Episode 71

Navigating the Digital World with Your Kids with Sarah Maynard

Sarah Maynard is here with Heather today to talk about the digital world and your kids. She lays out some of the “shoulds” and “should-nots” of what your children are sharing online and highlights the important fact, that once it is out there, it is never going away. Sarah shares how to have the foundational conversations early on with your children so that when it comes to the harder stuff the digital world has to offer you can approach those together. Join Heather and Sarah as they talk all things digital.

 

Do not miss these highlights:

01:30 – Topic for today: The digital world and your kids

03:30 – The number one thing for parents to know

09:25 – What your kids should/should not be sharing online

13:49 – Once it’s out there, it’s never going away

14:11 – The effect of the digital world on college applications

19:42 – Knowing each app's privacy settings

20:18 – Conversations with kids about what they really want from this app

21:39 – The internet and LGBTQ+

25:13 – Empowering our children to say no or unfollow

26:21 – Positives of taking a break from social media

34:00 – Modelling social media use for our kids

39:00 – Interpersonal relationships

45:55 – New question and answer segment

 

Work with Heather:

Solutions listed on her website: https://chrysalismama.com

For the Language of LGBTQIA+ E-book, visit: https://learnwith.chrysalismama.com/book  

Digital Coming Out Course for Parents - Text Ally to 55444 to get Heather's "My kid just came out and I'm freaking out!" Toolkit!

 

About our guest:

Sarah Maynard is the founder and CEO of THE START EFFECT, a digital presence educational consulting company that teaches how to navigate the digital world and manage an online presence in a safe, healthy, and beneficial way.

Sarah is a passionate storyteller and a lifelong learner. She has worked with kids for almost 20 years and she is a children's book writer and illustrator and digital marketing communications strategist.

https://www.thestarteffect.com/challenge.html

Sign up for a week-long digital mindfulness challenge to help you Rest, Recharge, and Restart! The challenge starts in august so get on the list now so you don't miss anything!

Questions Sarah is Always ready to Answer:

  • What should and shouldn't we be sharing online?
  • How do I find a balance between being online and unplugged?
  • Why do I need an exit strategy online and how to create one?
  • What is a digital audit and why is it important?
  • What is a digital detox and how do I do one?
  • How do I get my kid to talk to me about what they are doing online?
  • How do I get my teen to get off their phone?
  • What are the positives of my kid being online?
  • Why is a ban on digital devices, not the answer when my kid "messes up" online?
  • How do I keep my kids safe online?

Links in question and answer segment:

www.hrc.org

www.pflag.org

pewresearch.org

justfacts.votesmart.com

allsides.com

 

Mentioned in this episode:

Get your Free "Pronouns Made Simple" download now: https://learnwith.chrysalismama.com/optin

Pre-order Parenting with Pride Now: https://chrysalismama.com/book

Transcript
Heather Hester:

Welcome to Just breathe parenting your LGBTQ team, the podcast, transforming the conversation around loving and raising an LGBTQ child. My name is Heather Hester and I am so grateful you are here, I want you to take a deep breath. And know that for the time we are together, you are in the safety of the just breed nets. Whether today's show is an amazing guest, or me sharing stories, resources, strategies or lessons I've learned along our journey, I want you to feel like we're just hanging out at a coffee shop having a cozy chat. Most of all, I want you to remember that wherever you are on this journey, right now, in this moment in time, you are not alone. Welcome to Just breathe, I am so happy you are all here today, I am really happy to introduce my guest that I'm having today and introduce our topic, we're going to talk about something that we have not yet talked about on the show. And that is being online and the whole digital world that we get to explore with our kids, and especially concerns that parents parents in general have but parents with kids who are LGBTQ. And there's there are a lot of unknowns out there. So really, really excited to bring Sarah Maynard with us. She is the founder and CEO of the Start effect. It's a digital presence educational consulting company that teaches how to navigate the digital world and manage an online presence in a safe, healthy and beneficial way. And I'd like all three of those things, I think, three really important components, right? So and not just for our kids, but for us, too. So thank you so so much. I'm really, really excited for you to be here with us. And I know you bring with us or with you just sort of a lot of storytelling talent. You have you just got your masters recently and remind me again, I'm so sorry. Oh, it's

Sarah Maynard:

great. It's digital marketing, communications.

Heather Hester:

Exactly. And you're an illustrator and a writer of children's books. Correct. So very cool background. So I'm really, really happy. You're here today. Thank you. Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah Maynard:

Yes, thank you for having me. I'm so excited to have this talk.

Heather Hester:

Well, you are welcome. Yes, I think this will be I know this will be really, really valuable. And I am just excited to really just dive in and kind of start maybe we'll start just really broad with, you know, things that you know, as we're thinking about our kids, no matter you know, whether they're I know your youngest is eight, your oldest is 14, my youngest is 14, my oldest is 22. I mean, we were in no matter what age they are. Right. And and there's all different things within those ages. So I'm wondering if we could just kind of start with as we're looking at this for our kids, what are some of the broader things that we should be aware of and should be on our radar?

