get that and like Like digital dating, that’s like very common now with kids we’re in our generation, that was like I don’t know about that, but that’s like very common now. Like everybody digital dates on the apps and there’s weird ones like that you just hook up with, but then there’s just normal ones that you’re really trying to find a good date, you know. And so I think giving him a little bit of grace, like you know, okay, but I do think you have to talk to him about like what if this could be, because he’s you’re not gonna overexpose him. Now, right, he’s on social media, he’s connecting with people online, so so find a story online I mean, there was just a an arrest made and in Bear County, which is the county that that we’re in, that were our home bases with Next talk of a predator online connecting with a kid on on social media.
Find that story and say this probably looked so innocent. It was a profile picture that looked like a teenage boy, but look, this is who he was. And so these are the things that I just want you to Remember when you’re sharing your information online. Like and it should. I want you to pause before you start sharing Information openly to be like is this okay, can I talk to mom about this? And that kind of stuff. Like, that’s the, that’s where we want to get him to. But but you know I, he’s like every other kid in the world. He’s, you know, he’s not being a bad kid, he’s just being a normal kid. They give out all their information online. That’s what they do.
I think there’s Two parts here in agreeing with Mandy and kind of adding on to that. One is the moving forward of, yes, oh, my goodness, this happened and look what could have happened. That conversation for sure. But I do think if you have set guidelines which I, I personally know you, so I know you have you do need to address that too. Like, hey, we have this guideline that you know you needed to ask about an app first, or we’re not gonna share personal information, and so now I need to reel the kite in a Little bit and I need to. I’m gonna, you know, probably check your phone a little bit more. You know we’re not gonna have as many freedoms you do. There needs to be a bit of a consequence in my mind so that they don’t think, well, I did this thing and it really wasn’t a big deal. I’m doing really care, so I’m just gonna keep doing what I want to do. So that’s one thing I would keep in mind pray about what that looks like. But I do think they need to know, when that trust is broken a little bit, that it’s gonna take a minute to rebuild that and before they get new apps or new things on their phone or new access.
The other thing is, I think, on the the back end of that and moving forward, something that I sometimes mess up because you know I’m grocery shopping, I’m doing whatever Busy, and my kid will say, can I get this new app? And I’ll look at it really quickly and I’m like, yeah, yeah, it’s an editing app or oh, that looks good. You know it’s just, you know basketball, something, something. Because my son’s like all about basketball, like your son, and I won’t really dig in and I’ll approve it, and then find out that it has the capability for them to chat.
And so I have had to a couple of times say, hey, I Approved that app, I didn’t really look into it and I didn’t realize it had this capability. So I think both of us are responsible here. One, I should have done a little bit more homework to. When you realized there was a chat feature, my hope was that you would have come to me and said, can I do this? You know I want to talk to people, is that okay? And then it would have allowed us to talk about what’s appropriate again. So I think that kind of conversation also is helpful, moving forward with this kind of situation.
Yeah, I just wanted to piggyback on that and say yes to all of that. That was really good, kim, as far as you know, like the consequence a Couple things on that one is you have to have set up guidelines if you’re gonna have a consequence. And, like Lisa she said, I know you, you have the con, you, you have the guidelines. If you have never said to your kid, this is what I want reported to you and they’re not reporting to you, you can’t really be mad at them because everything is texted, posted and shared, right, and so those reporting guidelines are Important and you can hang them on your fridge, you can write them out together. You know, like make this a teamwork effort, like what are some things that you’re that you’re seeing online that you think you need To report to me and write theirs down, and then write yours down and make it as simple as you can. But it’s an agreed upon like I’m gonna report these things to you, mom, I’m gonna tell you about these items and then, when they don’t, there is a consequence. Like Kim said, if you’re very clear, these are the guidelines, then there could be a consequence.
On the consequence thing, be careful about if he has a phone, be careful about. I’m taking away your phone for a week, and this is why because I’ve seen kids go to school and it sets up an Environment where I’m gonna create an account over here on my friend’s phone that my mom doesn’t even know about, because, screw my mom, I can’t believe she took my phone away for a week. It sets that up in their mind. So when I had to do this with my kids, when I was clear about the guidelines and then there was a breach and I had to have a consequence, what I would say to my kids is for one week, when you come home from school, you’re gonna drop your phone at the mud bench. When you get home and there’s no phone at night, there’s no screens at night, that’s your consequence.
