0:00:03 – Speaker 1
Hey, this is Mandy and Kim with nextTalk, where we are passionate about keeping kids safe in the digital world.
0:00:09 – Speaker 2
Did you know? We have tens of thousands of listeners in 60 countries. It’s truly amazing, crazy. Only God and, as a non-profit, everything we do at nextTalk is supported by people just like you.
0:00:21 – Speaker 1
Be a part of changing the culture of conversation in your home and around the globe by making a donation today.
0:00:28 – Speaker 2
Go to NextTalkorg and click on Give and check out our resources while you’re there More than cyber parenting conversations to connect.
0:00:36 – Speaker 1
I get asked a lot this question. My kids are on screens all the time but they’re not telling me about anything bad.
0:00:45 – Speaker 2
So should I be concerned? Oh yes, I get this one a lot too.
0:00:50 – Speaker 1
And when I hear that I don’t want to freak anyone out, but in my mind I’m like, oh, we need to revisit something.
0:00:56 – Speaker 2
Yes, we need to discuss some conversations and clarity.
0:01:00 – Speaker 1
Well, because here’s the thing If your kids are online, even if it’s just playing four plus apps, they may be seeing things that you’re not realizing, and they may not even realize that it’s bad or inappropriate, but they’re being exposed to some inappropriate, non-friendly content. Yeah.
0:01:18 – Speaker 2
I think it’s important to clarify what you just said If they’re online, because if your kids have something and they’re not in apps or they’re not, don’t freak out if they’re not reporting a ton we’re talking about. If they have access online to whatever device they have, then there’s going to be things that seep through.
0:01:33 – Speaker 1
So that also includes Xbox playing online with Nintendo Switch, even educational games for school, like if they’re getting online. Sometimes the content may not be bad, but user names could be really inappropriate account names, that kind of thing.
0:01:49 – Speaker 2
Let’s take this one further too TV. If your kid is watching TV, they are seeing things in this day and age now on their cartoons. Any content, even made just for kids, it’s saturated with things.
0:02:02 – Speaker 1
Well, we’ve got anime and it looks like cartoon and it’s not cartoon. Anime is for older kids, right? The content is very iffy on a lot of the different anime shows. So we have cartoonish type looking TV shows that are often really for teenagers. So what do we do about this?
Because moving to a private island, if you’re like me, you can’t afford it. So what do we do? And we’ve said over and over again at nextTalk just ignoring it or saying you’re not going online ever really isn’t the answer. Because, again going back to my story, my daughter was exposed to porn and she didn’t have a phone and really no devices were even present when she was exposed to it in the front-end raid, because it was a conversation about something a kid had seen online the night before. So she was exposed a graphic image painted in her little fourth grade mind, but no screens were present. So even if you’re like I’m not giving them online access ever, they’re going to be exposed through a conversation on the bus, on the playground whatever, and if we freak out and shut it down and don’t address their questions or concerns?
0:03:15 – Speaker 2
we know, we know how kids just think about ourselves. If you say something is taboo or you shut it down, the curiosity spikes through the roof and they’re going to get that information and answers somewhere and the world is just waiting to tell them what to think and do. So if we’re not their source, it’s going to be a problem, I feel like this is a show like the root of nextTalk.
0:03:34 – Speaker 1
You know, like going back to the basics here, but we do need to remember this and I think a lot of times too, when the kids are home more through breaks, through this last couple of years with COVID they’re just we’re more laxed about go play this or go play that, and we just need to make sure that they’re telling us if anything inappropriate is popping up. So how do I respond to this question? My first thing is I need to say to the parents is we may need to just revisit your guidelines, because are your expectations clear? Do they know what to report to you? Have you said this is my list of things I want you to tell me about, and most of the time the parents are like well, I did not have to do that, like if there’s a new photo, they’ll tell me, and I’m like no, that’s their culture. Everything is snap posted and shared. They have phones in the bathrooms and in the locker rooms, the changing you know where they change dressing rooms, and so for them you have to be very specific.
0:04:38 – Speaker 2
These are the guidelines. An easier way to start that conversation is to apologize. Hey, I’m sorry, I just wasn’t clear about this. I didn’t realize that I needed to say these things, but I do. And I want to kind of start fresh with you and be clear and specific about what I need you to report to me. So don’t make it about them. Make it about you and your role in this situation, and that’s a good way to kind of get those walls to come down and start the conversation so you can say you know, I’m learning about the games that you’re playing, social media, everything you’re doing online, and there’s some bad things that are going to happen and I want to help protect you from that. And so let me tell you what I need you to report.