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, so the number one thing that I tell parents, first of all, every time is to keep those lines of communication open, and to start small. So one thing that I kind of recommend a lot is to ask your kid what app they're into what thing are they into online right now, and download that for yourself. And, you know, take a take a little look around, see if you can figure it out, but have them teach you how to use it. So have them sit down and be the expert in that area. And so before you're telling them, hey, you need to be doing this, you need to be doing this, you need to be doing this. You've already opened that door, and they're going to be so much more comfortable to even just say things without thinking which we know they do all the time. But in this instance, it can be really, really helpful for us. And so when they're given that, you know, they feel proud about it, they're excited to tell you, they you know, they don't want you to play the game with them and all their friends. If you've picked a game like they don't want you to do that. No, but If so one of the things we do in our family is we have parent kid dates. And one of my kids is a big gamer. And he would love for us to just sit down and play half an hour of Minecraft, right? Like it is it makes him so happy. And I don't like Minecraft. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan. It just like for my brain, it doesn't work. But I will sit down for half an hour and I will play and it'll be great.

Heather Hester:

It's gonna be but I'm Yes,

Sarah Maynard:

exactly. Yeah, yeah, but we do that for our kids, right, we'll do things that make us uncomfortable and emit, let them show the things that they're passionate about and excited about. And once you start having more of that baseline, it's so much easier for them when something does come up in a chat room that they're like, whoa, what was that? It's so much easier for them to come and say, Hey, this happened, right? And know that you're going to understand first of all the language that they're using when they talk about it, which is really important, because sometimes we we see it all the time and we impairs do it and kids do it when you talk about stuff that we don't understand. Just you don't hear any of it. Right. So if you already know a little bit about what they're doing online and how they're using it, then that becomes that baseline that you can build off of and, and have those harder conversations.

Heather Hester:

Right? Oh, I love that. That is? And what a great way to do that. Because you start with something that is easy, right? And something, you know, to your point that they you know, they want to show you they want you to you know, my I laugh because kind of the same thing. My youngest, like, a few months ago, he'd been begging please, please just play Clash Royale with me. And I'm like, I don't understand this game. So he, we download it. And he's teaching me how to play it and know his friends with it in the car. And they'll be like Mrs. Hester, what level are you on on this? And I'm like, I'm really bad. You guys, you know, and they'll be like, oh, you should try this and try this. And I'm like, but we to your point, it's when you're in that space with them. It totally takes away like all of the will. That's like the scary adult, right? And Elde. If I can talk to her or him about, you know, my game, then I can talk about all the higher level higher level stuff as it comes. Because it does, right. So how great and you know, then we all get addicted to games that I mean, really clash or out. Yeah, yeah, it's on my computer, it's still on my phone. We might have to have a conversation about how to do that.

Sarah Maynard:

There is that there is there is the risk that you're going to absolutely love it. And it's going to end up like a candy crush situation. Oh, okay.

Heather Hester:

That is my, okay. You've hit on my two because now there's Harry Potter Candy Crush. Oh, really? Yes, there is. I know. And it's, you know what it is? It's the greatest thing about it is and I think for all the adults in the room. We're using, you know, thinking all the time, right? Whether it's with our job or raising kids or making dinner like and to be able to sit down and do something that requires literally no brain power. Yes. Is really kind of delicious. Yeah. So no shame. I don't shame anybody who plays Oh, yeah. No, but I have to get on because whenever somebody will be like, yeah. Anything, any of this? I'm like, yes.

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, I do know we all do it. Yeah. Yep.

Heather Hester:

So funny. Oh, my goodness. I love that. So when, when our kids are online, or even even us, I mean, I think these tips, like I said, they, to varying degrees and levels, right, go through all ages. But as we're kind of teaching our kids, what they when they're online, whether it's you know, on their computers are on their phones, and they are in these chat rooms, or they're on Instagram or Tiktok. What are the things that they should that are okay to share? And what are things that they really should not be sharing and, and how do we approach that with them in a way that they're not like? You don't know? You're an idiot?

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, yeah. Go. My favorite thing to tell teens and kids that are online is if you don't want it on your grandmother's refrigerator. And you don't want to see it plastered across the news, then don't say it online at all. And that doesn't cover necessarily all the privacy things because sure, I'm sure you wouldn't, you'd be fine with having your address on your grandmother's refrigerator. Right but that's there's there's those things we need to make sure that they that they know not to share, you shouldn't be sharing really, if you can get, especially when they're younger, not sharing your last name, come up with a screen name that doesn't have anything to do with your location. You want to keep your location, private and separate and not add that to the internet in any way. And then, so along with your address is also your school, which I see a lot with. Especially as kids are into sports, you see a lot of kids being like, hey, my concerts tonight. That's, if you so there's ways to talk about that. If you're in a, like a private Snapchat group with a bunch of your friends, and you're trying to tell them hey, come see my concert. That's that's one thing, right? But if it's on your public Instagram page, then we don't want to be sharing that there. Because then anyone can find it. Right? So so there's that teaching them like what's appropriate to share when and, and location is probably the biggest thing because it's one they don't think about right at all. And so your address a lot of times people with their address, even kids are just like, No, I'm not going to share that. Like, okay, I'm not going to tell you where I live. They've had enough stranger danger situations, by the time they're getting on things. Right.

