0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk, sponsored by nextTalk.org, contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised.
0:00:13 – Speaker 2
Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am on AM 630,. The word nextTalk Radio is brought to you by nextTalk, a non-profit organization keeping kids safe online through cyber parenting and open communication. Find resources, videos and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:35 – Speaker 1
Last week we discussed technical tips. We’ve got to have restrictions set up. We do need to monitor our kids’ phones, but again, it’s not just phones. You need to be thinking about gaming systems, cable packages, streaming services, tablets, all of that. Look around your house, set those restrictions. But at the end of the day, we also learn that those are tools to be utilized, but they are not the first line of defense. The first line of defense is open communication with your kids. They’re always going to be one step ahead of us. We know that, and especially in technology, because that is the world that they live in. They are dealing with this every day at school and in their life. It is their way of communicating, and so they are going to know more than we do. So the key to all of this is relationship.
0:01:20 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and you know, when we talk about open communication, we say it again you know these aren’t family meetings on the couch, this is on the go, a practical approach. Deuteronomy 6, 6, and 7. Talk to your kids on the go when you’re getting up, when you’re going to bed. Always be ready for that nextTalk.
0:01:38 – Speaker 1
I think most of us grew up in a home where it was like, okay, at 5 pm we’re going to sit down on the couch and we are going to talk about sex and it’s going to be a 37-minute conversation. I need you to take notes. You know it was just a very formal thing and having these type of conversations about super difficult things was never like a casual affair. In fact, I don’t have any friends, including myself, where that was an easy conversation, right, right.
0:02:02 – Speaker 2
And now the information that’s coming them at such a rapid speed because of the online world. You know conversations that I had with my daughter in sixth grade. I’m now having to have with my third grader because it’s moving faster. And we hear that from parents all the time who have an age range and they’re saying, oh my word, like I have to cover this subject in third grade, where I used to cover it in ninth grade.
0:02:26 – Speaker 1
Yeah, and again, our parents did the best that they could do, but our world has changed and we have to acknowledge this shift in parenting. It is different now.
0:02:35 – Speaker 2
And so, with all this stuff coming at them, we have to be different too. We have to parent it different, and so that’s why we’ve we love this on the go approach, because you know what we’ve? I’ve been doing this in my own family for four years and it’s changed our life, and so we see that in our nextTalk team and people who have come to our events and they’ll be like this stuff works. It really works, and so we’re passionate about this open communication on the go.
0:03:01 – Speaker 1
So today we want to address a question that we get asked all the time. Most asked question. I think I think so too. When should my child get a cell phone? And everybody wants an answer, like at this date, on this birthday, when they look like that you know exact answers and it just doesn’t work that way.
0:03:18 – Speaker 2
Yeah, you know, one thing that we love to say at Armanon Profit is this is your family, your choice, and this is going to look differently for everyone. In fact, even in your own home you may give your children a phone at different ages because of maturity level, extracurricular activities, or maybe your work situation has changed, so it may not even look different. It may even look differently for each child under your roof, absolutely, but we won’t leave you completely hanging.
0:03:44 – Speaker 1
We do want to give you some tips and some guidelines that you can look at, some questions that you can ask yourself when you’re wondering if they’re ready for a phone. But before we do that, something I hear people say all the time, especially kids in the same age range as mine that are a little bit younger. They’ll say you know what the answer for us is we’re just not going to get phones, we’re not going to have tablets, so they’re not going to be exposed to any of this stuff. So we’re good, we figured it out.
0:04:07 – Speaker 2
If you all remember my story from show one, you know we didn’t. My child didn’t have a phone and I thought we were so protected, and she was told about a pornographic act in fourth grade. She was nine, and so I learned really quickly that not having a phone was not shielding her from things. And so here’s what we want to tell you it’s your family, your choice. So you may say they’re not getting one until high school or college. That is, we respect that of you, but here’s what we don’t want you to miss you still have to have these conversations.
0:04:35 – Speaker 1
They need to know how to handle the information they will be exposed to.
0:04:40 – Speaker 2
And why. You know, I get asked all the time Mandy, why don’t you address the moral decision to give your child a phone? Why don’t we tackle that first? Well, as I was writing my book, I did a lot of research and there was a survey that I came across from Pew Research, and I have all these stats in my book, but this one just popped right out of me Only 12% of teens surveyed between 13 and 17 have no phone. And so we came to the conclusion. You know see, I had my daughter being told about porn without a phone and I realized that’s not keeping her safe. I mean, she’s still being exposed to this. And so we came to the conclusion, and it was a God moment when my husband and I came to this conclusion after so much prayer. We said, you know, we can’t just say no to everything. We’ve got to teach ourselves how to parent this thing. Yeah, like that’s what we got to do. How do we parent it and how do we keep up with it?
