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 nextTalk.org.
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.
0:00:38 – Speaker 2
So my kids love YouTube. They watch it just like it’s their TV, and I know millions of other kids are like that. They have their favorite YouTubers, the different topics they cover. I mean it’s very, very personal. They’re into it. I don’t necessarily love it, but I get it because I had my favorite shows growing up and my favorite TV stars that I followed and watched, and this is just the way that they get entertainment these days.
0:01:03 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. I do think there’s a switch, though, that we need to be aware of, and the fact is that a lot of these YouTubers they film from their homes, like we’re doing, and they have dogs and they have relationships And it’s almost like you’re inside their life. So they become like they feel like friends, more so than our TV stars, like I remember the people that I had crushes on and that’s the celebrities that I looked up to when I was a kid. I mean I wanted to know and I would love when I saw a magazine picture of them in their house or whatever, but it’s not a constant stream of them walking through their house, of me getting to know where they live, of me getting to watch them cook And you know, and now it’s like very personal. So I feel like the YouTubers, they almost become friends with our kids, like a virtual friend.
0:01:51 – Speaker 2
Yeah, Well, they follow them and it can become excessive because you know, we had to wait, we had to rush home every week to watch, like the new episode, and we were watching characters, not the real person, like you said. Now they’re involved in their life and seeing what they’re doing in the behind the scenes of who that person really is, as far as they know, and they can watch episode after episode after episode and really be in it and get caught up in this person’s personality.
0:02:17 – Speaker 1
I think you hit on something right there. You know ours. When we had celebrities, they were characters and this is more a real life and we don’t know if they’re acting. You know it could not be their real life, but they stream it like that is who they are, And so it just becomes very real. Like I want to be like that, i want to do all those things. I want to be in my kitchen giving away a million dollars. You know those sorts of things because we see it play out online on YouTube.
0:02:47 – Speaker 2
So, in saying all that, one of the YouTubers that we have watched for quite a while now is MrBeast, and his show has been fun because it’s clean. You know there’s not a lot of things on there that are red flags. When I’m watching it with my kids or have watched it, he gives away a ton of money. He does really funny stunts, you know, like weird stuff, like leave your hand on the car for a bunch of days and win money, stay in the small circle and get $10,000. Like just riveting stuff, because it’s so outside of the norm and it seems really fun And the idea of winning all that money is it’s pretty intriguing, and so we’ve watched him do that and give to different charities And it’s just something that we’ve enjoyed because it’s like a down to earth guy who’s doing these fun things with his friends, and so it’s been something that we’ve followed.
0:03:35 – Speaker 1
You’ve told me sometimes for movie night, family movie night, we’ll watch MrBeast instead of Netflix, because with Netflix I have to go to plug in, i have to see the content, i have to research it. But MrBeast is more like a safe place because you’ve watched him for so long and you know, okay, he’s not going to get political, he’s not. It’s not coming away with these heavy topics And it’s just lighthearted. Let’s make the world better, let’s give away money, let’s bless people kind of mentality.
0:04:01 – Speaker 2
That’s the brand. And gaming He is a gamer too, so I have gamers and so they can relate to that too. So his brand overall has been pretty family friendly.
0:04:10 – Speaker 1
So recently, though, something happened within the show, and you said he often films with his friends and and it’s just these fun guys hanging out. So what’s happened recently? What’s the new thing?
0:04:22 – Speaker 2
Well, one of his buddies, Chris, on the show. Actually about a year ago he came out as bisexual and some things started changing with his look, just mild things, like he would paint his nails. But another guy on the show would paint his nails too, and it wasn’t anything more than that. They didn’t talk about it, they didn’t address it. I noticed it, took note of it, mentioned it to my oldest, like let’s just keep an eye on it, and then it kind of went away.
Then a couple of months ago, he came out as saying that he is doing hormone replacement therapy and his look has changed drastically. His hair is different, he’s lost a lot of weight, his face is contoured, he’s wearing makeup And on a recent episode on Mr Beast Channel he was wearing women’s clothes And it was awkward. The dynamic between Mr Beast and Chris and the other guys that have always done the show together was weird, and they actually ended up taking that down Because I think they’re trying to navigate this and it didn’t go well, and so it’s been the topic of conversation in our home because things are changing on his channel.