Heather Hester:

Exactly, exactly. We've We've yet to like hammer that piece in at least.

Sarah Maynard:

Right? Yeah. Now, but then when it's talking about their school or sports team that they're on, because they're proud of it, and they want to share? And, and so, so they just have to really learn where those boundaries are. When is it okay to say, Hey, I had a really great game tonight with my team. We were awesome. You know, go whatever your mascot is. Right? That's fine. mascots are all over. But saying, you know, I'm in this city. And this is my mascot, then maybe back off, right, like just say the mascot name and move on.

Heather Hester:

Right. Exactly. Exactly. I think that even gets, you know, as kids get older, I think, you know, there's a lot, there's a piece of them that thinks well, I'm older so I can handle this, but still have to be really, really careful. And and, you know, I talk to my in my high schoolers about this a lot, which is people know, your high school name, you know, that's not it's, I mean, some high schools are like the high school I went to is North High School. Well, there's like 1000 North High Schools, right. But the high school that my kids go to, there's only one of those. And so you know, and you can you can Google that and find it in an instant. Right. So these are the things that, you know, they don't think of because they're like, you know, like, to your point, they're excited, or they're proud or they're, you know, not just not thinking because, you know, they don't they don't do that a lot. Yep. And things just go out there. Right without them. Yeah, you know, really, and it's to, honestly, to no fault of their own because that frontal lobe just isn't there yet. Yeah. Quite. So it's, it's kind of our job to be their frontal lobe a little bit.

Sarah Maynard:

Yes. Oh, yeah. I love that. Yes, exactly.

Heather Hester:

Oh, my goodness, yes. So okay, that is really, really helpful. And I think, I think too, when, you know, when our kids are really little, you know, just getting entering into the digital, all the digital stuff, it's hard to know, what to say, and how much to say, right? And in some ways that does kind of go through because as they get older, then you're You're not just saying, Well, you know, don't share your address. I mean, you're really having to talk about things like don't put pictures of yourself in a certain way. Oh, my goodness, yes. Right. Because even though you look at it, and you think I'm just really proud, I you know, I love the way I look or whatever.

Sarah Maynard:

It's out there. Yeah, right. And it's never going away,

Heather Hester:

never going away. And that's what you know, my thing that I always would say, you know, in my, when they were little a little bit younger, like just going into high school, if you don't want this to be on your college application, or people looking at your college application to see this, don't put it on there anywhere. Because this will affect your college acceptance period.

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah. And that is, to your point, actually, it is becoming a really big deal for colleges to to want to use AI to sort through before they even look at your application. Right. And then if they're making decision between you and 10 other people, they will look for you and they will see what you're saying and Oh,

Heather Hester:

absolutely, absolutely. Crush it even remember. Well, my daughter, which you know, I was one of those total aside I'm not sure why she was wanting to rush for a sorority, but she did she decided she wanted to, and that no shame or shade to sororities it just was not something that was ever on her radar and not her personality at all. So the fact that she kind of last minute decided to rush was like, Oh, okay. But anyway, what she discovered was that in a lot of the sororities, you needed a curated Instagram, in order to even be considered. And she was like, This is crazy, right? Like, it's a wild thing, but it is, it is a thing. And, and, you know, no judgment, however, you know, however you wish to, but just I think it's important for people to know that that is a thing, right? Yeah, there are all these different levels of as our kids go into it that I was completely unaware of, of that being something that she would face that, you know, any of these, like, more nuanced pieces of art, the digital age that we live in. It's, you know, it's hard when you kind of come up against it, then you're like scrambling to figure it out. Yes. And that's the worst feeling. So I'm really grateful you're here to kind of talk about some of these things to help us from having to scramble.

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, I feel like it's a little bit like insurance. Oh, in a way, because you don't need it until you need it.

