0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk, sponsored by nextTalk.org, contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised. Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim On AM 630, the word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyber parent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:38 – Speaker 2
Today we’re talking about online manipulation. It really is a big thing and it can take so many different forms in today’s digital world. We wanted to delve into this topic for you.
0:00:47 – Speaker 3
It’s a really serious topic because our kids, you know they are exposed to everyone at their fingertips and so if you think about any kind of manipulation that can happen, I mean there’s a lot of different examples?
0:01:02 – Speaker 2
Absolutely, and we all have experienced being manipulated and how powerful it can be, whether a small issue or big, and so preparing our kids and knowing how to parent it is key.
0:01:12 – Speaker 3
I mean, this really keeps them safe. This can literally keep them from the hands of a sex trafficking pimp online Absolutely Like for real. So this is a very important show. You’ve got a lot of different examples of how kind of online manipulation can happen. There are many others also. We wanted to touch on the ones that we’re seeing most of and so, for example this is one example Kids will try and videotape other kids record.
I say videotape, that’s kind of an old school word you are ancient sister Kids will record, snap whatever Other kids saying the F word maybe vaping, you know, doing an offense, doing something bad, I guess and they will use that as leverage. And this is happening in our schools all across America, Like it’s happening. And then they will say and it’s mostly, I will tell you, it is a lot of boys praying on girls, it does. This is the majority of what we’re seeing. I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen either way, but I’m saying this happens a lot. And they will be taking these pictures and they will say if you don’t send me a nude, then I’m going to send this to your dad or I’m going to post this picture of you vaping, and so then automatically these girls feel pressured to then send a nude. And we’re seeing this. This is like a real thing that’s happening.
0:02:35 – Speaker 2
Well, and the sad part about it is these kids. You think about how hard it is for us to handle manipulation. They’re not fully developed yet and so they’re unsure still and they’re not sure what the situation is or how will mom and dad react, and so they fall into it so easily. So if we’re not telling them about these things or letting them know this might happen, it’s an easy trap for them.
0:02:59 – Speaker 3
Well and I don’t want to throw boys under the bus there I’m raising a tween boy, so I don’t want to sound sexist when I say that, but I feel like if our boys, if we are not having intentional conversation with our boys, and they are online and they’re to free for all online, they are going to pick up the world’s voice on this. And the world’s voice on this is women are objects. Get what you want and then it’s all about you Like it’s for your satisfaction. That’s the world’s voice for our boys, and so we have to be so intentional about raising these boys.
0:03:30 – Speaker 2
You are so right. And with girls, on the other hand, a side of that, girls like to manipulate girls. That’s a very big thing, and so they are doing very similar things by taking pictures or saying I’m going to tell your parents, or I’m going to tell your boyfriend, or whatnot, and manipulating each other. Girls are catty like that, Mean jealous.
0:03:48 – Speaker 3
Yes, all kinds of things, all of that.
0:03:50 – Speaker 2
So talking your girls through having integrity on and off line and what that looks like and what it doesn’t look like, so they can recognize it is so, so important yeah.
0:04:00 – Speaker 3
And we continually talk. And my household I have a teen daughter. She’s on social media. I’m constantly saying to her if you ever make a bad decision, never let anybody manipulate you into making another bad decision. So I will always say to her listen, if you said the F word, if you vaped, if you tried something, whatever and somebody has a video of that, don’t ever feel like, ok, now I have to send a nude or now I have to do this to cover that up, because it’ll spiral and before long you’re going to feel trapped and it’s going to be a constant coming at you and I always.
Another thing our kids need to hear is and I will tell her this I don’t expect you to be perfect, like, if somebody catches you doing something bad, I’m going to love you. Anyway, we all make mistakes. We’re going to have to learn from it. We’re going to there’s going to be a lesson in it and we need to constantly try to improve ourselves, but I don’t expect you to be perfect. So that’s a conversation that kind of plays into this whole online manipulation thing.
0:04:57 – Speaker 2
And it’s so important for them to hear that, because there’s so much pressure on them in so many different ways as they get older, with school and social pressure and all of that, and so just to hear from the people that usually matter the most to them. As far as I don’t want to let this person down, mom and dad need to say that over and over I’m still going to love you.
0:05:16 – Speaker 3
Well, and I believe that the kids who don’t have a safe place are more prative on their manipulation.