0:05:29 – Speaker 1
So one thing that I want to say, kim, before we get going into how you navigated this with your littles, is, if you need help talking about the gender ideology movement, we have some resources out there, so we did a couple shows. The first one is the pronoun show That is packed. We explained what gender ideology is, what is the difference between biological sex and gender. Walking through all that, that would be a great show for you to listen to if you need help in this space. We also did a my phobic show That is packed full of good information. Also, i’m just going to throw out our sexuality show just because of the LGBTQ space. There’s some talking points on that for this.
In my book Talk in 2016, i did a lot of transgender research, and so that chapter is full of some talking points that you can have with your kids surrounding gender dysphoria. The other thing, too, is there’s a book on the market that is not Christian, and I just want to put that disclaimer on there. There’s things this author says that I don’t agree with as a Christian. Okay, but I recommend the book because she did amazing research about the gender ideology movement, and it’s called Irreversible Damage by Abigail Scheyer. Her last name is spelled S-H-R-I-E-R. It’s not truth, it’s not biblical truth, but the research she did is incredible And it actually created so much good conversation in my home with my older kids as they were being exposed to this and seeing all this, and I was trying to wrap my head around what is happening in this transgender world and help me explain it to my kids, and this book was very beneficial to me. So those are some resources that I want to throw out there.
0:07:27 – Speaker 2
I think that’s such a great tip, mandy, because your kids, as they get older, they’re going to be hearing things and doing their own research And if you are saying something that’s not true about science or about gender, that you are just kind of putting together and throwing out there, it’s going to discredit you And then they won’t want to talk to you about these things that they’re seeing in the world. So it is really important that we educate ourselves and we actually know what we’re talking about. Especially with things that are scientific, we need to know the details of things like that.
0:07:59 – Speaker 1
Well, you know, if you want to be your kids Google, you have to give them accurate information, and if you don’t give them accurate information, they’re not going to keep asking you. And now listen, i know sometimes things change and we get it wrong, we misspeak, but just go back and tell your kids. When you do that, say, hey, remember a couple of weeks ago, when we were talking about this, i quoted a research article and then I actually found it and read it and it had some different talking points, and so I want to talk about that now. That’s very important for you to do stuff like that in this space, because you’re right, kim, you do create credibility. Another thing is follow people that you may not agree with on everything, and why I say that is because you have people within the LGBTQ movement sounding the alarm on gender identity. In fact, some people are breaking away and saying there’s going to be LGBT, which is just the sexuality portion, and then you’re going to have the transgender. It’s going to be a separate movement, because there’s so many people within the LGBTQ community speaking out, saying this is not okay what we’re doing with our kids, pushing them to a path of surgeries, mutilating healthy body parts when their brain is not fully developed yet. That is a lot of the pushback that is coming with the movement And you need to educate yourself on that because that’s great. Those are great talking points. There’s a huge amount of detransitioners out there And these are kids that have had surgery, so they’ve had their penis cut off or they’ve had their breast cut off, and now they’re older And they’re saying, oh my gosh, like I’m having all these complications, like I can’t pee, i can’t have an orgasm. Nobody told me about all of this. And now that I’m older and I’m looking back like why couldn’t I just love myself as I was? Why did I have to rush into all these surgeries? And so these are all great talking points for older kids or curious kids that are asking you about this transgender movement.
You know one thing that I, with my older kids, as we’re diving into these conversations you know I think I said this on the phobic show or one of our older shows is I check myself to make sure I’m not being hateful by putting it through the lens of how I would handle this in a non LGBTQ way. So, for example, i think to myself If my 13 year old daughter wanted to have a boob job. How would I handle that conversation? And I know 100% that I would be like man. I want you to love yourself how God created you. You know, i mean you’re young, your body’s gonna change. You’re going through puberty. Nobody likes their body when they’re going through puberty. You know everybody questions everything. I mean, i remember that. And now they’re growing up in a world where you have all these different boxes to check if you don’t like your body. And I think that’s what’s so alarming to me, because you know, with the boob job conversation, like I would for sure say wait until you’re older. You know your brain is fully developed by 25. If you’re still feeling this way, then that’s between you and God and you can work this out. But right now, what I want you to do is love yourself because you are perfect and you are amazing, definitely. And also, just, why is it even a big deal? Why is it even a big deal that Chris is transitioning? You know, if I could talk to Chris today, what I would say to him is you are loved. I don’t care about your gender, like. I don’t care about how you dress, like. I just want you to know you are loved, right, and I think that’s very important for our kids to see us loving first.