Heather Hester:

Right. Yeah, exactly. And then you're still grateful that

Sarah Maynard:

you have it. Right. Oh, yeah, you're very grateful you started that conversation when they were 10 years old, playing Minecraft. By the time they're 17. And dealing with? Well, things, I don't want to think about things that you

Heather Hester:

don't want to think about. But we do have to think about because I mean, finally, to that point is, you know, things start coming up, like, you know, very specific apps that our kids want to be on or come across, and they're curious about, and they want to see what it's all about. And if we don't know what those apps are, or if we don't know how to not only educate ourselves on them, but to educate our kids on them. It can be come very, very dangerous. Very, very fast. Yeah. And, um, we that's what we ran into with Connor. And that's what we had to, you know, it was very serious, very scary situation. And he had no idea, you know, when he and we had no idea. So this is, you know, as we talk about, you know, there are apps out there. Now, apps that are specific to the LGBTQ community that are really, you know, tick tock is one that does phenomenal, like, I use that word loosely, loosely. Right? Their algorithm is crazy good. But it does point you in all these directions, right? Where you can find all this stuff. And so as parents are, you know, it, of course, sorry, I'm having like 12 thoughts at once here. But as we kind of move into this stage, right, where we aren't on top of them all the time, right. And there is that kind of natural beginning of separation, where we hope that we've taught them, not only do they keep in there, but also that we have created that relationship where they will come to us and talk to us. But what are the kind of the things that we really need to start integrating at, at that point, just to kind of reiterate safety? And, and and then kind of on the other side of that, what do we need to be looking at as parents? And what are things that we need to know?

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, oh, gosh, that's huge. So one of the first things that I tell parents thinking about social media in general, a lot of times I will hear parents say like, Well, how do I get my kids not to be on it? It's like one of the first things a lot of parents will ask. And for kids under 13, the easy answer for me and in our house, is that until you are 13, you're actually not legally allowed to be on those sites, the sites that people do it and you put that's why they asked for you to put your your agent, right because they can't collect your information. So they just say no, you can't do this. So that's usually the first place and you can see like the relief off the like 11 year olds, parents like, oh, they can't Oh, that then it's not my fault, then it's not me then it's okay. Like, yeah, you have two more years still worry.

Heather Hester:

Right, right.

Sarah Maynard:

But then when they start getting into these things, it can be even for like a really tech savvy parent. It can be absolutely daunting, because they change all the time. They you have if especially if you're on a on one of the apps in the sites that they cannot Have a public profile that is open to the entire world, right? And so knowing each individual apps privacy, like whatever app your kid chooses to use, knowing what privacy settings you can use, and talking to them about why they want to be on there in the first place, is it because that's the one thing that their 15 friends use? So they want to be able to be part of the conversation? Well, okay, well, then maybe you don't need to have a profile that's open to the entire world, you can keep that as a closed profile, and only have your profile picture and a bio on there. And then you can still interact with your friends, and you can still see the things and you get all the things out of it you want, right? So and and I think it's important to have to sit down with them and have those conversations and say, Well, what do you really want? I mean, which can go huge directions for everything later. Just giving them the autonomy to say, Well, yeah, I want to do this because right, and, and then helping them use the tools within each app to create a safe space. And one of the things I talk about a lot is exit strategies, what do you do when you get into a conversation or somebody starts following you and commenting that is rude, or just any number of troll like behaviors, right? And having them know that it's okay to not follow them, you don't have to follow everybody that follows you. Right? You can, you can restrict the things that people see, you can block people, and letting them know that those things are available, and that it's a good idea to use them when you need to. Right, just having that knowledge can be so helpful, especially for kids in the LGBTQ space, because it can be really, really scary to get online, because some people are just not nice. And it's as unfortunate as that is, it's good to give them the tools. And the Internet has really allowed a lot of people a lot of LGBTQ people to find community to be able to connect to start to know who they are to understand terminology that they didn't understand, right? So there are so many wonderful benefits to using it right? That it's just important that we start with that foundation. And we'll start with that like, Okay, well, why do you want to be there? Okay, you want to be there because your friends are on there and you want to help you want you want to learn more about you, you want to find a community you fit in? Okay, well, let's look together at a couple of different sites and see, okay, this is a good this is a good profile to follow. This is uh, you know, these people are talking about things that are important and look through things together. Like sit down on a tick tock and say scroll through somebody's profile. They have it all out there, you can see it. Yeah, and if they're not comfortable sitting next to you and watching it, say okay, well, let's just do it in the same room. Right? Like, maybe if we're in the same room, then I can watch their body language, I can see what their what's coming across their face. Right. And, and even if it's something that is maybe looking at, like body positivity, which is huge, and can be just so so hard on social media where the whole the little squirrel aside, but social media started as a from, you know, two guys in Silicon Valley or something that was basing it off a website called Hot or Not. And that was basically the how social media was born. So

Heather Hester:

I did not know that Oh, my goodness.

Sarah Maynard:

Wow, face before was Facebook, it was face mash. And Mark Zuckerberg used the idea of hot or not to come up with this liking and not liking and

Heather Hester:

oh my gosh, yeah. Well, and now it's more of to the place where Facebook is like, you know, the, our kids don't use Facebook? No, they

Sarah Maynard:

don't know, but it was really that parent that like that. Everything is kind of evolved out of and there's, there's liking on all the things

Heather Hester:

on and there's different ways to like think this right. And I mean, there's so many everything is nuanced, just a little bit. I really liked that suggestion of, and I think that is vitally important to really ask what are you looking for? Like, what are you really wanting to get out of this? Because I think that's a question that sometimes we're afraid to ask.