So then they still have it at school. They’re not tempted to create another account on a friend’s phone and lie to you because you’re being a bad mom and and they will They’ll talk themselves into it, right, and you still have that communication with them that you probably are used to and need and that you can track them still. You know you’re used to that now and so it almost feels like a punishment to you. I know that sounds very privileged, but we, that’s where we are in our world today. That’s where we are in our world today that we like to know where our kids are and pull it up on, find my phone or life 360 or whatever. So that’s a, that’s a real thing, whether you think it’s good or not. But but I just wanted to say about the consequence just be careful about Taking it away all the time, because I have seen kids get sneaky with it.
That was his suggestion when we asked him what his consequence should be and he said just take my phone away for a week. And I was like, well, but I think that’s extreme, how about? And so we’re doing the same thing. Worse, we’re saying no phones on the weekend and no phone During the evening time. But he got to see and this is the tricky part Like we let him have it at Halloween because he was gonna be gone, we let him have it on our like we had a neighborhood thing and and he was gonna be in the neighborhood and I needed to be able to get ahold of him.
So I did let him have it, and I know for a fact that he used it and was on YouTube and doing the whole thing while he was gone. So he was kind of getting to take advantage a little bit, but I needed him to have it. And so we were like where’s the line of? Where are the consequence? You know? So my husband was saying we were blurring it too much and then he felt like he was getting away with too much. But we still are Keeping the phone away from him when he’s home, which is kind of a consequence.
Well, and listen, be honest with your kid here, say, hey, you know, I don’t like taking your phone at night. I don’t like it. I want you to just have this and I trust you and we all be okay. But this, this, you did this and I understand why you did it, because everybody else was doing it. You just hopped in.
But this could have been a very bad thing, like kids get kidnapped, kids get murdered because of this, and we have to understand the importance here. So you know, I know we said a week, but you had your phone two days. You know how do you feel about extending, like just navigate it. You know your kid. You know if they’re not ready, if they still need a consequence like if they were on Halloween and you said no YouTube, no, whatever, and they’re on it then that it gets extended because he breached it. If you weren’t clear and you were like here’s your phone, he was probably watching YouTube with his buddies in between trick-or-treating and then that’s not really a consequence. You know, because he had his phone, you can have his phone. So that clarity in what your expectation is is very important and making sure it’s realistic.
And you know we talk about this because it’s so easy, in the moment when you’re upset, to be like I’m taking your phone for a year, okay, that’s not gonna happen. You know it’s not realistic. So you’re cleaning the whole house every day for five years Like that’s not gonna happen. So just make sure it’s realistic, Something that is not harder for you than it needs to be, but also conveys to them they’ve messed up.
I remember during COVID I had to have a consequence and my husband was like, take it away for like a week. And I pulled him into the other room and I’m like I have to work like nothing. We cannot pull like maybe at night, but you cannot take it away during the day, like I don’t know what will happen. Nobody can go anywhere. We’re trapped here. Please don’t do it Like I’m begging you. So you know you have to take that all into consideration, because sometimes it is more of a punishment for us, especially if we know, you know, like the next two days are big for work and I was planning for them to watch movies and hang out with their friends on the Xbox, and so now that does not gonna happen. Take all that into consideration, okay, amanda has a question.
I have. My oldest is a middle schooler my kind of concern and we don’t have phones. It’s like this double-edged sword. So he’s in. Everything is done online, like even at school. I love it and I hate it. He’s on the computer a lot, right, and when he’s done with his work he wants to go to like YouTube. I was so glad when he talked about YouTube. How much are we trusting schools with the monitoring of things that are happening and what they can look up online and stuff like that? Cause I can lock down what I can here, but I just I don’t trust other kids.
Yeah, you shouldn’t trust them. It’s technology and they’re using Google classroom like social media they are. I’ve seen kids that have been like you can’t talk to this person cause they got in trouble together. And then they created like a Google you know document within Google classroom where they’re doing their texts there, and so, again, kids are always gonna be one step ahead of us with this sort of thing.