0:05:16 – Speaker 1
So you’ve apologized, you’ve gone to them, you’ve laid it out, you’ve tried to take down the walls. I love how you said that, kim. We’re going to give you five guidelines. Now, these aren’t the only five guidelines, but this is like the starting point. If you’ve never laid out your clear expectations. These five are really good starting points. They’re things that we started in our home, right when we started realizing, okay, we need to create a culture of conversation in our home. You know, with my daughter, it was fourth grade, because we missed it. With my son, we implemented these when he was in kindergarten, right when, right when we became aware that we needed to be talking more, and so these five things we’re going to lay out for you, um, so, again, this is a conversation with your kid. You’ve apologized and you’ve said we need to set some new expectations. This is what I want you to tell me about.
Okay, so number one anything about dating, kissing or marriage. Anything about dating, kissing, marriage. The reason is, years ago I had a mom contact me and she said my kid is playing a four plus app and it’s teddy bears and you dress them up and you, I just found out they can get me and get married and my kid got three women married together, and so she was like, oh my gosh, like that’s just, there’s these things about marriage that are being taught to my kid on a four plus app, and I didn’t realize it. So this will catch that and they’ll come to you and they’ll talk to you about it, and then you will be able to have a voice to speak into it.
0:06:49 – Speaker 2
And the important thing there is not to like lose your mind, like oh my gosh, they’re being exposed to this. The point of that is so when they tell you you can set those foundational truths that you want your kids to know about marriage between a man and a woman, it gives you that opportunity to speak into that situation.
0:07:06 – Speaker 1
The other thing that this does is you know, I have older kids, so YouTubers they love their YouTubers and it changes every day.
I can’t keep up with who’s their favorite one, right and so anything dating, kissing, marriage if your YouTuber is getting married, they’re talking about relationship advice in between playing Minecraft, like I want to just know about that. And, like Kim said, when they start reporting these things to you, you lay out these guidelines, these five things we’re telling you about. They’re like the core five beginner principles, and if they start reporting things to you I love what Kim said don’t lose your mind. The response is thank you so much for telling me right, and remember I can’t throw away the phone, take away the app, because they’re telling me they shouldn’t lose things because they’re being honest with you. They should get more freedom when they’re being honest.
0:07:56 – Speaker 2
Well, they’re doing what we asked them to do, we said hey, this is what we need you to do. They’re following through, so we want to celebrate that.
0:08:03 – Speaker 1
So when they start reporting these things, thank you for telling me, don’t lose your mind. Let’s talk about what you saw. And you get a new app today, because you told me I’m going to check the app, make sure it’s good, but what do you want next? Okay, so you’re kind of continually rewarding them and building them up as they’re reporting things to you.
0:08:21 – Speaker 2
Exactly Okay. So number one anything about dating, kissing or marriage. Number two anyone asking you for personal information like your name, your address, the school you go to, where you go to church, any stranger wanting to private message you. These are huge red flags and for kids they’re not thinking about it. If we haven’t outlined that for them, they’re just thinking, oh, this person wants to get to know me, Like, oh, I go to this school, oh, you go to that church, when really they could be exposed to a groomer who is trying to connect with them, form a relationship so they can gain their trust, which could ultimately end in a very bad situation, Anything as far reaching as being sex trafficked from their bedroom. I mean, this can go really, really south very quickly. So if we can start on the front end and teach them about keeping that information safe and letting you know when someone asks, it’s a really big deal. It protects them from a lot of things.
0:09:15 – Speaker 1
This works, guys. We have seen this in our own family Somebody trying to initiate a conversation with our kids and our kids coming to us and doing an evaluation. And I’m thinking, oh my gosh, this was a scary person. If we had not been having this conversation and my kids did not have this guideline to talk to me about this, this could have been really bad.
0:09:38 – Speaker 2
You know, one of my kids have twice reported to me where their friends have been in touch with a stranger, and both times resulted in finding out that they were bad guys. He has saved two friends from possible danger, which is incredible to me and a great way that I get to encourage him that he’s making a difference. I mean, one of his friends was on Roblox, which is a game a lot of kids play, including mine, and was giving out his information to a stranger and mentioned it to my kid, who was like, hey, wait a minute, you can’t do that, let’s talk to your mom about it. And he had no idea, it didn’t even cross his mind, and no fault of the mom, she hadn’t even thought about it. And so we were able to talk with her and report this guy and it ended up he was not a good guy and it happened with someone else in our lives as well. I mean this is a real thing where we can equip and empower our kids to not only protect themselves but help their friends.