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, well, I think it's a hard question even ask ourselves and right.

Heather Hester:

Doesn't have a direct answer. I mean, it has Yeah, you have to really think about the answer. And, and so I thought that is really, really important. And just Yeah, and it's part of just like keeping that conversation open and going and even And if they don't give you an answer or a direct answer, it at least gets in there. So they're like, Hmm, why? Why do I want to do this? You know, and, and kind of leaving that door open?

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah. And those are the kinds of thinking skills we want them to have. Because they're going to come across stuff and be like, why am I still watching this? Right? Why? Why should I even like this in the first place? Yeah. Like, you know, maybe this person changes their content, and they're not somebody I want to follow anymore. And that's fine. And that's okay. Then it's okay. You're not hurting anyone's feelings,

Heather Hester:

right? Well, and I think that's the other thing that you said, that I really liked so much, is that empowering them to say, if you're uncomfortable, you have to hear all of your options. You don't have to sit there and take, you know, if something's coming at you that makes you feel uncomfortable, or it's mean or whatever. There are multiple options for not having to deal with that. Right. And so that's a piece of like, not only educating, but it's really empowering them to advocate for themselves. And to know that they can, because a lot of times they don't realize that they can,

Sarah Maynard:

right, exactly. And they need they need that skill, because this isn't going away. It's not going to stop and there. I mean, because the us as adults, we need it all the time. Having that reminder is very, very helpful.

Heather Hester:

Oh my gosh. Right. Exactly. Oh, I don't have to sit here and take this. Oh, my gosh, yeah. Right.

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, I can I can block you turn off my phone and walk away and do something else for a while. And I'll be okay. Exactly,

Heather Hester:

exactly. Yes, I think that is so valuable. One of the things that I, they like to that you talked about is is really the positives of kind of taking that that break from social media. And that is, that is a very, very difficult thing to do. But I have seen it, working with my older kids, and I think it's because they've gotten to that age, I mean, they're 19, and almost 22, to where they they feel they're very in touch with how it makes them feel. And so when they get to a place where they're like, I just don't like they will either delete things or just, you know, hide it, and not stay off of it for a couple of weeks, until they like you know, are kind of back grounded, connected, whatever they need, you know, whatever they're needing, and then they can open that back up again. But I wonder if you could talk about that a little bit, and how we talk to our younger kids about that, and letting them know that that is an option in their life, even though feels like their life will be over? Because FOMO is a real thing. Oh, it's so real. And but how to really talk to our kids about it in a way that they're not like you're old and you don't know what you're talking about. Right?

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, oh, gosh, I just wanted to, to your point about knowing what they need. Like that's, that's so impressive for them to be able to look at and say, You know what, I need to take a break. And that's what we want from all of our kids to be able to look at and say, You know what, I need to step back from this for a while, like, right, it's, it's not a core part of who I am, that I'm on Facebook constantly on tick tock all day long, like, and to be able to separate themselves from those apps is really important. And so one of the things that I have found really helpful with my kids, and they share with a lot of parents and families is when you want so you have these devices. And I think people see this a lot throughout the summer. Because there's you know, you have the devices are there and they're so easy. And and so you can you can see your kids being online for and just having screens in front of them for so long. And so one of the things that I love to tell people is how involve your kids in the conversation about how long they think their screen time should be. And have them sit down and say, Okay, well, I really want to make sure that I beat this level. Okay, how long is it going to take you to beat that level? What How long do you think it's going to take? Okay, well, let's give you another 20 minutes after that so that you can get on you can wrap up, but put on a timer and say, Okay, we've committed that this is what you're going to have today. And even if you talk about that the day before and say okay, I know tomorrow, we talked about how you're only going to have this much. Maybe that's two hours, maybe that's half an hour, but letting them know it's coming and letting them know how long it's going to be. So especially as they're younger, they don't know how to regulate anything. No, they have no idea they don't. And time is almost just like it's a concept that you Oh, no. Not at all. But letting them know that they have a specific amount of time. And that it will end. And and the the part that can be really hard as the person that has to say that ending is you have to stick to the ending oh my gosh, yes. And you have to. And the more times that you do that, the more often that you do that, they'll get used to it. And they're going to stop the like, Oh, my life is over. Let me do anything.

Heather Hester:

You're the worst fears?