That’s how Jesus approached people who were struggling. He led with love. He would meet them in the struggle. He would see them for who they were and what they felt. You know, even if it wasn’t right, he would see that and he would acknowledge them in their pain and they’re oh my gosh, this is maybe how you ended up here, right, but he would love them and then he would say go and send no more, don’t you see? This will set you free by walking away from confusion and sin, and that’s how he would lead.
So that’s how we should lead with all of these conversations is the love portion. But we’re giving you these resources for talking points and knowing what’s happening in the gender movement, because the truth aspect is very important too. It has to be a balance of love and truth, and so, having laid this foundation for you you know you lead with love you need to have all these resources. Now we come back to the question at hand. You’ve got littles in your home and they’re seeing this. How do you have this conversation? And, kim, i’m gonna rely on you here, because you have littles navigating this directly right now Tell us how you started.
0:13:00 – Speaker 2
Well, first of all, you wanna answer their questions. Definitely. Don’t brush it under the rug, don’t turn off the TV and say no more, mr Beast, because your kids are gonna be curious and they’re gonna ask their friends And when you’re not in the room, they’re gonna wanna turn it back on, because they do really love these YouTubers. They feel connected to them And Chris has always been on the show and they’re gonna wanna know what happened. So answer their questions in an age-appropriate way. That’s why it’s so important for you to educate yourself, so you know how to explain what’s going on.
Now, in our household we had already covered what it means to be transgender, and so when we watched the show and there was obvious changes and my kids were asking questions, i went a little bit of a different route because they already had that foundation And I said kids, why do we watch Mr Beast? Explain to me why. And it was really easy there, like cause he’s funny, he’s entertaining, he’s generous, his show is really interesting and he seems like a nice guy. You know, they were easy. It was easy for them to explain why we watch it, and that opened the door for me to say no matter what changes are happening on his show or with him or with Chris, we watch the show for entertainment.
It’s not mom and dad. We’re not going to him for advice. We can’t make him an idol. We can’t look up to someone and expect answers from a guy who’s entertaining us. We watch him for that reason, not to learn about sexuality, not any of those things. So, whether it’s Mr Beast and Chris or any show that we’re watching, it’s really important to put things into perspective for our kids, because the world is changing and the things that they’re gonna see on any show are gonna change, and so if we can help them remember to not put anyone up on a pedestal, to not idolize anyone or look to them for direction or guidance in their life, that’s a really great starting point, because then you can shift gears and say where do we gain truth, where do we gain direction? Only God, and always only God, not idols, not entertainers and help our kids keep their focus on the right things. And that’s kind of the premise of the conversation Anytime we see something on TV like this that I don’t want my kids to be looking at for answers for their life.
0:15:22 – Speaker 1
Man. I think that’s so powerful because it can be applied to anything. I’m thinking musicians, athletes. My son follows a lot of athletes. You know that he admires their athletic ability, but they’re not a role model in life, and I think this is a great conversation about.
You can admire the talent without putting these people on a pedestal and making them a role model in your life. And I would even go as to far as say we do this in the Christian community and we’re bad about it, like Christian celebrity pastors, and I mean they’re going to make mistakes. They’re human, everybody’s human, and so that is why it’s so important that only God is speaking into our lives. Only he is all knowing. You know. Only he is the one that’s perfect.
When we listen to people, we’re always likely to be led astray from truth. Anybody, anybody, and I’m even talking in the Christian world too. You have to be careful here. You have to be in the Word of God, praying to God and discerning for yourself like who is preaching truth and who is not, and line yourself up with those people. I love how you approach this as far as you didn’t turn off the TV screaming and hate. You know that’s that just can shut down so much conversation And it’s not the ways of Jesus, that, it’s just not. It’s not how he would have approached this, and so I love that you didn’t do that. You did say something. You said we had already had the transgender foundation, that was already set. And for those listeners I kind of want to backtrack to that, because those listeners who say, well, we haven’t had that, what is that simple conversation look like with maybe a seven or eight year old. What would you say to that?