Because, they feel like I’ve got to cover this up. I’ve got to, and then the spiral happens, so you’ve got to be careful of that. Another thing we previously covered here was the Blue Whale Challenge, and that’s a little outdated now, but I want to kind of go back and talk about that, because the tactics used for that was online manipulation and so if you don’t know what that is, it is a challenge, a social media challenge, and it starts out very innocent, like wear red today and take a picture and snap it to the group or post it to the group, whatever social media platform they’re using. Or listen to the song and post these lyrics, like just these little things, and it’ll be harmless, harmless. And you think, oh, this is just a fun little challenge and we do this on Facebook. There’s the old people version of this Right suck, you know, I will see it. Post where you’ve been, like all the different traveling or these little things. That is a thing Like join in on the fun kind of.
0:06:18 – Speaker 2
0:06:19 – Speaker 3
The problem with the social media challenge with our kids is it starts out with these little tasks but then they move in to bigger tasks, more serious, life-threatening tasks. So with the Blue Whale Challenge, it eventually evolved into cutting, so you cut and then you post it, or you cut as a live stream or you in the group, and the ultimate thing in the Blue Whale Challenge was suicide and there were kids who lost their lives to this. It’s hard to imagine. You know, I was reading a story about one of the kids and I was reading the comments and I started crying for the parents because people were being so harsh and they were saying in these comments kids today are so stupid. How could anyone fall into that? And I wanted to be like you don’t understand their world. That’s right. They’re not stupid.
This is like an online manipulative. I just think of Satan. Yes, I think of Satan, and I think of first Peter 5, 8. You know he, the Satan, walks around like a line waiting to pounce on our kids. That’s what I think of, absolutely. Our kids are not stupid. They are brilliant and amazing, but they are. They have been roped into this social media world and they’re like oh, this is a fun little game Da da, da, da da da. And then they don’t think and they’re about the next step.
0:07:43 – Speaker 2
They are kids. That is the thing. I was just having this conversation yesterday with the mom because we were laughing about how sometimes we say something sarcastically, just you know in jest, and your kids will be like what really? And you’re like, oh no, no, I was just joking. Their kids.
0:08:00 – Speaker 3
They take it literally.
0:08:02 – Speaker 2
They are not. Their brains are not designed to process it the way that we are, so give them a break. Yes, walk them through Again. The whole premise of why we’re here is that we’re having these ongoing, no topic, off limits types of conversations with our kids early, because they’re being exposed to things before they’re ready.
0:08:22 – Speaker 3
Well, and I feel like you know, on a lighter note, this you know, the tide pod challenge was a big thing too. People were like making fun of teenagers and again it just kind of I kind of got irritated a little. I mean, I understand joking about it and being sarcastic about it. I mean I think we all kind of did that. But at the root of it, again, they are growing up in a world where they watch all these youtubers and then they emulate what the youtubers are doing. That’s what gaming is all about. Like you watch the gaming on the YouTube and you do what they do Right, and so their brains are starting to be wired to just do what you see online. Yep, and you don’t think about it, because that was not our world growing up and so this takes intentional conversation.
Think about it before you do it. It is real. It just because you’re seeing it on a screen. There are real consequences to what you’re getting ready to do. That’s a big conversation.
0:09:12 – Speaker 2
It is a huge conversation, you know, and I think for you walking through the blue whale challenge and some of these with your kids, it helps to bring up, you know, the grooming yeah, just the bottom line of grooming what that looks like so that they are aware of it. You’ve kind of talked through it so they see the science.
0:09:29 – Speaker 3
So we were researching blue whale challenge before it was happening in the United States, because it was happening in other countries first and we had been notified about it and started our research. And I had gone to my daughter when I started researching it and I said, hey, have you ever heard of this? Because I wanted to see, is it something on the download that nobody’s reporting on but kids are talking about it, you know? And she said no, I haven’t. I haven’t heard about it yet now, since she has, obviously, because it kind of blew up in the US several months ago last year and but when I asked her about it, I was telling her about it. I didn’t go into graphic detail, I didn’t say it ended in suicide, I just said it gets worse and they start cutting, because we had had a lot of conversations about cutting at that point and so we were talking about it and I was telling her the progression.
You know, the simple task and then the the serious task. And she said to me mom, that sounds a lot like grooming, because we talk about grooming all the time, girl. Yeah, all the time, yeah. And and when I say we talk about grooming, I will say to her listen, these online predators, the sex trafficking pints that want to steal you, kidnap you, manipulate you, they know how to groom you. They will be nice, they will be oh so patient. We’ve heard of stories where they Strangers actually meet up with kids and they don’t do anything because it’s a step to building the relationship, that building that safe place, yes, and then the next time they’ll say let me pick you up from school and we’ll go on a trip, yeah, and then that is when they’re taken out. But that first trip, sometimes that first meeting, may be at the local, you know fast food joint for a burger and everything’s fine, mm-hmm. And so that grooming happens online more than we know it does and it can happen to anyone.
