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. So we just posted on social media saying what do you want us to cover for podcast? And we had a parent comment and I thought it was a great, great question. This is what she says My son loves watching videos online, mostly educational videos, fun facts, that sort of thing but she says it’s not always accurate. So how do I teach him? You’re laughing. So she says how do I teach him to scrutinize what he hears rather than taking everything he sees and reads online as facts.
0:01:12 – Speaker 2
Oh, that’s good, i mean, because that’s something not just for kids. I mean, i’ll be honest, there have been times I’ve watched something and I’ll start texting my husband and I’m like, oh my goodness, this, that the other, and he’s like, what are you watching? I mean, we all need that skill of filtering through what we take in through media and through conversations. So this is a great question. It’s a great one.
0:01:37 – Speaker 1
Yes, absolutely. So I want to dig in. I think there’s, you know, three things came to mind immediately And I responded on our Facebook page with that, just so she had information right there. But as we were talking through it, you were like I have some more to add, and so we actually have five things. We’re going to kind of expand on what we commented back on Facebook and we can cover it here in a little bit more detail. So number one and this is something that we’ve been saying forever and ever and ever, always, always, teach your kids not everything you read here, see online or in real life is true, and start this when they’re like preschoolers, when they start spending time away from you. You need to start telling them you know not everything you hear is true if you’re on the playground or whatever, and then that can translate over into the online world once they get a little bit older, and then that way it becomes, we create kids that don’t just take any information and make it fact in their life.
0:02:35 – Speaker 2
Well, we want to make our kids questioners, you know. We want them to think through things and not just say, oh yeah, yeah, that makes sense, or go along with it. I mean it’s biblical First Thessalonians 521 because it teaches us to test everything that is said. And I love that, because I don’t know that we I don’t remember being like that. I remember it was more like if an adult says it or someone that I know, i’m just going to go with it, and if I’m at church, i’m just going to believe it. If I’m in a circle where I feel safe, that’s probably true. And I don’t want to come across as cynical or that we shouldn’t have our trusted people in places. I think it’s important to teach our kids it’s okay to question, it’s okay to wonder, it’s okay to test everything through filters that we know, and that’s going to be one of our other tips out of our five. But have those questions That’s not a bad thing to ask before you just say, oh yeah, that’s true.
0:03:35 – Speaker 1
Well, we want to create a habit in our home. If they hear a new word phrase, they’re curious about something, that they’re going to come home and ask us hey, i heard this on the playground, this is new to me. That’s what this person said. What is that true? Is that whatever, like that’s the environment that we want to create, and if we can start it when they’re really little, it gets way easier, because then it’s like a habit that oh, i heard this today and it’s weird. And so then when they get on Instagram, they’re seeing stuff for the first time and it’s a habit. Oh, i got to go ask. Which leads us to our second point. Kim, ask your trusted person for clarity and direction. Ask your trusted person.
0:04:13 – Speaker 2
Yeah, this is one of my favorite things that happens from being a nextTalk family is when my kids will talk to someone and they’ll say, well, what did your mom say? Or what did your dad say? Like my kid will say that to another kid and they’re like, oh, i didn’t think to ask them Or I don’t know, i didn’t tell them. And my kids will come home and they’re like what They didn’t ask their mom or dad? It’s just status quo in our house that they’ll come to us and ask, even if it’s hard or weird or difficult or uncomfortable, and this is the same part of this process. They’re gaming online, they’re watching a YouTube video, whatever it is that they have a person, whether it’s mom or dad or grandma or whoever in their circle, that is a green light, safe person that they know. You know, maybe they’re not old enough to do research or dig in, but they know if I ask this person, they’re gonna either tell me the truth or they’re gonna help me find the truth. They need that. We all need that.
0:05:12 – Speaker 1
Well, and building a safe place. it sounds easy, but it’s absolutely not, and that’s why a lot of times, we will say, like avoid crazy parent mode, because your kids, if you set this up in your home, they’re gonna bring to you some shocking stuff. I mean, you were gonna be like gut punched about what is being talked about on the playground and the bus, and so that’s why we always want you to practice that avoid crazy parent mode. The first response is always and practice this, think about it ahead of time is thank you so much for telling me. Thank you, i’m so proud of you.
Now you may need a day to get back with them on how to answer their question, because it’s so out there. You may need to do some research of your own, whatever it is, but you’re figuring it out together And that is building a safe place. Okay. so one is teach your kid repeatedly. not everything you hear and read is gonna be true. Two, always ask your trusted person for clarity and in direction. Three, a real practical one teach your kid to check multiple sources.