I do want to say, amanda, you taught you know schools. I know sometimes we get frustrated with schools. You know they’re like us. They’re trying to keep up with everything and I think they’re trying to. They’re blocking websites, they’re putting stuff in place, they’re doing it, but they’re like we are parenting social media. They’re always playing catch up and the kids will find something out and it’ll be awful, and then the filters put in place and so, and then by that time the damage is already done as far as the porn exposure or whatever is happening, and so you just can’t trust it. You just can’t trust it. You want to bring attention to the school, like, if you find a bullying situation in Google, like, bring it to their attention. I always say, like, do it with kindness, realize that that’s like you parenting social media, like if your friend came and said your kid commented on this, I cannot believe your kid commented Like you would be mortified, right. But hopefully your friend would be like don’t worry. Like we’re all trying to figure it out, all these kids are going to mess up, kind of thing.
I think that’s how the approach we should be with school districts too. They’re trying, but it is a lot. And then you have every kid walking into that school, mostly Amanda, yay for you holding out here. But most of those kids have a phone, so they’re not only parenting their school devices. Then they are having to do investigations on those personal phones when stuff happens. So you can imagine tech departments at our schools trying to keep up. It is like the police department trying to keep up with cyber crimes. And we’re on the phone with police departments and they’re like we don’t have enough people, they’re not trained well enough, like everybody’s trying to catch up. And the more I talk to police departments and school departments, the more I realize this is on us, the more the mission of Next Talk like this is so important, like we are the first line of defense in our online kids’ safety.
We are it, the more we can dig in and have these real honest conversations with our kids about expectations and, amanda, like school computer, like the reporting guidelines are for school computer too. These aren’t just, you know, when you’re on my phone or when you’re in the family computer, this is for when you’re on your school computer. So if anybody sends a bathing suit, or less if anybody’s violent bullying, threatening, mean language, you know those are our key kind of reporting guidelines. You need to tell me Educational sites too that they go to to. Like teachers will say, go, check off this educational site. I’ve had my kids go to educational sites and the account names are so crazy of the other kids, like I’ve had to explain what sexual positions are and all the things because of these account names on the educational sites where they’re going to play, like where they’re teacher sensitive. Yes, and what were you gonna add to that with the school? I’m sure you had some.
Yes, well, I have kind of a unique perspective. My husband’s in administration and education, and then we do like a homeschool hybrid, so they’re there half the time and then at home more of the time. And this year they rolled out laptops for everyone, you know, chromebooks for everyone, and so we’ve been walking through this right now, and one of the things that I really realized and it’s basically what Mandy’s saying and what I think you’re realizing, amanda is we can’t trust others to do the right thing, one, or expect them to believe that what I think is right is the same too. And the conversation changed a little bit with my kid having their own Chromebook, and that was, yes, the reporting guidelines, all of that. But also there’s a whole nother layer of a contract you signed with the school that says you will not game on this computer, you will not search inappropriate things, and so it’s a character conversation too. It’s like listen, I have to trust that, the things we’re talking about and the things I’m asking you to report. That’s one level, but now you’re also answering to your school, to your administrators, and so you’re not only breaking trust with me but with them, and they’re monitoring it, and I stand with them if you break the rules because you signed this contract and so making it very serious.
The expectation at home and then at school with this new device was a big part of our conversations. And then also really clear guidelines on when and where it’s used. So, like my kids, it’s at the main table. At home kitchen table. They can use their Chromebook and when they’re done with schoolwork that goes up Like they can’t use that beyond the schoolwork. Then we’re on to our personal devices, where I have more control. So we just have super clear guidelines with that. It’s not your laptop, it’s the schools that you’re borrowing to do homework, so that’s all we’re using it for. So setting that up helped a lot.
I feel like my kids don’t even think about it as theirs at all. They can’t go in their bedroom. It doesn’t travel with us strictly for schoolwork. So, yeah, I think that’s really important. And then again, going over guidelines, not just once. That’s one of the things that I messed up in the beginning Because I’m like what do you mean? You don’t remember, like you know, in one ear at the other, so I’ll just randomly say stuff. Sometimes I’ll walk by the TV and I’m like oh yeah, remember bathing suit or less, just reminding them every once in a while because they do forget or they get caught up and so not like in a shaming way or like you know do this, but just gentle reminder of your expectations. I think is helpful too. They got a lot coming at them.
So I would. I do want to add you know your, your expectations will change over time as they get older and you need to be very clear with them. So, like when my kids were little, it was tell me when you see a cuss word or any word you don’t know, or anybody in a bathing suit or less. I mean, that changed in middle school, right, because then it became okay, I don’t need to know about every bathing suit picture. You see, you can discern what is good and bad here. But if you’re going back to one picture or you’re laying in bed at night thinking about that picture, like that’s the picture we need to talk about, I don’t need to know about every bathing suit picture, you see.