0:05:40 – Speaker 1
How do we teach our kids to use this device that gives them access to the entire world in their back pocket? We’ve got to walk them through that. There are so many steps to that, but again it starts with an open communication.
0:05:52 – Speaker 2
Yeah, the key is the relationship. But you’re going to say, we got to get back to this question, kim, when do we get them a cell phone? Yeah, so we’re going to walk you through this. We want to give you some practical questions that you can ask yourselves, and I’m going to share for you how we made this decision and at what age. Again, it’s going to look differently for everyone and we’re not going to shame each other for when we give our kids a phone. We’ve got to get away from the judgment and the shaming and realize this just looks differently for everyone.
0:06:20 – Speaker 1
So number one does my tween know how to operate a phone and regularly use one to communicate with friends?
0:06:27 – Speaker 2
So I say tween here because that the age definition that we define, that is, 8 to 12, is a tween. And so in that time that is the timeframe that they’re most asking when am I going to get my own phone? That’s generally when it starts to happen. That is also foundational years that you need to be talking to your kids to prepare them for the teen years. So everything that you think they’re going to encounter in the teen years you need to be talking about in the tween years. So 8 years old to 12, that’s a critical time age. Do they regularly communicate? You know, when my daughter was in fourth and fifth grade, when she was in the middle of that timeframe, she would grab my phone and use it to text her friends. And it’s so funny, you know, watching tween’s text, oh, goodness yes, because there’s no words used.
Really, it’s just the poop emoji in a couple hearts.
0:07:17 – Speaker 1
That poop emoji is so crazy, but it’s so popular it is?
0:07:21 – Speaker 2
I mean they speak in emojis.
0:07:23 – Speaker 1
They do, that’s their language.
0:07:25 – Speaker 2
But it was fun for her and she kind of got and I would track it and she would know that she couldn’t delete anything. I mean, those were just simple little guidelines that we used Absolutely.
0:07:34 – Speaker 1
And you know, even with younger kids being able to talk to them about what they’re doing on your phone, like my phone, for example, my kids starting at a young age would want to play a game on my phone. So same kind of thing, just rewind. I noticed they were more wanting and interested in games on my phone. So that’s when we started to talk about well, would a tablet be appropriate, one that’s kid-centered, that we could put restrictions on and teach them how to use it appropriately with their time management and also content?
0:08:00 – Speaker 2
Yes, so they’re starting to use the device and you’re getting to get some core, foundational things in there. As they’re using it, Protect your heart and mind, show me, report it to me. They’re reporting stuff to you and you’re remaining calm, so the trust is being built, those kinds of things. The second question you can ask yourself when my child sees bad pictures, words on any digital device, do they report?
0:08:22 – Speaker 1
it to me. We want to make sure that whatever guidelines that you’re setting up as a family, that they’re actually following them. You know, for our household, they can play certain games, certain apps that are on their tablets that we have already researched out and that are there, and then that if we’ve added something new and somehow something slips up like an ad, with someone scantily dressed, I’m looking for my son to turn away, come immediately to mom and then we talk it through. He has done that many times. We’ve had this conversation and I praise him and I’m so excited to see that I can trust him. He is following the guidelines.
0:08:54 – Speaker 2
Yes, and if your child is on a device and they haven’t reported anything to you, you need to make sure your guidelines are clear. What do you want reported to you? You know, for ours it’s cuss words. It’s anything, bathing suit or less. Now that doesn’t mean, I believe, bathing suit, all bathing suit pictures are bad. I don’t, I don’t want you to think that, but that’s our threshold. Like if you see anybody in a bathing suit or less. Like I want to know. Like, for instance, if my daughter sees a guy with swim trunks and no shirt, just tell me. I mean, it’s not anything that we need to talk about, but just so I know they’re reporting things to me. The other thing is any kind of violence, any new word or phrase that you don’t know, anything like that they need to be reporting to you.
0:09:33 – Speaker 1
Number four why does my child need a phone?
0:09:38 – Speaker 2
Yeah, this is a big one. You know school activities. What is your school district policy? For example, we found out in fourth and fifth grade really fifth grade I found out that in middle school kids got phones at lunchtime and restricted.
0:09:56 – Speaker 1
There’s a new policy, not even new at some schools, where it’s BYOD they’re calling it. I’ve heard this all around the country bring your own device, and some kids are bringing multiple devices to school for lunchtime and their restrictions aren’t set.
