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.
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More than cyber parenting conversations to connect.
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When you’re successful in creating a nextTalk culture in your family, we’ve noticed one of the toughest things that happens is that now you know everything, Not just like about your kids and your own family, but all the people, all the things everywhere.
0:00:52 – Speaker 1
I mean I go to football or basketball games or church And I just kind of look around and I know I think it’s like teachers. Teachers say kids are always telling what’s going on at home. They walk around knowing all the you know with your kids. if they’re coming home and telling you what’s happening with all their friend group and this family and that family, you’re like whoa, this is a lot.
0:01:18 – Speaker 2
It is a lot. Yes, it is a lot, And it’s hard because you know what they’re struggling with. You know everything, even like what parents are having affairs, like crazy stuff that you never would imagine Kids actually talk about that stuff.
0:01:34 – Speaker 1
I mean kids who have social media accounts but their parents say they don’t, they’re not allowed to have to. All the things. Like you, you know it all The struggles, the eating disorders, the porn, the sex, all of it. You are knowing all these things and it’s a lot to carry. You know, the more my kids tell me, the more I’m like, oh, my word, if they didn’t have me to talk to about this. Like they’re carrying all this on their shoulders. It’s a lot. It’s a lot for me to process as a 45 year old Yes, i just said my age 45 and I’m proud of it.
0:02:09 – Speaker 2
Yeah, getting up there, lady, it’s true, i mean carrying it on my shoulders is a lot, but when I think about my kids and their ability to think through all of that and their life experiences and all it’s just, I mean it’s kind of sad. I mean that they have to think about that and carry that at such a young age.
0:02:28 – Speaker 1
Well, you know, it reminds me of a Bible verse Kim Galatians 6-2 says carry each other’s burdens. And I always think about that. Like when you create a next-to-culture in your home, you’re carrying your kids’ burdens. You know, you’re helping with the load. I got this image the other day, you know. We were traveling and my kid was trying to pick up this really big, heavy suitcase And I came alongside and grabbed one side and then she grabbed the other and then we lifted it together And it just reminded me, man, when we’re a next-talk family, that’s what we’re doing with our kids emotionally. We’re carrying those burdens, We’re helping shield all those stuff that’s entering their mind with their friend, the real life stuff that their friends are struggling with. This isn’t people on social media, This is people they know and love.
0:03:15 – Speaker 2
Well, i got to be honest, i kind of. When I read through that and thought about that, the first image that came to mind for me was how we carry that burden with our kids. And then I just imagined, if you are a person of faith, this might resonate with you As a Christian. I just imagined Jesus coming in and swooping us both up Yes, you’re carrying the burden with your kid, but ultimately give it to me. And that just gave me a lot of comfort, Like, ultimately, it is not mine to carry, or my kids.
0:03:45 – Speaker 1
It’s not on my shoulder And I think that’s such a great image. So we got all this information. We got all this heavy stuff that our kids are telling us. What do we do with it? First, we listen. We listen, we take it all in. We share the burden. We say I’m so glad that you told me, i don’t want you holding all this in in your heart and mind and trying to figure it out, so I want to help you with this information. What you’re carrying.
0:04:15 – Speaker 2
So, yeah, as we’re listening, it’s so important and so hard to do For me I’m the first one to admit it is don’t judge. Listen, hear it, let your kid get it out, and then go to your knees and pray for the families, pray for the struggles, pray for the horrible things or the hard things or whatever it is that they’re going through, and that not only allows us to stand in the gap for these families and for these people, but it allows you to model for your kid what to do with trouble and with problems is. Go straight to the Lord, not judge, not gossip, not go on and on about how terrible these people are, but just take it to Jesus.
0:04:54 – Speaker 1
Well, and I know prayer sounds like so cliche, you know, and such kind of an easy out. Some people kind of roll their eyes like, oh, we need real action steps other than just prayer. People say that, right, and so we’re going to give you real action steps. But but prayer is important And I would also encourage you, you need some sort of family prayer time And that may be right before meals, that you guys all pray for somebody.
For us it has always been and we do pray before meals, but typically we’re hungry and it’s a short prayer. I’m just going to be honest, yeah, and we’re all going a hundred million miles grabbing forks, grabbing butter, and so for our family prayer time it’s before bedtime And it always has been. It’s just been a special time. Even my kids are 18 and 14 now And it looks a little different. They’ll actually cause we’ll go to bed earlier than they will, but they’ll come in bed, you know, 30 or 45 minutes after. They’ll come into our bedroom now And we’ll all just say our prayers together. It’s such a special time And a lot of times we are praying for those families they’ve just told me about, you know, and it’s it’s not an elaborate like gossipy type of prayer. It’s just pray for this family, lord, you know what’s going on.