0:06:17 – Speaker 2
Mm-hmm for sure. This is, and when we were talking through this, i always come from the younger kid perspective And so in my mind the first source is usually mom and dad. But as I get older, we need to teach them how to check multiple sources, find out different opinions, go through different fact places than just what you hear from one, even if it seems valid. It’s so important to do your own research in multiple different locations.
0:06:45 – Speaker 1
Well, and I remember when my kids were little we would do this together. We would dig in and figure it out together. As they’re older now they may say ask me something. And I’ll say what did you check? this news outlet and that news outlet, cause you’re gonna get different opinions. And then maybe you can fact check all of it together, right? And so that has been a conversation. A lot of times my kids will go off on their own and do their own. I’ll look into it as well. And then we kind of circle back and I’ll say, hey, did you check this out? Did you check that out? Or sometimes we group text each other you know videos or links or whatever to fact check. So make this just part of your culture and your family, that we’re not just easily susceptible to what anyone says online, that we’re just gonna believe it and take it as truth.
0:07:30 – Speaker 2
Well, and that’s great too, Cause we tend to kind of navigate towards people that think and feel the same way that we do, and sometimes we get trapped in a bubble where we’re not being challenged or our eyes are not being open to other perspectives and other sources. So I think this is just a life skill that’s important to teach our kids while they’re under our roof.
0:07:48 – Speaker 1
Yes. So number four, let’s move on And this is a biggie. Talk about bandwagon mentality. You know, we all know what this is. It’s just jumping on whatever. whatever the mass is doing, or whoever’s popular or who are, we just jump on and we don’t question anything. Listen, in the culture today, this is an important, important conversation.
0:08:11 – Speaker 2
I hear this with my kids Something will going around at school and some people will like it and then everybody likes it and everybody has to see it or do it or be a part of it. And sometimes I’ll say, well, tell me what you like about it. And my kids will be like, well, everybody else is doing it, or I don’t know. It just seems like a good idea. You know, those bandwagon mentality words should be a trigger for us to sit with our kids and remind them that that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it can be a really bad thing. It really can spiral out of control and you can lose your sense of what I believe in and the core principles that I stand by, or just thinking through things, which is kind of what this whole show is about. I remember, in particular, my kids. I don’t remember what happened, but I shared with them this story about when I was I wanna say late elementary school, maybe middle school. Do you remember the Oprah Show? I remember the Oprah show.
0:09:07 – Speaker 1
We all were. You get a card, you get a card, you get a card. That’s what I remember about.
0:09:12 – Speaker 2
Oprah. All my high school essays were like I am going to be the next Oprah, like that was my thing. I wanted to be a talk show host for a lot I mean, i wanted to be a backup dancer too, but a talk show host on the side And so I always watched the Oprah show, always And I remember this one that made such a huge impact on me And I’m old, i’m wearing my readers, so I don’t remember all the details, but what I shared with my kids and what stood out the most is she did this experiment in her audience And she had them come in like normal and they filed into the big thing And she had separated the room into two different parts And she’s like if you have dark hair, you sit on this side, if you have blue eyes, you sit on this side. I think those were the two things.
And she had experts people she said were experts on the panel And she started sharing this breaking news and discoveries that scientists had found about people with dark hair versus light eyes, and she was sharing all this information like your IQ is higher, your better in relationships, all these different things And it was all ridiculous.
Like as she was saying it, everybody was like oh my gosh, oh my gosh. But the more she said it and the way she said it and experts say it, people actually began to believe it in the audience And they started standing up and saying, oh, this is definitely true, i stand behind this. And it was breaking up families within the audience and friendships over something somebody just said on a talk show And I was sharing that with my kid that that’s kind of how the world is. You’ll hear people spout things off and say them like they’re fact. Or scientists say, and if we just take that in and believe it is truth, we can get really swayed in what we really believe or what truth really is. And that’s I mean we get washed away or blown away in the wind so easily with that kind of bandwagon mentality.
0:11:05 – Speaker 1
OK, so I didn’t see this episode. I didn’t see this episode. I don’t remember this at all, but people started arguing in the audience.