0:10:09 – Speaker 2
They can search easily and it be hidden because the devices are so small. That’s very different. Again, if there’s a shift, you know it’s not the big classroom computer that they’re Googling on anymore, it’s these little handheld devices where things can be very easily hidden. So what is your school district policy? You know we found out that they were going to have unrestricted use in sixth grade. She had already been told about porn Another separate incident she had been shown something in elementary school, and so you know we had this wake up call that we needed to teach ourselves how to effectively parent it. So I’m not advocating that everyone does this, but for our family it worked, because of our school district and what was coming and what had already happened that we gave my daughter a phone at the end of fifth grade. Now that doesn’t mean she had social media at the end of fifth grade, right? So we had to give her a phone to text on and to call on, and so we’re gonna talk a little bit more about that.
0:11:03 – Speaker 1
Yeah again, know your school district policy, know it’s right for your kids. And remember, going back to this thing that we hear all the time parents saying well, we’re just not gonna get devices or we’re just gonna give them a phone that is for phone calls. They’re going to be sitting next to someone or in the same room with someone who has access to those things and they’re gonna see things. So you have to have the conversations, even if they don’t have the device.
0:11:25 – Speaker 2
The other thing is a wifi. Wifi is everywhere churches, schools, restaurants, that kind of thing. So if your child doesn’t have a device, we’ve heard of a lot of situations where other kids will give their friends a loaner device and so you don’t have to have a plan. You don’t have to pay a plan. There are apps where you can text on wifi for free, and so we don’t want them sneaking behind our backs. A lot of older moms of older kids and dads of older kids will say well, I take away their phone at 16 or 17 if they’re not behaving. You can do that in your home and you can shut down wifi. And when they come in, you can say give me your phone, we’re not gonna be on screens tonight, we’re gonna be in the family room. You can do that and that’s great as a consequence of something. But when they leave your home, they are then subject to everyone else’s phone and if their friend brings them a phone, they can pick up wifi and connect online and do texting and all kinds of stuff.
0:12:25 – Speaker 1
It’s easy to think that the answer is just to shut everything down, but really the answer is to be in their online world, to understand what they’re doing, to know the opportunities that they’re being exposed to, so that you can protect them by having these conversations. So let’s say, you go through all of these questions. You know they’re following the family guidelines, they are interested in the device, all these different things that we’ve talked about. You go through these questions and you determine I think my child is ready for a phone. The Next Step a cell phone contract. It’s a really great idea and this is not just an on-the-go conversation.
0:13:00 – Speaker 2
In this one instance, yeah, if you’re just now tuning in, welcome back to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am on AM 630, the Word nextTalk Radio is brought to you by nextTalk, a non-profit organization keeping kids safe online through cyber parenting and open communication. Find resources, videos and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk so?
0:13:25 – Speaker 1
we say it’s phone time. We’ve done all the work, we’ve had the conversations, our kid is ready, it’s time for a cell phone contract. That’s where we left off. But when you get that and when you get to that place, you need to set clear restrictions. Kids need boundaries. We learn that as parents. They need boundaries, same here. And the thing is you’ve got to sign it as a family and enforce it.
0:13:49 – Speaker 2
Yeah, every conversation we’ve had has been on the go, really in the car, going to bed, that kind of thing around dinner table except for this one. And this one was you’re going to sit down like you’re signing a mortgage and you’re going to sign away your life because we’re giving you the phone at your fingertips. But you know, Kim, before we dive into what was included in that cell phone contract and our guidelines that we implemented for our family, I want to share a story, because you know them reporting things to you. This has to be. You are ready to take on the additional responsibility as a parent?
Good, point you need to delay, delay, delay, because it is more work. I will tell you that 100%, it’s more work. But then also, not only the parent has to be ready to take on this extra parental work, but the kid has to be ready. And there were several situations that my daughter proved to me that she was ready. One of them was when she was nine and we were in a Mexican restaurant and we were there with a lot of family. It was a big party and she was playing my phone. Once again, she didn’t have her own and she was on an app rated 4 plus where they build their own avatar and you know they would put dresses or shirts and clothing and glasses accessories and then they would text them to their friends.
0:14:57 – Speaker 1
And an avatar is like a little person that you choose that represents you maybe similar hair color or similar eye color.
0:15:04 – Speaker 2
Exactly. And so we were sitting there and she was playing my phone and she came over to me and she said mom, there’s something very inappropriate on this app. And again it was rated 4 plus. So again, go back to our last show. You can’t always trust the app ratings for age restrictions, but on one of the shirts that you could put on these avatars it said had the F word spelled out Crazy F-U On it.