0:10:32 – Speaker 1
Our kids have saved people who literally have had plane tickets sent to them to go meet up with somebody online. Our kids reported that to us and then we were able to help that kid and save that kid. So and we don’t say that, we say that because this works like please implement this guideline with your kids. You’re not only saving them, but others, their friends. So number one is anything about dating, kissing, marriage. Number two, anyone asking for personal information online, like name, address, school, church, what, yeah, whatever any kind of interaction with an online stranger. And number three, anyone in a bathing suit or less. Now I get some pushback on this one can get the hard one, because people are like not all bathing suit pictures, it’s true, like what are you?
in an image, true. So here’s my disclaimer on this one. When my kids were really little kindergarten, fourth grade that was my guideline. Now that they’re teenagers, you know I’ve got almost an eighteen year old and a fourteen year old the conversation is more like if you see an inappropriate sexual eyes, bathing suit or less picture, tell me about it. They know the difference now. Right, they know the difference between standing by the pool with all your friends in your bathing suits versus An up close but picture. You know the? No, I don’t have to.
0:11:52 – Speaker 2
You know we started out with this guideline as we just presented it, but when you have a span of age, sometimes your guidelines have to adjust with your family and that’s why we say your family, your choice, make it work for your family. So, like my second grader, we’ve had to have that discussion, like when we’re at the Walmart, the ladies in the underwear in the underwear section on the pictures, like that’s not inappropriate there advertising a product that we need, and so we’ve had to have those kind of discussions to create context. I would say so this is a basic guideline, but you know what works in your family. Make it work. Explain it when you need to so that they understand what you mean. The point is we don’t want them looking at explicit pictures. We want them to let us know when they see that.
0:12:39 – Speaker 1
That is the point that’s the why behind it. We don’t want them watching porn and we don’t want them asking for news or taking news of themselves. Right, that’s the main point of this guideline here. But when you start them early like red flag alert, this isn’t OK. That I’m seeing something online, skimpy, whatever. I think about the time when my, when my son he was in fourth grade I think I share this in one of my books and talk he was googling a football score and what popped up was a girl and all she was wearing was a thong and she had her arms crossed like over her boobs a little bit. Oh yeah, she was pretty much naked and he was like what is this? And because of this reporting guideline, he told me, and we had a conversation about it, versus him getting curious and clicking and going deeper down into a pornography situation and so, again, this just keeps them safe. This is a guideline that keeps them safe.
0:13:36 – Speaker 2
OK, so anything in a bathing suit or less Great Number four, any word you don’t know or any cuss word, and this start as early as you can, and it’s like pre-school as soon as they start talking and walk in.
You know and they understand. This is a great one to establish, because when they’re going to school, on the playground you don’t know what their friends are watching, you don’t know what they came across walking into the room of an older, older sibling, and so they’ll hear things, or be told about things, or they’ll hear a cuss word or something they don’t know. If they’re jumping in the car and telling you, you get a chance to explain it to them, you get a chance to set guidelines with them, and so this, you’re going to get weird stuff. You’re going to get words that are not bad words and that’s OK. Still thank them and say great job, thank you for telling me answer their questions, so that normalizes the process of having conversations about things they don’t know.
0:14:30 – Speaker 1
I like what you said right there, kim, and I want to just go a little bit deeper with it. When they come home and ask you what something says and it’s like innocent and not a big deal at all, don’t laugh it off and be like, oh, that’s so cute, like you can laugh with your husband or your friend behind closed doors. But if you do that in front of your kids, they internalize and think every question that I have is going to be stupid and so we don’t want to do that. It’s always. Thank you so much for asking me. This is what this means.
And on the other side of that spectrum you’re going to get some bad words. So you may get your four-year-old saying mom, what is FUC came in and you’re like I mean, I remember when that happened with us. My son was in kindergarten. My husband almost spit his chicken across the room we were eating dinner. I’ll never forget it, the look on his face, and I could just tell he was like I cannot believe. I just heard this word from my kindergartener and, of course, me.
I was new to the nextTalk journey, new to the open communication thing, and I was like Baba. Thank you so much for telling me let’s talk about that. And so I answered that for him and I thought to myself there’s two different meanings of the word. So I was real honest with him about the first meaning. I said one meaning is dismissive, like I don’t, like you get away from me, like FU is what I was thinking.