0:11:14 – Speaker 2
Like what? Oh, totally Like yelling in the audience And some people were in the same family. Oh, it came very springy Like right there. Yeah, i mean, there was a husband and wife who looked different within the same family and then friends who had come together. So imagine that. And suddenly people were like believing this false information and yelling and challenging each other in the audience. It was awful. And then she like broke the news to people. It was a whole thing. But the point of it and what made an impact for me and why I shared it with my kids, is so easily, within a moment, we can change what we believe or think by just following down the trail of what someone says, and that’s dangerous.
0:11:53 – Speaker 1
Yeah, And I mean Oprah had the right mentality to kind of prove a point that day. I mean for real. I mean I don’t agree with everything Oprah says and does, But I don’t agree with what most people say and do, though, But I think this seemed like a good lesson for you. I mean, you took it to heart And all these years later you’re sharing it with your kids, So it made an impact on you, And I think that’s kind of cool. We also have two shows that we’ve done kind of on this.
If you want to talk to your kids about bandwagon mentality, it needs to be a continual conversation in your home, Because our kids are following all these social media and YouTube influencers that they love and adore. They’re watching them in their home with their dogs, with their girlfriends and boyfriends, And it’s like they become friends online friends. You know they DM them sometimes. You know the influencer will respond, And so when the influencer starts speaking stuff into your, they may just automatically believe it, because this person has 1.6 million followers And all these people can’t be wrong. So, yes, I’m just going to jump on that. So this bandwagon mentality is important, And we have a couple shows that I think would be helpful.
They’re older shows but they’re still really good talking points. We did one called Bandwagon Mentality back in 2019. And there’s also another one we did in 2021 that I remember really well And it’s called Influenced And it is a really good show because we talk about teaching your kid to be a free thinker, looking at what both sides of the spectrum say, and I think is a really good show and helpful. So we got one tell your kid repeatedly, not everything you hear, read, see online is true or in real life. Two ask your trusted person. Three check multiple sources. Four, talk about bandwagon mentality. And five is literally the most important of all of them, Absolutely Number five put everything through the lens of scripture.
0:13:51 – Speaker 2
You know this goes back to everything we said so far. On the show. You can hear, see, experience a lot of things in this world, but what does God say about it? What is truth? And he’s our source, he’s our foundation, he’s where we go to figure out what the real answer is. And so teaching our kids to be free thinkers and look at different sides and dig into different sources and ask their trusted people, yes, but at the end of the day, we want to teach them to go back to the person that will always tell the truth and give them the best direction, and that’s by reading God’s word, by looking at scripture.
0:14:25 – Speaker 1
Well and honestly, kim, i think you know we need to teach our kids. You may have to stand alone on this, you may have to be the only one in your class that believes this way, or you know, our kids are growing up in a very weird culture where being a Christian is controversial, derriety as judgmental and hateful. So we almost have to go above and beyond to show love and respect and everything to be that light in the world. And when we do that, sometimes people think, oh, they believe all of this And you know. Then we have to be like oh wait, no, i stand on biblical truth, but I love you because loving you is biblical for you, right?
And so it’s this mess in the middle that we always talk about in our kids. They’re going to feel it And there’s this tension that happens there. I mean, i struggle with it every day, especially in the public nextTalk role that I’m in. You know it’s a very. It’s something that I pray about daily with Jesus, about how to represent Him well but also stand firm, and our kids need to see us doing that, struggling with it, and they’re going to struggle with it too, and sometimes there’s no other answer other than God sees what you’re doing and cry with your kids Sometimes. That’s the thing, but we do have to teach our kids to put everything through the lens of scripture, because the whole world can be wrong. They can’t be And God won’t be. God knows things that we don’t know. He sees before and after. He sees the spiritual battles happening that we don’t see, and we have to trust Him. We have to trust Him in all of it.
0:16:01 – Speaker 2
Well and ultimately, i know we said that you know sometimes we have to stand alone in that, but we are really never alone And God is really the only eternal person that will be in our lives, like truly, that we can count on, no matter what anybody else says or does. So I love these five steps because they’re not only practical for this specific scenario, but they are life lessons that can apply to so many different things for our kids as they navigate all the crazy things that are up there up against in this world.
0:16:31 – Speaker 1
So this was a great question. You guys send us your questions If you have something we haven’t covered, or you’re like this specific thing that a mom commented on Facebook when we think, oh my gosh, this is really great, we can do a whole show on it. We will. We’ll take your questions and we’ll put them in this format. But send us your questions. You can always email us also at admin at nextTalk.org. Thanks for listening. 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.
0:17:07 – 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 nextTalk.org.
0:17:16 – Speaker 1
We’d love to hear from you 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. Others are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
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