And so I had learned at that point. I had learned enough about building a safe place, and if you need to go back and listen to that tape, it’s ready. It’s so too. But I had learned enough that I didn’t broadcast it to the table. I didn’t show anyone. I whispered back to her and I said I’m so proud of you for telling me. Please give me my phone and we’re going to talk about this later. And that night I said to my husband she is proving that we can trust her.
So this decision about a cell phone like I want to be very clear the parent has to be ready to take on additional responsibility. The child has needed to prove themselves trustworthy, like they are in charge of their online integrity and they are protecting their own heart and mind, even when you’re not in the room or when you’re, you know, in the laundry room and they’re in the family or whatever, they’re protecting their own heart and mind. And here’s what I also want to say to you If you’re out there saying Mandy is crazy for giving her a child a phone in fifth grade and my child’s not going to get a phone until high school, you know, here’s what I want to say to you. I totally respect your decision. And even if you don’t get them a phone, please don’t delay the conversations. Please always, continually, to talk about sex, sexuality, transgender, pornography, all those things, because the stats we just researched only 12% of teens don’t have phones, so they’re all seeing it and hearing it.
0:16:53 – Speaker 1
And we never want to scare you or have you act out of fear, but we do want to know the truth and one of the things that I have heard a lot recently when we’ve talked about these subjects is well, my kids friends are good kids. They run in a good crowd and they go to a safe place, they are homeschooled, they are in a private school. We live in the country. All of those things are awesome because, guess what? On our nextTalk team, it’s been such a blessing because we have representation of homeschool, small homeschool, big, private school, public school, college age representation on our team. So we have seen it all and we’re in those worlds. So we’re hearing the story.
Your kids and their friends are not the problem. It’s the things they’re being exposed to. So they can have great friends who are doing the right thing and something pops up and they don’t know what they’re doing. They can have a great conversation with their parents and they don’t know how to process it and they don’t have that conversation with you or with their parent about how to deal with it and what to do when they see something. So when we say, please don’t delay the conversations, that’s why it’s not because your kid has to be running in bad circles, like in the hood. That is not what we’re talking about. We’re saying anyone and everyone, because of the world we live in, will be exposed to things and you’ve got to prepare your kids.
0:18:08 – Speaker 2
Whether you are private, public or homeschool, the online world is everywhere and we have to prepare them for it. So we established in our home our child was ready, she could be trusted. We were ready, we were going to teach ourselves how to effectively parent this, and so we implemented a cell phone contract. We sit on the table. So what was included in that cell phone contract? You know I have a cell phone contract in my book as an appendix item and it’s all there for you. But I want to give you kind of a rundown of some of the key things that we said and did in that contract. Number one a phone is not a diary. Nothing is private. This conversation can start when they are little bitty, when they’re walking around with a family iPad, and nothing is private on that phone. It is not a diary. You do not take inappropriate pictures. Anything you say text, tweet, snap, whatever can be screen shot and sent to the entire world in a heartbeat. So your online integrity, your personal integrity, is important here.
0:19:05 – Speaker 1
The long term implications are also something your kids need to understand. Colleges and employers are now looking at those records. They are looking at your online track history as part of admitting you into the school or hiring you for the job. Your kids need to know that now.
0:19:22 – Speaker 2
Can we just get an amen that phones were not around when we were young? Oh my word.
0:19:25 – Speaker 1
I would be unemployed on the court. Yeah, no.
0:19:28 – Speaker 2
Okay, we’re just our poor kids. I mean they’re growing up and they’re having to face all this and it’s stressful, and I mean it is. We’ve got to know the level of stress that they’re experiencing. Okay, number two we pay the bill. It is our phone. We can access anytime. We do random phone checks, they can be unexpected. We have all those guidelines set in place forever. I will tell you, as they get older, you are letting that kite string out a little bit more. You know, one of my pastors has that illustration and you trust them a little bit more and you let that kite string out more because they’re proving to you that they can be trusted. So the older they get, the less monitoring you’ll do, if they can be trusted.
0:20:05 – Speaker 1
Number three check in your phone at bedtime. Now, it’s really important that you don’t lock yourself into a specific time because, especially as your kids get older older, that is key. Homework expectations, sports, all kinds of things are going to change every single day. So if you say, check in your phone at 8 pm and they are at a sporting event or at a recital until 10 o’clock, you want them to be able to have their phone so you can have access to them and they can call you, so then you’re not able to have consistency and stick to the guidelines that you set. So be general innocence by saying that phones are checked in at bedtime, but specific that it doesn’t go in your room with you.