Sarah Maynard:

Yes. Yeah. Yes. Probably the word constant

Heather Hester:

like, pushing of the envelope, right? Yes, yes. So

Sarah Maynard:

which I mean, when we're working all day, and we're exhausted, and at the end of the day, you're tired? It's hard? Well, it is,

Heather Hester:

I mean, that I run into right now, with my 14 year old, just, you know, he loves his ex Xbox. Right. And so and, you know, kids, apparently don't need sleep anymore. So, you know, I will go down at midnight, because I am fighting to keep my eyes up. And I'm so so tired. I'll be like, okay, 15 more minutes. That's it, like we're done at 1215. And getting him to get off of that stupid thing. You know, because he's on there with his friend. And they're all you know, is after they, and thankfully, you know, he's out playing, you know, playing baseball during the day running around doing all this stuff. So I'm like, okay, it's okay. I feel good, right? I'm having that time at night then connecting and playing and whatever. But holy cow. I mean, that is to your absolute point. Like, literally, I have to stand there and be like, Okay, five more minutes. Okay, now 1215. Okay, finish it up. I'm gonna come down there. And I'm gonna get right.

Sarah Maynard:

Yes, yeah. Because the end the time doesn't mean anything. Like, if, especially if you're on a video game, like that time doesn't mean anything. No. And, and I definitely see that when, when kids are playing with their friends in I think we saw this a lot with the pandemic, because parents were like, well, you're with your friends. Right? You're playing with your friends. Your social auction.

Heather Hester:

Yeah. So

Sarah Maynard:

you didn't, it felt so hard to take it away? Yeah. And to say we need to stop. Right. And I think that we're still we're just just now really starting to get into this like, well, it's okay. You can talk to your friends and play a game for an hour and a half or two hours. But you don't have to do it for six.

Heather Hester:

Right. Right. And that's a little bit of the, I mean, it's kind of the digital detox light, right?

Sarah Maynard:

Yes. Yeah, I think I think that's really important to start to, because I think when we think about digital detoxing, there's a lot that comes up with, well, I just have to stop everything. I'm taking a two week break, and I'm not doing anything at all, just shutting it all down. But really, what we need to be teaching our kids is how to put a little bit of detox time into every single day.

Heather Hester:

Right? Right. Well, because that teaches them a much more valuable skill, which is being so aware, right? So having that awareness of, okay, you know, whether it's time, time spent, or whatever that is, but just having that awareness of I can do this, and it's fun, and I can walk away and you know, what, play outside or do some chores, or, you know, whatever it is, that's kind of on the, for your day, and and then learning that they'll still survive. Yeah, and that they probably feel better.

Sarah Maynard:

Right. And I think it's important for them to know, when you do spend that, you know, when you intend to spend two hours, but you spent six, you have another opportunity tomorrow. You don't have to say, Well, that's it, I'm just always going to be on it for six hours, right? Like, you can you can say, You know what, actually, maybe tomorrow I don't need to play at all right, you know, and that's okay. And it's really it is it's, it's empowering them and giving them that voice to themselves to say, you know, what, actually,

Heather Hester:

I'm good, right? Well, it's kind of again, I mean, these are such great skills, because it's learning the skill of you know, self regulation. And also, you know, this skill of you are imperfect, and you're going to mess up and just because you mess up doesn't mean you throw in the towel, right? Exactly. Pick yourself up and you start doing it all over again. And, you know, the more that you practice, whatever that skill is, whether it's awareness or you know, you get better at it and and as adults me I think that's such an important thing for us to model two is that we're still not perfect at it. Like we're still still make mistakes. We still know. I still spend, you know, time on my I found that then I'm like, oh,

Sarah Maynard:

yeah, get in like a you know, you get in one of those rabbit holes and you just play.

Heather Hester:

I mean, in ours are different. I mean, we get on Pinterest and relax. Two hours just went away How did right? So, you know, I'm

Sarah Maynard:

never making any of those things I didn't

Heather Hester:

ever, ever, I will never cut hair or color it the five ways that I've pinned but gosh, it's cute. I mean, right?

Sarah Maynard:

Yes. 100% that? Yes.

Heather Hester:

Totally. So I think this is the things that are like important to share with our kids and be like, Look, I get it. I mean, these are the things that I do. And they're, you know, I get it. And we keep working at it. Right. Right. So we keep shifting, it's a journey. So yeah, so I think that's just in and out. That's all good with, you know, that helps with the whole, you know, communication and connecting and, and just being I think, you know, our kids something that I've, you know, learned later, and my parenthood that I do talk about so much, because it's just allowing our kids to see our humanity. Oh, yeah. And that's something that, you know, I personally did not grow up with. And I know a lot of people in my generation did not, and I think is so vitally important. Yeah, our kids to see, right. Yeah,

Sarah Maynard:

I think that's a, that's a really great point, because, especially if they are on social media, is that the majority of the time social media is everybody's highlight reel. Right? And so if you know, us on the other side of the screen with them can say, You know what, that's not really true, right? Like, they may have taken that picture. And, like, I love those pictures, when people will take like, this gorgeous picture of whatever product they're trying to show. And then they show you a picture of the room in which they took that beautiful picture. And it's like, have, you know, one cubic square, that's perfect. And the rest is a hot mess? Yeah, exactly. That's, that's social media, social media. Is that square? Yeah. And then the rest is a hot mess.