0:11:19 – Speaker 2
That’s the thing you you’re thinking. Well, that will happen in my home. You know we live in a good area, we’re our family’s, not a broken family, all of those things and so it can happen to anyone well, and here we see the shift again.
0:11:35 – Speaker 3
Because you know, before there was always you, the guy in the white van, trying to get you in the car with candy. Right, that was manipulation.
0:11:45 – Speaker 2
I remember my mom like going through like this is how you do the ninja kick when you see the white van and never take the candy. There’s razors in the candy.
0:11:52 – Speaker 3
Kick the crotch kick the crotch Okay mom.
0:11:55 – Speaker 2
Yes, I was terrified of what I still, if I see a white van, I’m like uh-, oh yes, some bad’s gonna happen.
0:12:00 – Speaker 3
Yes, so that’s always. But it has to be like a bad white van, Not a new white van. Nope, it’s just white vans for me. I’m scoffing. See, I got all big white vans with the rest on the side.
0:12:14 – Speaker 2
Yes, the curtains hanging out. All the painters in the world are like darn it. Yes, that’s correct.
0:12:20 – Speaker 3
But you know, there’s this shift that we have to be aware of, because they can be sitting next to you on the family sofa and somebody’s telling them and grooming them and getting to know them, and you’re right next to them. It’s different than before.
0:12:38 – Speaker 2
If you’re just now tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio at 2 pm on AM 630,. The word nextTalk Radio is listener supported. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through donations To support our organization. Go to nextTalk.org and click on give. Today we’re talking about online manipulation and how that can roll into other great conversations about grooming. I mean any age you can touch on this subject and you know I was thinking about that in terms of my younger kids and this is a conversation you probably had with your parents. That has not changed but it will help you with the conversation later when they get online. Recently here in San Antonio, there was a kid that was molested in a bathroom in the movie theater while his family was there. I mean, and that was a great conversation for me to revisit with my kids, even though they’re young. What might someone say in a bathroom? Not what they’ll do, necessarily.
0:13:32 – Speaker 3
But the manipulation.
0:13:33 – Speaker 2
The manipulation I said they’re gonna tell you. If you tell your mom, I will hurt her or I’ll hurt your sister or I’m gonna track down your family. They will say anything to get you to be quiet. And so for us, yes, it’s an ongoing conversation about kick and scream and run, but I really wanted them to know they’re gonna hear some things and don’t believe anything. So that this conversation again is when you can start at a young age to prepare them for the online world.
0:14:00 – Speaker 3
It’s the role playing on what to do, but you’re really talking about the manipulation that goes into it, Because that is gonna play into the online world, just like you said. That’s so good. Can I just ask you on a lighter humorous note, Because I have a boy and you have a boy. Anytime you have this conversation do they light up and they’re like, yes, I get to kick somebody.
0:14:22 – Speaker 2
Oh my goodness. Violence without consequence? Yes, Can I kick him in the nuts?
0:14:28 – Speaker 3
That’s how much he’s wanna do the boys.
0:14:30 – Speaker 2
Yes, my daughter though. She said she was gonna throw something gross and terrible at them, like a whole bunch of butterflies. So you know it was the ladybugs. I’m gonna throw a bunch of ladybugs in its face and I was like okay, sister, but you know, the point is driving it home like, yes, do anything you can to attack and hurt them.
0:14:47 – Speaker 3
It’s so funny because with my teen daughter like she will just listen and you can just tell she’s analyzing the situation and it’s scaring her a little, but she’s really listening. But my son, he’s like doing all these karate chops. Yes, yes, this would be amazing. Like nobody messes with me, you know that kind of thing and I’m like it’s so different their personalities are so different and I should insert here what my husband said, which I thought was so good.
0:15:12 – Speaker 2
We were talking about this and I’m like, yeah, kick and punch and scream and everything. He’s like hold on a minute, what’s it like when daddy is wrestling with you and they’re like we can’t do anything? And I was like, such a good point. He’s like listen, you run. He’s like, yes, if they’re holding you, you kick. He’s like go for the eyes, Go for the eyes and the private. So, yes, you wanna do that. He’s like, but if you have the opportunity, your first thing to do is scream and run, because most likely it’s gonna be an adult that is stronger than you Like, don’t stay around to try to hurt them.