0:20:43 – Speaker 2
Don’t water it down. You know I’ve seen so many contracts that say you’re going to check it in at 8 o’clock every night, but then most nights it’s 9 and 10 because of activities or whatever. I mean we live a crazy busy life. Everybody does in this generation right, so don’t water down your contract. What you say mean it. So set a general time. In our contract it says you will check it in at a certain time every night and that’s it, and that may differ every night. We have a mud bench and that is where the phone gets charged at night. It’s over by our bedroom, it’s away from everybody else’s, the kids’ bedroom, that’s our charging station.
0:21:17 – Speaker 1
No downloading new apps, music etc. Without prior approval. This needs to be something that starts when they’re young. If you’ve got younger ones, you talk through it, you research it. It’s a decision made before they ever download anything.
0:21:29 – Speaker 2
If you start this early, it’s easier to transition. Now, when they get older, you’re going to need to renew your contract because you’re going to trust them more and then they’re going to get more freedom, so you’re going to have to have the exit plan. So think about that, because you don’t want your contract to be outdated. But this is a great one and if you started earlier, you can follow it through the next one no screens behind closed doors, no screens at meals. This is just a never for us. Like I you know I say a lot of times I’ll change when they get older. I don’t know about this one, the screens behind closed doors. The temptation is just too great to go wherever you can go online and so start that early.
0:22:04 – Speaker 1
You know kids actually crave being at the dinner table with you, because they want your attention. They want that touching back to base where you’re all together as a family after crazy going our separate ways days. So make that time at the table sacred where the phone is not there, because when you have the phone there, you’re inviting whoever’s on that phone into the conversation and that means that you are not giving your full attention to the people who are actually sitting there with you, and that’s what they want. So no phones at the table and no screens or phones behind closed doors no changing and passwords or restrictions.
0:22:36 – Speaker 2
You know, as they get older, they know how to do that. They will do that, but started out younger and that’s one of those things that it can transition as you get them older and they need to go. You know, change your restriction when they’re at school to access something whatever. Then they can talk to you about it. But right now, to start off, this is a good guideline.
0:22:53 – Speaker 1
They need to report cyber bullying. Never be unkind to others. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, do not type or text it. This is something our nextTalk team says all the time. There is a soul behind that screen. They need to understand that and they need to believe it and they need to act as if that’s always the truth.
0:23:10 – Speaker 2
Yeah, no communication with strite cyber strangers and we’re going to tackle this on a future show. No giving out personal information your school name, so those bios for the social media that should not have the first and last name of your child, because anybody can see that. Even if your account is private, everybody can see the bios. So don’t give out private information. Never talk with a stranger online, someone who you do not know.
0:23:34 – Speaker 1
They need clear guidelines about taking pictures like nothing in a bathing suit or less nothing behind closed doors in a bathroom. That’s just a no.
0:23:42 – Speaker 2
It’s respect other people. Don’t take pictures of them either without approval. Talk it through again. As they get older, that gets a little bit, the line gets a little bit blurrier, and then you can revise your contract and talk it through. But those are the one of things. Pornography this is going to be our next show. I can tell you right now. This is one of the biggest threats facing our kids today.
0:24:02 – Speaker 1
Pornography yeah, it’s a scary word and the statistics are a little bit overwhelming, but we’re going to talk through it step by step. We need to teach your child specific to a cell phone contract, to report it, protect your heart and mind, and how to do that. Please tune into our next show to get all the details on that.
0:24:18 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and we have two more that we want to cover real quick, since we don’t want to spend a lot of time on pornography because we’re dedicating a whole show to it. It’s a beast of its own. One thing that we have in our contract, you know. If she breaks it, loses it, whatever she’s to pay for it, and I can tell you she’s paid for three replacement screens, and I said it, I meant it and I’m not going to. She went without a phone till she had to save up some money. I mean, this is just responsibility that we teach You’ve got to follow through.
0:24:42 – Speaker 1
And, of course, you know the soul behind the screen. Again, people are more important than screens. Investing in people having face to face conversations, true relationship, is different than over a screen and just instilling that in the young age and continuing the conversation.
0:24:58 – Speaker 2
So the wrap up, the age your child gets a phone will look differently for everyone. It’s your family, your choice. Number two if you decide to give your child a phone, do a contract, set clear guidelines. This will also also open up talking points and conversation and be the model. You know, if we bring screens to meals, they’re going to want to. We have. We have to practice what we preach here. It is so, so important.
0:25:22 – Speaker 1
Your family, your choice. Mandy’s book talk a practical approach to cyber parenting and open communication has some more great tips and stories on the cell phone contract and open communication. But for today, thank you so much for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10am on AM 630. The word nextTalk Radio is brought to you by nextTalk, a nonprofit organization keeping kids safe online through cyber parenting and open communication. Find resources, videos and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page