0:06:06 – Speaker 2
The family prayer time is really important for us too, and, you know, even praying just one on one in that moment, whatever it looks like in your family prayer, is important. So so we’re going to listen to our kids when they come to us with their burdens, thanking them always for letting us know what’s going on. Then we pray. So now, how about some practical step? Get involved or not? Like that’s really the question. When they tell us something about a friend or a kid or a person, are there action steps to take? Should we do something? Should we contact someone? That’s a big question with this kind of information.
0:06:38 – Speaker 1
Well, and because each situation is so very different and we can’t we can’t give you a cookie cutter response to this, we just can’t. So instead we thought, okay, let’s share some real life examples. So these are things that either have happened directly with our kids. somebody on our team or somebody out there has contacted us at nextTalk and we’ve kind of walked them through this scenario.
0:07:00 – Speaker 2
Okay, Example number one one of my kids was told about an online relationship that was developing between his friend and this other person who lived kind of far away. And we were talking through it as the relationship was developing, like at what point are things happening and where’s this going? And it was just this constant conversation.
0:07:21 – Speaker 1
Well, and these were young kids. This wasn’t like on Instagram or Twitter, this was on a gaming system?
0:07:26 – Speaker 2
Yeah, it was, And even though this kid was a little bit older than mine, he was still really young and I will tell you I was very concerned And we got to the point where it turned a corner and he told my son we’ve purchased airline tickets, Like we’re going to meet up. And it was in that moment that we had to sit down and I said, okay, we are at a turning point. Now It has gone from conversation online to they are physically making a choice to do something that I don’t think is safe. Can we talk through what we need to do at this point? And my thinking is that it’s time for me to reach out to his mom.
And I just left it at that And he said can I think about it? And I said you can, but I don’t know that we can wait, you know, more than like a couple of hours, because this is urgent. And he was like you know what You’re right? It’s my friendship is not as important as his safety. I will never forget those words And so I contacted the mom and we talked through it and it was a really, really, really hard conversation, But I know that my kid, being brave enough to allow that conversation Possibly saved his friend, And so it was worth all the uncomfortableness. That was a situation where it was imperative to get involved because it was a safety issue.
0:08:43 – Speaker 1
You got to get involved on those issues. You can’t just Hold bad information quiet in your heart, like we are going to say about some of these things Yeah, this is an action, we’ve got to get involved, and You knew the parent in the situation. If you don’t know the parent, then call the police, call the school, call somebody to be able To get an investigation open to make sure this kid gets safe. You can also, you know, talk to your kid about talking to their friend, about the importance of This person could be a bad person. This is not safe. I mean your, your kid, could maybe speak truth into that too. I hate to put our kids in that situation, but this is the world they’re growing up in. Their friends are coming to them with all this information And it’s almost like they have to be little counselors all the time Giving advice on what to do, and so the more we can equip our kids in these conversations, the safer everyone will be. So definitely, this is a situation. Get involved.
0:09:40 – Speaker 2
I do want to say it’s really important the way you approach someone, if you’re going to talk to the parent yourself and not call the police or the school or whomever. If you go into that conversation, kind of with that know-it-all or I can’t believe your kid did this, or any kind of Pridefulness, it’s just not gonna go. Well, i’m just gonna tell you right now, as a parent, we already feel like am I doing enough? am I doing it right? and it’s a very vulnerable space and when you feel like your kid Has messed up or made a bad decision, it’s easy to take that on.
It’s easy to get defensive And so if you’re walking into that, come with humility, relate to them, say I know all of this online stuff has blindsided us. This has been very hard for me. My kids have messed up and You know I learned about this thing and I know if it were me I’d want to know and I just want to share it with you. Coming in that way is going to open the door a lot easier. So tone and the way that you have the conversation really matters.
0:10:36 – Speaker 1
Sometimes I even say to the parents like this is not your fault, this is their culture and they got, they got sucked into this and now we, we got to step up. They’re in danger. We got it. We got to do something. So you know, just reassuring the parent so that they don’t feel like, oh my gosh, i have totally screwed this up, like I’m a failure.
One other thing that I want to mention Even if you have to call the police, call the school, whatever, if you don’t know the parent, again it’s a conversation with your kid. It’s not just blindly posting on Facebook or whatever without your kid knowing, because, again, you have to maintain the trust of your kid Confiding in you. That’s a big deal that they came to you And I mean it’s a huge deal, kim, that your kid came to you and said my friend is online And he’s talking to this person and I’m he’s asking personal information. I’m getting a weird vibe about it. Yeah, that’s huge, yeah, huge, right, so we have to be careful not to mess up that trust. So it like I love how you did it. It’s a conversation with your kid.