That is not the goal here. The goal is to get away. I was like thank you, I did not put it. I you know, as a mom, sometimes we don’t think about those things. And he was like guys especially are super strong, and so we’ve got to remind our kids that the number one goal is to get away.
0:16:01 – Speaker 3
Yeah, that’s a great point. Great point. And then also, too, if they’re feeling weird, like maybe the person has not done anything or said anything, but they get a weird vibe, you know, like the person is looking at them and watching their movement Just get out of there, like, just get out. Just get out, tell mom or dad or whoever, and then we’ll, we’ll figure it out, and it may be nothing, but you err on the side to protect yourself always.
0:16:27 – Speaker 2
There is no boy sign or girl sign on the door as far as I’m concerned. If you are in trouble, yes, like I’m coming in. I’m going in like Wonder Woman, so do not hesitate to call for help. I will come in If I hear anything. Yeah, I’m breaking the door down.
0:16:42 – Speaker 3
Yeah, and if we talk about this online manipulation and kind of get back to that, you know we were talking about how they’re so patient and sometimes they meet up or whatever we were talking before the break. They they meet up with you and they may not do anything. And if they know how to build the trust of our kids, One thing that you have to be cautious about is if you find out about an online relationship, like a direct messaging through an app or whatever. You’re seeing some conversations and you’re like whoa, my kid is talking to a stranger and I cannot believe my kid is talking to a stranger. Okay, so a couple, a couple points here. First, you got to default to love, Don’t?
0:17:20 – Speaker 2
lose your mind.
0:17:21 – Speaker 3
Yes, and our normal reaction is to bust in their door, grab their phone. That’s it you have. You are in this relationship. This is wrong, no more phone.
0:17:31 – Speaker 2
How could you do this? What is wrong with you?
0:17:34 – Speaker 3
And it’s okay to take away their phone at home. But you have to recognize they’re going to walk out your door and go to school. They’re going to log into their app on a friend’s phone, they’re going to continue the conversation and this is what’s going to happen, because these groomers know how to manipulate our kids. Yes, rumor is going to say C.
I’m the only one who understands you, you are absolutely right and all of a sudden, parents become the bad guys Again, satan prowling around like a lion waiting to pounce. So I actually have conversations with my teen daughter and I will say if anyone online ever tries to get you to turn away from mommy or say your mom or dad doesn’t understand, that’s a red flag for you. It sure is that you are being manipulated Because you know I love you, you know I would do anything for you. I mean, I would die for you, I would do anything. That is a lie from Satan. But that is what they set it up, so that we’re the bad guy. Well, I love that. And then they run away with them. Yes, that is how this happens, and it all starts with manipulation, like a little comment, like oh you’re so cute, da, da, da da. And then it moves into a DM, and then maybe it moves into a text, or maybe it moves into sharing photos or FaceTiming. They know how to groom our kids.
0:18:53 – Speaker 2
If you can think of it in this way, by you exploding and losing your mind, you are making it easier for someone to manipulate your child. So you have got. I mean this is great. I love that you gave your daughter a tangible thing to look for. It is like this is a step. This is immediately. I know what to do, and that’s why these conversations are so important to have.
0:19:15 – Speaker 3
Well, and I have a 14 year old girl and a 10 year old boy. Okay, so my 14 year old daughter, if there are news stories that this actually happens, and I see it playing out in the national news.
I let her read it. We have conversations about it. I will say do you see how this happened? Like all of a sudden, then the parents become the bad person and that should have been a red flag, but they didn’t have conversations before Because they thought you should know better. And then there’s emotions involved and hormones, and I think I love this person now. You can’t rationalize with that. So the conversations have to come before all that happens, exactly the preventative conversations. So true, and I know with your younger kids, Kim. I mean, they’re not online, well, they’re not on social media, correct, but you have had some conversations with them about manipulation in general and I love this that you have shared it with the younger moms Again, like setting up those conversations about safety and what to do and red flags.
0:20:07 – Speaker 2
Every once in a while, you know whether you’re on the playground or in the car or having a play date, whatever it may be.
If you notice a situation where your child is being manipulated, I should say I mean it could work both ways, quite frankly, but that’s a great opportunity to pull your child aside at the right time, maybe after the fact, and talk them through what that means. This happened with my oldest son. He was in a situation and I was overhearing at this play date. This boy was like well, if you don’t play what I want to play, I’m leaving. And he got up and he slammed the door and he walked out and my son was walking after him like it’s OK, like OK, ok, I’ll play what you want to play. And I was like OK.