0:17:03 – Speaker 2
When we talked about it in our house, we talked about the way that God creates us. There’s two sexes, there’s male and there’s female, and with the transgender movement we’re talking about someone feeling like they are not the sex that they were born with, and I can’t relate to that. I don’t know what that’s like, and so I want to have empathy and compassion and love for people who are in that space. But we believe that God created us a specific way, for a specific purpose in this life.
0:17:32 – Speaker 1
One of the things that I that I really struggle and I talk about this in my book in my trans chapter is I believe there are real kids who struggle with genders. For you, I believe that with all my heart. But there are kids who really struggle with this, And the problem with the gender movement today is it’s now trendy to be trans And so now you have all these kids that are just feeling a certain way and they’re taking over the movement. And my fear in all of this is the real kids who are struggling. They’re not getting help, They’re getting lumped into this movement And now eyes are being rolled and it’s not even being taken seriously because so many kids want to be this trend.
But these are the kind of foundational conversations that you need to be having with your kids. You need to tell them listen, if there’s somebody in your circle, in your youth group, in your school that’s struggling, be kind, Don’t bully, don’t make fun. You know you need to be instilling all of that stuff the leading with love, like Jesus did with your kids, But they also need to know the bandwagon mentality that’s happening with these kids. Some of these foundational conversations are what we’re talking about, like what you need to have. So you had already had this and so you went into. Okay, let’s think about why we watch Mr Beast and we’re not going to idolize him. He’s not our spiritual teacher, He’s not truth, He’s just for entertainment. This is just kind of fun.
0:18:59 – Speaker 2
Right about now, moms are like well, why wouldn’t we want to help our kids protect their heart and mind and just turn off the TV? And I get that and I understand that and I want to do that often. But what I feel like is important to realize here is that, whether you turn this show off or not, this show is a reflection of the world our kids are growing up in, and so in my mind it’s kind of one of those curse into a blessing. Here’s a show that we’ve watched before We see this change happening, and it allows me to have these conversations with my kids in a safe place under my roof, before they step out into the world and they do have someone in their circle or at work or on their campus that they meet and they don’t know what to do with that information. So, instead of turning it off, i answer their questions, i explain you know how we need to actually look at the show and then I get to wrestle with them on how they feel about it, because I want it to be their decision to protect their heart and mind if they feel like it’s uncomfortable. And so I said well, how do you feel about the show now? Is it a distraction from why we actually watch it For the entertainment side? do you find yourself just watching Chris and trying to figure it out in your mind And maybe you don’t enjoy the show anymore and you do want to turn it off, and I completely support that.
If you do want to continue watching the show, let’s continue the conversations. Let’s talk about what you’re seeing, Let’s talk about what you’re hearing And also, moms and dads, you need to watch any show that has information or characters or people on it that you’re concerned about, because it will continue to change. You know they’ll say things and do things that are different from today to tomorrow that you’re going to need to address with your kids. So you can’t just have one conversation and say, well, they know what transgender is, now, they know about idols. I’m going to walk away and let them watch the show. Can’t do that. It’s an ongoing conversation and being able to address what they’re seeing as it changes is so important.
0:20:59 – Speaker 1
Especially for Christians. We’re in this messy middle of trying to love people well and respect you know, treat each other the way we want to be treated. That’s biblical, that’s a Bible verse in the Gospel. And we’re in this messy middle of having this love and this empathy but then also not wavering on what the Bible says and not getting caught up in just whatever culture says today is okay. And this messy middle is kind of where we live, and I think it’s really important that you struggle with your family and with your kids and talk about that.