I, we have a duty here. We have to help save this kid. This could be really bad. They can get kidnapped we can that we could be trafficked. We can never see them again, so we have to do something. So here are options on what we can do, kind of thing. So again, reporting together. We’ve done a lot of shows on that, but i just want to remind you again, report together okay.
0:11:59 – Speaker 2
So that’s an example where we really needed to take action. It was very serious. Let’s move over to example number two. Let’s say you’ve got a middle schooler, maybe sixth grade, and they’re profusely using the f word, like all the time at school, at basketball practice, wherever, and your kid keeps telling you about it, mom, like this is so uncomfortable. They’re saying f word all the time.
This is one of those where i think it’s a not get involved situation. Maybe if your kid is really bothered by it and you sit down, you’re talking with them and they really feel like they would encourage you or want you to talk to them Persons, mom or dad then that’s something. If they’re okay with it and you know this parent really well and you want to pull them aside and say, hey, here’s something i’m noticing, that’s okay. Talking to the parent, of course it might be a good idea. Pray about it, make sure you have peace about it.
Maybe this is kind of like the start of them hanging out with a crowd that’s rough or making some decisions that aren’t good, and so maybe this will open the door for the parent to have a good conversation with their kid And get in there and talk to them before they do something worse, so it could be a good thing. I will just say, with the language and the things that kids are exposed to, a lot of times they’re saying things that they hear online or in songs And kids are gonna cuss and so you gotta pick your battles here.
0:13:16 – Speaker 1
Or at home. I mean, i hate to say it, christian parents but but some people think the effort is okay to use. Your kids are gonna know people like that and that’s i mean it’s okay to say Different rules for different families, different guidelines for different families. We protect our heart and mind is just a biblical Conversation that we have through scripture on watching what we say and having that filter. You know those are, those are biblical principles that we live by, but not everybody lives by that right And so that’s a conversation to. But i agree with you can wholeheartedly.
I have seen so many situations Where it does start out just using the f word and it goes unchecked, nobody calls them on it, and then it does turn into other things Vaping, cutting, all sorts of different things and the parents, i know, don’t want their kid doing all that. It can definitely be a step on a bad path, but this is not something That you need to dig on facebook to find the parent and message them. This is, this is not one of those things where you have to make a stink about it. Please, please, don’t, because You got to pick your battles. I like what you said pick your battles, okay. Number three. You got an older teen having sex. Your kid tells you what do you do?
This is a hard it is hard here’s the thing i think many of us have baggage from our past about sex and we tend to get really emotional when our kid confides in us about this because, yes, there’s the STD and Pregnancy issue. But i think a lot of us also think about the emotional turmoil that this is gonna cause in kids and we want to protect them from that. Even if it’s not, even if it’s not, our kid, we want to protect them from that cuz we know the scars. We know the scars right, speaking from experience here. But here’s the thing the sex has already been had, it’s been having. So either they’re practicing safe sex or not, the scars are already there. The emotional baggage that they’re gonna carry from that is already there. So, again, this is one of those things where if you know the parent and your kid wants you to talk, then it’s wonderful that you’re able to go and have this conversation. But this is not something that I believe we need to be hunting down. A parent that we do not know and messaging your kid is having sex, because teens have sex. You know. You said pick your battles, kim, and I love that terminology.
The culture that we’re growing up in a lot of Christians often respond so negative. And on social media there’s a term called clutching your pearls Oh, you’re over there just clutching your pearls, christian ladies, because, oh my gosh, this is happening. You know, kind of making fun at our reactions, because we get ruffled with every little thing, we boycott every little thing. And we have to be careful here, because when we tend to overreact to everything, our voice becomes less. And what I mean by that?
just think about when you raise your voice at your kids. Right, sometimes it is good, it catches their attention And then you go back to calm and have a calm conversation about the teaching point, about what you want to make. But if you are constantly raising your voice at every little thing and you speak and scream, your kid just tunes you out. It loses its effect. The same way with reporting these types of things. If we are reporting everything that our kids tell us, people aren’t going to take us seriously because we’re just over here clutching our pearls. That’s what they’re going to say about us. I hate that we grew up in a world that way, but that’s the way it is.
0:17:08 – Speaker 2
That’s the culture And I can see I can almost see some of you listening And I feel it too like. But sex is a big deal. Sex is a big deal. There could be children, there could be diseases. It is a big deal. It just may not be our information to expose And that’s a hard truth And we may just be called to pray for that family, pray for that kid. And again, no cookie cutter response here. Every situation is going to be different And that’s why it’s important to really think through do I have a relationship here? Does my kid want me to say something? How can I best be used in this circumstance?