Heather Hester:

Oh, my goodness. Yes. Yes, it is so, so true. So so true. I mean, there are so many valuable lessons. So I feel like, you know, it's a net positive on social media, and, you know, just digital presence in general. And there are a million more things as parents that we just need to know, need to know how to navigate. And I'm wondering, I think I'm looking at our, at our time here. So I just have one or two more questions. And just kind of more specifically, when we're looking at. So there are some some really dangerous things that our kids can get into online, whether it is, you know, on online, online, or social media apps. And these are, it's hard to stay in front of it. Oh, yeah. And so I'm wondering what your advice would be. Because I know, the way I learned about it is not a way that I would recommend anybody learn about it, which was after the fact and scrambling, right. So how do we kind of are there places that we can go and like learn about, you know, what's out there? Are there? Are there ways that we can be kind of aware so that we can get in front of, you know, like, let's say like your we both have 14 year olds, right. So where we can think, Okay, this is what when they're 15, and 16, what they might be into? How do we kind of get ourselves to that point. So we're like, Yeah, this is what I need to know. So I'm ready.

Sarah Maynard:

Oh, so the problem is, it changes all the time. Yay. That is, it's really unfortunate. And I hate that I don't have a like, there's because even if there was a book, it'd be wrong in a year, right. I know. We're just, oh, which makes it so hard. So I mean, the the biggest thing I think is that is really that foundation is those things that aren't going to change interpersonal relationships, talk just how we talk to people knowing that you're worth being talked to like and being respected when people talk to you. And, and knowing that you can shut it down when people aren't that way to you. Right, right. Because the apps are going to change the you know, the websites are going to change now. We're talking about like how, especially when they're younger, setting up some boundaries within what just specific ones on their device, like Apple has an option, that if on their device, they have their own iCloud account, the parent can be in control of the things that they see. And I know there are ways to do that with Android devices as well, we're just an apple household, right? And so you can slowly start to give them more freedom. And instead of just being like, here's the internet, right, which isn't helpful, because it's too much, it's too much. And they can find things that they're not even remotely ready to find very, very quickly when you give it to them that way. Yeah. And so kind of kind of funneling things for them as much as you can, by setting those boundaries. And by having this foundation and saying, Look, you're going to see some things. So I actually have a digital device agreement on my website that lays out like different things that you may want to talk to your kid about when you're giving them their own device. So things about like what kinds of pictures you should post, what kinds of pictures you should take of other people and post, if any things that you might see. And then even bringing in that digital detox piece, like from this time to this time, you're going to shut your phone down, right? Like or your tablet, or whatever it is. And you can customize that to however you want that works for your family. Because you may have a 10 year old, you may have a 17 year old, and they're going to look different.

Heather Hester:

Very different. Yes. Yes. Very, very

Sarah Maynard:

different. I'm sorry, I don't have a very concrete answer there. But yes, it's going to change. It

Heather Hester:

says, Well, I actually the answer is it's a very good one. Because I think a lot of times we're looking for something specific like that, like, I just want to know this, is there something that's going to tell me that and to know that there isn't? Right, is is also an answer, because then we know like that's just something that we is part of our parenting, right, this is something that we have to make time to stay on top of. Because this is where our kids are, whatever ages they are, this is what we need to stay apprised of and on top of and I you know, your the the answer of it comes back to what we've been talking about this whole time, which is communication. And and that, you know, that is through everything, right. So having that foundation, having that open communication, and creating those opportunities that may seem so, you know, small or just kind of, you know, whatever, you don't realize the impact that they have. Right. So that I think is, you know, it's a beautiful answer. And it really is, I think helps give a ton of guidance. So thank you. Oh, good. Thank you. I'm glad it was helpful when you referenced to your on your website. So I will link your website in the show notes, just so everybody knows. So it'll be there. But is there anything else that you kind of want to share about what you do? And you know, how you how you get all of this out into the world for everyone? Yeah, can check out for you?

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah, so I'm, um, I'm on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, mom, and I share stuff on all those platforms all the time. But I also have a blog called Think before you hashtag might be thoughts before you hashtag I've changed it like three times. So I've been like trying to brand things. So they fit well. And it's yeah, it's on my website, too, because it's something before you hashtag. That's very helpful.

Heather Hester:

It's it as long as it's on your website, we can click right through. I did see I can't remember which one it is either. You're right.

Sarah Maynard:

changed it. Yeah. But there we are. But that's where I kind of go into some deeper, deeper topics a little bit and talk things through a little bit more. And yeah, yeah, I've got some products and things that can help if you're looking for things, things that are simple, as as simple as a magnet to put on your fridge to remind you to take that detox to a journal for teens to get them off line and think through some thoughts before posting those things with pure emotion that are never gonna go away.

Heather Hester:

I love that. I love that so great. Teaching that 24 Hour Rule is really a valuable skill. One that I did not learn until much later in life. Yeah, right.