How hard it is to stand firm today on biblical truth. Like I know, as a Christian, my life would be easier if I would just say well, i don’t care, just do whatever, just do you, if I could say that. But I truly believe this is harming these kids, and so that’s where it wells up in me that I want to do something to protect the kids. Right, but I think often what you said was I’m not going to just rush and turn it off. I think that our flesh sometimes gets into this mode of we’re clutching the pearls, we know the truth and we’re just screaming. And that’s where you see on social media these Christian bullies and these Christian like their tone is just so off. You’re like why are you being a crazy Christian right now? That is not how we all you know. They’re like making fun of people And I’m just like what in the world is happening over there?
And what you’re saying is you know, don’t be reactive, but just have the conversation. I also absolutely love that you make it your kids choice. You’re not trying to control, you’re not trying to dictate. I think this is gold here, kim, because you’re saying you can continue watching, but we just have to talk about how you’re feeling about all this And let’s navigate this together. Or, you know, if you’re walking away from the show and it’s all heavy and confusion and political now and it’s like man, we tuned in because it was lighthearted and fun and it wasn’t that other stuff that I was getting on the other channels And I just I don’t want to watch anymore. You’re not yelling at them, telling them they’re phobic or whatever You’re saying. Okay, i totally understand this. You want to protect your heart and mind from the debate. You know life is so complicated as is and you just wanted a fun show to turn into.
0:23:25 – Speaker 2
Yes, you know, if you have little ones, it is your job to monitor more what they’re watching and lead them in that way. But you know, once they get older, we need to teach them how to protect their own heart and mind. And I get to high five my kids when they process with me and they see something that makes them uncomfortable and, instead of just sitting with it and not really thinking through it, being able to talk through it and decide this really isn’t good for me. That’s a life skill that when they’re out in the real world they’ll be able to use that because, moms and dads, this is what they’re going to face And we need to teach them how to process and make a decision through the filter of scripture without being crazy. You don’t have to be mean to make a decision on truth.
0:24:15 – Speaker 1
Well and pray for Chris. I mean, i think about, you know, i think about this whole situation like it’s public, there’s millions of people who follow him. Everybody has an opinion. There’s a lot of hate being thrown around, you know, and I think about like these are people, these are real people And this is like Chris had a wife and a little kid And I don’t. You know, there’s been reports They’re separated, like I don’t know what’s right, what’s wrong, but like this is a family that has been broken up. Now And all of this is coming at them. And I can’t imagine Mr Beast I mean here he is, if he loves his friend unconditionally, which he should on a personal basis, but then you have to think about the platform basis and all these kids tuning in. Is this show now gonna become a social justice cause With Mr Beast? I’m sure he’s like thinking about like what he was called to do on this channel versus what it is now because of the situation And I think there’s a conversation there too in the sense of our decisions and our choices like they have ramifications, they affect others.
You know Chris’s decision that will affect his wife and his child and his friends, and it doesn’t mean they’re hateful, it doesn’t mean they’re phobic automatically. It just means you were once this way and now you’re not. And I need a minute Like I just need cause. This is all different for me And I think we’re allowed to have our feelings about that too, like if everybody else is allowed to have their feelings. I think we get to have our own feelings, as long as we’re not becoming hateful and we’re not becoming a bully and we’re treating it like Jesus would really treat one Your kids don’t have feelings and that’s why it’s so important to process it with them, instead of just turning off the TV or saying, oh, we’re not watching that guy anymore.
0:26:13 – Speaker 2
Process it with them. Let them say I’m really disappointed, or I’m frustrated, or I don’t think I want to watch this anymore And that’s a bummer. Talk through that with them. It’s important. So, as you know, parents, as you’re thinking, am I going to let my kid watch the show anymore Or what am I going to do? I know, personally I don’t want my kids turning the show off in hate I don’t But I also don’t want them leaving it on without processing what they’re seeing, because it is a big deal And slowly, as Chris is changing, that is seeping into the heart and mind of my kid And they’re trying to process that and figure out what it all means, and I’m supposed to be that safe place for them. And so this conversation, even though it just seems like a YouTuber and not a big deal, is actually really a huge opportunity for you to talk through some foundational truths about what you believe and let your kid think and talk through it.
0:27:10 – Speaker 1
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.
0:27:21 – Speaker 2
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0:27:32 – Speaker 1
At nextTalk. We’re more than cyber parenting. It’s conversations to connect.
0:27:37 – Speaker 2
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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