0:17:47 – Speaker 1
Well, and I think that’s why prayer is so important I mean so many of these conversations that I’ve navigated with my own kids is God await me up at 2 AM, Maybe this or maybe that, Or maybe approach it this way. You know the situation But, again, being in prayer for that family, you can quietly do that and nobody knows. And what an impact.
0:18:12 – Speaker 2
OK. So example number four This happens a lot more because of the online world and because of all that our kids are facing. I hear about stories like this a lot. Let’s say a child makes a serious comment to your kid that they feel like they’d be better off dead, just kind of off the cuff. Or maybe they post some things on their social media that just seem off or seem really dark or not like them, Or they’re reaching out or looking for some kind of attention or help And your kid comes home and lets you know. Do we get involved? I say yes.
0:18:50 – Speaker 1
We don’t know the mental health of this child, but if there are red flags of depression, suicidal thoughts, you know, thinking about the world without them, we gotta get involved. We gotta get involved. And so, again, how we get involved looks different. Maybe we have a close relationship with the family, maybe we don’t, maybe we. This is where school counselors are great, because you can hopefully report it anonymously and say I’m just worried about this kid, will you check in on them?
0:19:15 – Speaker 2
And if your school doesn’t have a counselor I know there’s a lot of private schools that don’t have a counseling staff go to the principal, go to the vice principal, go to someone and they will give you options for how to report anonymously or together. There’s always options.
0:19:31 – Speaker 1
Some schools have anonymous reporting texts that you can send, which is great. I love that co-system. The other thing, too, is if your kid is like this friend will kill me if I go like I can’t And snitches get stitches I mean we laugh at that, but it’s a real thing. Kids will get bullied if they constantly are reporting things. You just you gotta be careful with this. So anonymous texting. also. set up an anonymous Gmail and mail the thing and say this is coming from an anonymous person at your school. You know, maybe give some details to show that you are in that school. You know, maybe in this classroom the window’s broken. I’m in this school and this is what happened in the hallway And I wanna keep my name out of it, but I need to tell somebody. help your kids do that. I mean kids set up fake, anonymous social media accounts all the time. You can set up a random Gmail account and send an email and report something to make sure a kid gets help. Yeah.
0:20:29 – Speaker 2
Okay, so we’ve given you four pretty different examples. You know times when you really do need to get involved, in other times where maybe not so much, and it’s never easy, but it definitely looks different for every situation. So we wanted to just give you some different examples of that, but we do wanna end with a few general ideas and guidelines also that might be helpful.
0:20:51 – Speaker 1
You know, as I’ve navigated this over nine years, I love the nextTalk culture that we’ve created in our home, but I will say this is one of the hardest things for me All the information that I know about people I love and people my kids love. And so the number one thing don’t gossip about this information that you’ve been given. I mean no, no and no. This is the number one way to lose your kid’s trust and lose credibility with other people. Just hold this information dear to your heart unless you have to report. But even after that you report and then you step out of it. You let others do their job. You let the counselors do their job. You let the school do their job. You don’t need to follow up, you don’t need to do anything like that. Let them do their job.
0:21:39 – Speaker 2
Also, whatever your kid comes to you and tells you, don’t share it with anyone. And when we say that it’s a little bit different than gossip, Meaning like this could be there could be some legal issues here. There could be all kinds of ramifications. Maybe a case needs to be open So for safety purposes, that information needs to be shared with the appropriate people, and then that’s it. Don’t talk about it with anyone.
0:22:04 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. You don’t need to text your friend group, you don’t need to whatever. If you have a safe, trusted friend that you wanna discuss. Like, how can I report this? It needs to be done with you and that one person And in a confidential space, not in an open football game, not, you know. This is in your dining room when it’s just the two of you and this is heavy on my heart And I know you won’t tell anybody. But I need help here. That’s okay. That’s done in a way of I’m seeking help, i’m seeking guidance, i’m seeking wisdom. It’s not about gossip And it’s not about just sharing it because you wanna look good, like I know I’m better than everybody else And that’s the third thing. You know.
Be humble in this. If something comes out in your community, like an affair or kids were having sex in the parking lot or whatever and you already knew, you don’t need to go on Facebook and say I already knew because my kid told me That’s prideful, your kid again. You’re blind, siding your kid And now everybody knows that your kid is telling you everything. So your kid becomes a target. Why would you do that to your child? I mean, this is an honor that your kid says Mom, i want you to carry these burdens with me. Oh my gosh, so, and so is going through this right. Hold these things between you, your kids and Jesus, unless it needs to be reported. In a certain situation, kids life is at stake. We got a safety issue, but other than that, you’ve been entrusted. Take this so seriously.
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