I didn’t tell him that, I just said one of them is like super disrespectful and like get away from me. And I said there’s another meaning which I was thinking okay, this is the worldly word for sex. I said there’s another meaning and there’s some things we haven’t covered yet. So when you get a little older and you know what that means, I’ll tell you what that is. But what you need to know right now for your little heart and your little brain is this is a word we don’t use, and if I hear it, if you hear anybody saying it, I need you to tell me. Okay, and that was that, that was the conversation. And so I gave him the information he need in age appropriate terms, without overexposing him too fast and you didn’t dismiss it or say, oh my gosh, don’t say that ever again.
0:16:32 – Speaker 2
Because when we do that, then they’re like well, what is it? It must be really bad. And then they go again searching for someone who will answer the question for them.
0:16:39 – Speaker 1
And that’s how Old Mandy used to respond and that’s why I realized I wasn’t doing the right thing and I had to change my parenting if I was going to really get this right. Okay, number five any name calling mean threatening or bullying language. Okay. So, for example, your kids on a plain Xbox and people are calling him stupid or dumb ASS, you need to know that your daughter’s on Instagram and a girl is calling another girl fat or you know, demeaning or bullying, anything like that. You need to know that. You need to have a conversation.
There are certain things that you will need to report, especially if a child is in danger. You need to make sure nobody knows that. You know Instagram, xbox, a lot of the gaming. You can report things on there like mean or abusive language, bullying, and you get to do that anonymously. So it’s an easy way. I know one time my son there was a guy on Xbox or something and he was bullying people. My son reported him and he got kicked off for a couple of days in this game. You know I mean they follow through sometimes. I mean not always, but sometimes they’re getting better. You know they’re getting better at it. They were. They’re realizing the seriousness of it.
0:17:53 – Speaker 2
Yeah, so in person or online, any mean threatening, bullying language. We want to be able to speak into that. We want to be able to talk to them about it. Now, listen, we have a show on bullying. That is really good. It takes a little bit of a different perspective you may not have considered and it explains some things that are important to talk about with your kids. So if you have a chance, check out that show. It’s really great with offering some conversation starters.
Our five guidelines, the key things that you need to explain to your kids you want reported. Number one anything about dating, kissing or marriage. Number two anyone asking you for personal information like name, address, school, where do you go to church, etc. Number three anyone in a bathing suit or less. Number four any word that you don’t know or any cuss word. And number five the name calling mean threatening or bullying language and when you go to your kids and say, hey, I’m sorry, I didn’t know, you need to lay this out and you apologize and kind of reset these guidelines. I think it’s really important to also say, now that you know what I’m looking for, can you think for a minute? Have you seen any of these things? Have you heard?
any of these things and you might be surprised. They might sit there for a second, say you know what, and they may open up to you and in that moment again, it’s really important just to listen, don’t overreact, don’t get mad, because you’ve literally just laid out for them that you want them to do this and they’re following through. So it’s a great opportunity to praise them and say thank you for telling me, and then you get to talk to them right in that moment about what a good job they’re doing and explain anything that you need to explain absolutely.
0:19:25 – Speaker 1
I think that’s such a good point. And also we have to note here when you first start doing this, you’re going to get a lot. You’re going to get a lot coming at you. As your kids grow up, they learn to discern what you need to know about and what you don’t. So your guidelines will change okay as they get older. That doesn’t mean they’re keeping things from you. That means they’re learning.
Okay because because, honestly, my teenagers, if they reported every cuss word to me, I don’t even need to know that anymore, like my past. But when they were in fourth grade, yes, that needed to be reported to me. Right, because it was getting them in the habit of just telling me. But now it looks very different. I they don’t report every cuss word to me. Obviously they’re teenagers. They’ve been able to determine on their own, as they’ve grown and matured, what is mean language versus what is a bullying situation. How they report is different to me, but the key is that we’ve taught these guidelines. Their standard operating procedure is if this doesn’t feel right or something’s off here, I need to go talk to mom or dad about it right away that’s such a good point.
0:20:29 – Speaker 2
I’m glad that you clarified that for everybody it’s it’s a process of teaching them how to protect their own heart and mind by starting early with clear guidelines. We hope this helps you out. You can always email us at admin at next dot org if you have some questions or concerns or ideas or need some clarification on any of these. But this is a great way to establish a culture of communication in your home about anything and everything your kids are seeing. This is how we protect them.
Transcribed by https://podium.page