Sarah Maynard:

Yeah. Well, you know, it was weird growing up the internet. We were growing up with the Internet. Well, exactly.

Heather Hester:

I mean, the internet opened up here until the year that I graduated college. So My kids always laugh. And I'm like, they're like, Well, how did you research stuff? I'm like, in a library with a book, like,

Sarah Maynard:

yeah, like we had that whole set of encyclopedias. I didn't know where to find it.

Heather Hester:

Yeah, exactly. Yes. So the whole thought of, you know, being able to respond to something emotionally in a way that was instant, wasn't something that we learned, I grew up having to learn how to navigate. So

Sarah Maynard:

it is, so now they have their friends in their pocket. And

Heather Hester:

all the time. Yes, yeah. It's a different different. It's different, which is why it's so important for us to stand. Yes. Because the last thing they want to hear is when I was your age, right? Really, you know, don't ever start a sentence with that.

Sarah Maynard:

And when I had to listen to the dial up modem, and I couldn't call my friend on the phone. They don't care.

Heather Hester:

They really don't care. You know, as we watch Stranger Things, and I'm like, I had that phone. I had those shoes. You're like, You're so weird. Yeah. So it's all right. It makes it so much fun. Oh, my gosh. Well, Sarah, thank you. I've so enjoyed our conversation. Yeah, me too.

Sarah Maynard:

This was wonderful. Thank you so much, you are very, very

Heather Hester:

welcome. And I, we will definitely stay in touch. And I'll get all of your stuff is due into the show notes. So everybody can check this out. Because this has been really, really valuable. So thank you. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Welcome to the first edition of the q&a part of the podcast, I do not have a really clever, catchy name yet for this segment. So stay tuned until the next episode and see if I've come up with anything. But I didn't want to wait any longer because I had to suffer really great questions come through. And two of them actually came from a Google form that I put out there just asking for feedback and questions that people were thinking about and concerned about. And two questions came up that were rather similar. And they are ones surrounding politics, which I know are is a is a difficult topic for people, and one that I typically do not address on this podcast. But I do think it is something that obviously impacts all of us is part of who we all are, whether we want to talk about it or not. And it is something that does influence our decisions and influences how we are in the world, how we speak to one another how we approached things. And so I think that it is something that is actually in a constructive way very, very positive to speak about so. And the more that we talk about it, the more that we share ideas and share thoughts, because if there's anything that we all have learned, this is not there's nothing black and white about it. It's incredibly nuanced, every single political topic. And the more that we talk about all of these, all of our feelings and all of our thoughts and and where we're coming from and these different nuances, I think the the richer the discussion will be and, you know, perhaps we will be able to make some headway, some positive headway. So circling back to these first two questions. One was regarding where to find factual information from the community regarding the political arena. And the second is how to educate oneself so that we can educate as you know, quote, unquote, the haters, and one another and how we can be educated so that we can vote for supportive lawmakers. And I read this one to really this part of it to me, and how do we know what our candidates stand for? Right? How do we know who we're really voting for? So I have a ton of resources around this for for both of these questions. And I'm just going to go and go through them and they will all be linked to the show notes as well. So don't worry about having to write them down. They'll all be linked there. So you can just click on through and check them out. As far as finding facts We'll information from the community regarding the political arena where we are, you know, where the politics are where people stand, geographically how things are different. My favorite two resource sites for this are the Human Rights Campaign. And it's human rights campaign.org, as well as PFLAG national. And they both do a really, really nice job of following local politics, national politics and reporting about what is going on. So I highly, highly recommend those two, just so you can, you know, again, that's a great way to educate yourself on what's happening not only in your community, but in the nation and in the world. So those two, four, you know, factual information from the community, as far as educating yourself, age educating ourselves,

Heather Hester:

who our political candidates are, and what do they stand for, there are a couple of different places that you can go that I have found to be, you know, when kind of used in tandem, are a really great to really kind of weed out what's true and what's not true. So what the first one is pew research.org. The second one is just facts that vote smart.com. And those two allow you to really put in either case, specific candidates, your zip code, to find out who your candidates are different topics you can put in there as well into the search bars, and both of those. So really great resources in that way of just kind of starting to get a feel. And then if you're really interested in just knowing where kind of everyone sits on different issues and different topics, I've found this wonderful site, it's called all sides. And what they do is daily, they give you where the right is, where the center is, and where the left is. And this is all coming from different publications, different news sources, different journalist sources. And I mean, everything is in there for you. And it really kind of spells spells it out for you. So you get a better understanding of, you know, what the thinking is, why the thinking, thinking is what it is. And it just allows you to be better educated. And when we're better educated, we have a better understanding of not only what we think, what our values are, but then what is truly going on around us then we're able to have more productive conversations. So I do hope this was helpful, and I look forward to answering more questions and the next episode.

About the Podcast

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Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen
With Host Heather Hester

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Heather Hester