The other thing is cuss words, and I messed this up. I did not shift with my kid and so in middle school the conversation should have been and it was with my second one, not with my first one, because I missed it, but it should have been. Hey, in middle school you don’t have to report every cuss word to me. I know you’re hearing a lot of cuss words, but if you want to say a cuss word, or you slip and say a cuss word or you’re in your language, like filling it in, and you’re hearing it in your head that you’re saying it, but you’re not saying it like that’s what we need to talk about, because that is where the line has becoming like this is becoming a habit in your life and for our family. I just don’t want you to develop that habit. You’re not going to be able to use those cuss words in a job interview or when you’re employed. You know, even as a teenager, when you’re working the drive-thru somewhere, you can’t use the F word, you can’t use the S word, you know, whatever. I don’t want that to become a habit in your life and so if in your mind that’s becoming a habit, then we need to talk about it.
You’re going to see your kids go from you know, laugh my butt off LMBO to LMAO, laugh my, you know. And then they’re going to. You’re going to see that tweak in them and that’s a maybe a conversation, or it may just be. Are the lines getting blurred Like where’s your line? Maybe it’s okay in a text, you know, if you’re 16 and you want to do LMAO in a text because it’s lame to do the other one, okay, but would you say that in real life. Do you say it often? You know, if you do say it is it, is it not very, not very much. You know, just helping them find their healthy line of what’s good and okay and not okay.
And I asked really quick with I also have a six year old, so I have 11, 10 and six and you can only separate them so much and I feel like the age of your house is the age of your oldest kid, because that’s how we all are. Do you have any like I don’t know, just advice, reassurance on how to keep him not watching or hearing, or like how to separate it maybe a little bit better?
So my biggest advice I’m sure Kim has some here my biggest advice is empower the older kids to protect the heart and mind of the six year old and make them part of the process. They love to be empowered like that, to be like. I mean I remember my daughter one time we were watching Superbowl and she jumped across the across the couch because she was like Bubba, close your eyes at this commercial she took ownership of. I am going to be in charge of protecting my Bubba’s heart and mind. I am going to be in charge and so I would. I would tell my oldest, like, if you have a big question and you know it’s not appropriate for them, like, wait till bedtime, pull me in my room. When you get home from school we’ll talk about it. Like I want you to share those things with me, but it’s our duty. He’s six, he’s not ready for some of the things you’re telling me about, and so help me out with this kind of thing.
I would agree with Mandy, that has helped and worked very good with my oldest. He takes that very seriously. He’s a firstborn, you know. He’s very much like yes, the protector and I will do it, and so he’s really good about that. We have two TVs in our house so that I’m not having my 14 year old watch Go, dog Go and my you know nine year old, who once was six, you know, watching the things that he watches on YouTube or whatever. Not that he’s watching inappropriate things, but sometimes the content is just not great for a little one, and so I practically have two options.
But we do also come together Friday nights to watch something together and we all agree on something family friendly. So I think having practical things in place is good and then also knowing what your kid responds to. So I knew my oldest would totally take on that idea of protecting his younger siblings heart and mind. But I also have a middle child who’s older than the youngest, and middle child children are unique and when you have three it changes the dynamic. So for him that wouldn’t really work. He’d just think it’s funny.
And so for him I try to tell him stories about when he was little and the things that he loved and enjoyed that were pure and lovely, and he loves that because he’s like, oh my gosh, remember we used to ride the train at the zoo, remember we did this and it was so special. And he latches onto those memories and I’m like, listen, we want that for Sissy. We want her to have the same kind of pure, fun, beautiful, amazing experience that you had, and we can’t do that if you’re showing her things too soon where she loses her innocence, and so I need you to help me make it fun for her the way you had fun as a kid, and he was like, okay, yeah, because that appeals to his personality. So I think knowing your kids and tapping into the way that will intrigue them, to help them with the process, is really going to be powerful. It’s been the best thing in my house to make that shift of what will work based on their personality.
Yeah, that’s so good. This is a question in the chat. Can you talk a little more about Roblox restrictions and guidelines to set with kids? My son is eight and has chat turned off and parental restrictions, but what else do I need to watch for?