So I pulled him aside later and I replayed the conversation for him and I said do you know what that’s called? And he’s like I don’t know what that’s called. And I said it’s called manipulation. Have you heard that word before? And he was like I’ve never heard that word. And I said so I laid out, I said how did it make you feel. And we talked about the feelings of that and we walked through the whole thing and he was like thank you for telling me. I always feel that way when I’m with this friend. And I was like yes, I want you to get it, I want you to know what it feels like, because it’s not OK. And then the cool part was I gave him to him, step by step, things he could do to maintain the friendship but speak into it in a healthy way.
0:21:27 – Speaker 3
It was so cool, like it worked, he did it and not be coerced to do something he didn’t wanna do because the friend made him feel bad Without being mean either.
0:21:37 – Speaker 2
It’s so good One of those, and so every once in a while I’ll hear him do it, I’ll hear him take those steps and I’ll just high five him and I’m like you’ve got it. You’ve got it and you are being an example for him about what a healthy friendship looks like.
0:21:50 – Speaker 3
And this conversation is gonna help you so much when they do get social media, exactly Because you can continually build on this conversation now, because he knows what that is and you’ve defined it for him so you can see it play out in his normal life and then he’s gonna notice it on social media.
0:22:08 – Speaker 2
Don’t shy away from the hard conversations when they’re young. Just find a way to make it age appropriate.
0:22:13 – Speaker 3
Yeah, and there are so many things we can cover here. With the sex trafficking thing, I mean, this is a big one, and kids don’t have to be kidnapped to be sex trafficked anymore. They can be manipulated into live streaming from their bedroom and taking off their clothes, but the pimp is getting the money for that. And again, that all starts with a simple conversation and then maybe they got roped into sharing nudes and then it’s like if you don’t do this, I’m gonna share these nudes with everybody and your life’s gonna be ruined.
0:22:39 – Speaker 2
Your parents are gonna find out.
0:22:41 – Speaker 3
It’s over and over again about what keeping the information from mom and dad, I mean. This is why it’s so important to build an online, an open communication in your family.
0:22:51 – Speaker 2
Yeah, absolutely, and it’s an ongoing conversation, like we say about everything. You can’t have this conversation once and expect to check off the box. It is going to evolve as they get older, it’s gonna change as technology changes and as the manipulation style changes, and so revisit it and ask questions, see what they’re hearing and doing. I mean this is a really great topic to bring up with your kids.
0:23:13 – Speaker 3
And some people use revenge porn. I mean that’s a thing too, revenge porn, and that is something maybe you’ve consented to. You’ve been in a relationship, you’ve took a video, you showed a nude because it was your boyfriend or your girlfriend, whatever, and now you’re breaking up in the revenge porn. That is a conversation as well. That’s why I always tell my daughter don’t ever send it, just don’t send it Not even in a committed relationship, not even in a committed relationship, because this kind of thing happens Again.
I’m sharing articles, I’m sharing stories with her. The other thing we need to talk about here, too, is always talk to your kid about cyber strangers. We did a whole show on this, so go revisit that as well. But just that whole conversation about not giving information out online, having your guard up, don’t interact with people you don’t know. I mean, yes, you can play games with them. Yes, you can like be in Fortnite or Roblox or whatever playing with them, but you shouldn’t ever move into a private area where you’re chatting with each other like a private chat area.
0:24:12 – Speaker 2
And you need to define those things for your kids. Again, don’t just say don’t talk to strangers, or okay, you can talk to strangers, and then they think, well, I’m allowed to talk to them in the game, so that must mean it’s okay to talk to them in private messaging rooms. You have to be very clear about what you mean by that and where to draw the line.
0:24:29 – Speaker 3
And the other thing is we need to mention this real quickly, but it’s a scenario that you have to be aware of. Some people use not their real photo, so they are acting like somebody else online. So they may download a picture like a sex trafficker, can get a picture of one of your kid’s friends that they have on social media, pretend to be this friend and get information from that person, or they can use it as a cyberbullying method as well. So there’s all kinds of online manipulation that can go on through fake accounts and that sort of thing. So that’s a conversation you need to have as well.
0:25:04 – Speaker 2
To summarize, the show today. Talk to your kids about online manipulation. Give them age-appropriate examples. Have continual conversations about cyber strangers. You’ve got to have your guard up and teach your kids to do the same. Make sure your child knows never to be manipulated into doing something else to cover up a bad behavior. We will love them, even if they’ve made a mistake. Tell them that over and over again Default to love.
0:25:33 – Speaker 1
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim on AM630, the Word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk? We’ll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://podium.page