I think that’s great. You’re doing the things that need to happen. As far as practical turning off the chat, I think it’s very important as they get a little bit older. I’ve been talking to a mom who has a 11-year-old and she wanted to chat with her friends, that she’s been playing with them for years and unfortunately it ended up in a bullying situation after six months of being in the chat and you just don’t know. So I think when they’re younger, turning off the chat yes, having the conversations about what to report is going to be your most powerful tool.
Other than that, sometimes they will do weird movements, because you can create your own game. So there’ll be weird things that are suggestive in some of the games weird characters, costumes, movements, the way they’re moving, their character. Those are conversations and I had those before. I saw them with my kids and then, as they brought them to me, like hey, people are going to do this, they’re going to push the line. This is what you might see or hear. I just need you to let me know so we can talk it through, and so that’s what I’d say. I think you’re doing everything right as far as setting the guidelines. Turning on the questions, then it’s really ultimately about the conversation.
I would add to that one thing that I did in Roblox has changed a lot since my kids have been on it, but when they were little, the big concern for me was the content, Because Roblox is one of those people create their own games and upload it. So now you have got predators creating content sexual content and uploading it for your kids to just, oh, here’s what you’re getting today, Yay. So my guideline was these are like five games you can play within Roblox that I’ve played with you and I know they’re safe. If you get on Roblox and you want to do another game, like I, need to play it with you first. And this caught one time my kids were playing.
It was like a cops and robbers type game, but you would rob a bank and the whole goal of the game was to see how many cops you could kill like shoe cops. And so they were playing this, and this was years ago and I was like no, we are absolutely not. This desensitizes you to police officers that protect us and put their life on the line for us, and it desensitizes you to just killing in general. We are going to have no part of this, and I explained why this was not going to be an okay game. They still could play Roblox. They had other you know three or four other ones that they played on, but this content changes daily because people can upload anything at any time.
So I think that would be a good restriction for a young kid is to be like if you want to play a new game on Roblox, let’s play it first to make sure it’s safe, Because sometimes they just don’t. I mean, they were like cops and robbers, yeah, and I’m like what? No, and so that was a conversation. But again, if you have those reporting guidelines like anything violent, you know that’s one of the reporting guidelines. But then they would tell you my kids they’re 19 and 16, and they were literally joking with me the other day about that they’re like you remember what you went, Let us play that game to run to Robert.
They still remember it and I’m like and I still stand by it, that was awful. And they’re like yeah, it was pretty bad, you know, but at the time they thought I was being crazy.
I do want to add to I forgot to mention this on the flip side of that, if something bad does happen, a really cool thing that we got to do kind of turning a bad situation into good one it was there was someone asking for personal information from my son.
He came and let me know and we looked at it and it was.
You could tell it was an adult by the words they were using and the things they were asking, and so, together with him, we reported this person and I got to tell him like you could have saved a kid today because you reported this and you told me there’s all these other kids who didn’t know to do that that would have given out their personal information and you’re like a superhero. And so for a six year old, seven year old, that’s huge for them to get to make a difference in the lives of others and feel like a superhero. So don’t just report it yourself and move on and, with you and your kid, let them be a part of that process. Make them the hero in it or the heroine in it and celebrate them for doing the right thing, because I think that’s just makes such a huge impact on them and it will make them want to report and be a part of the solution even more. So yeah, that’s something with Roblox that we did a lot of reporting together.
Y’all were great.
Y’all had the best questions, love it. So here’s where we want to leave. You reach out to us anytime if you get into monitoring something you’re like. I have a question. You can email us at admin and next talkorg. That email is on our website. All chemonize emails are on our website. You can DMS on social media. Darby gets most of the what. However, you want to contact us, just just keep us posted and if you discover something that you’re like, oh my gosh, just next talk. Even know this is happening. I found this is tell us, because the great thing about us is we can protect your kid like. Nobody knows that you who reported it, but we can look into it and if it’s something new that’s happening, we can alert other people and your kid can be part of the solution, just like him was talking about.
Yeah, and if you have a win, share it with us. A parenting win to, because that encourages other parents. You know when we’re feeling like, oh my gosh, I’m getting it all wrong. Sometimes we just need to hear that someone else is doing well and it’s working and that’s encouraging to. So we want to hear it all. We’d love to stay connected with you. Thanks for being here, y’all.
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