Dr. Katie Davis is Associate Professor at the University of Washington, where she researches technology’s impact on young people’s learning, development, and well-being. She is the author of the new book, Technology’s Child.
Howard Globus is a cyber security evangelist and creator of The SAFE Matrix™, a 4-step system to “outhack” the hackers, bulletproof families and small businesses.
406: Good Enough Digital Parenting & Cyber Security
Dr. Katie Davis & Howard Globus
What happens to little kids, tweens, and teens in a world where technology is ubiquitous? How does it affect their development and how should we parent when it comes to technology? I talk to University of Washington researcher, Katie Davis, about all of these things and how we can be a “good enough” digital parent. We also talk to cyber security “evangelist” Howard Globus about how to be safer online and at home!
Listeners can go to https://katiedavisresearch.com to subscribe to the Technology's Child newsletter and receive a free sample chapter of the book.
Good Enough Digital Parenting - Dr. Katie Davis & Cyber Security with Howard Globus 
*This is an auto-generated transcript*
[00:00:00] Dr. Katie Davis: Okay, so what's the verdict? Is technology good or is it bad? And invariably, I would just answer it's very complicated. When I became a parent, I realized that is not a very satisfying answer.
[00:00:17] Hunter: You are listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 406. Today we're talking about good enough digital Parenting and a special bonus conversation with Howard Globus.
Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have. And when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.
I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years. I'm the creator of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the bestselling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind Confident Kids.
Welcome back to the Mindful Mama Podcast friend. Listen, if you haven't done so please subscribe. Don't miss an episode. And if you are appreciating this podcast at all, do me a favor. Go over to Apple Podcasts. You can do it right from your app where you are probably listening to this on your phone.
Just leave us a rating and review. It takes 30 seconds and it helps the podcast grow more and it really makes a big impact. It's a great way to support the podcast. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Katie Davis and I love this conversation cuz we've had a number of conversations about technology kids in tech here on the podcast, as if you've been listening for a while, and in fact we're gonna start to have some playlists coming up soon and they can range from being really, make me worry like crazy to being more reassuring and whatnot.
And Katie Davis, Dr. Katie Davis, she's an associate professor at the University of Washington and researches, technology's impact on young people's learning, development and wellbeing. And she's the author of the new book Technology's Child. And we're gonna talk about this idea of what is the middle path, what is good enough, and we'll talk about what happens to little kids, tweens and teens in this world where technology is completely ubiquitous, right?
How does it affect their development? And how should we parent when it comes to technology? And then listen on to the end because we're also going to talk to cybersecurity evangelist, Howard Globus about how to be safer online and on home. So join me at the table as I talk to Katie Davis.
Okay. Katie, thank you so much. Or do you want me to call you Dr.
[00:02:54] Dr. Katie Davis: Davis? No, you can
[00:02:55] Hunter: absolutely call me Katie. Okay. Good to know. Yeah. Thanks for coming on the Mindful LMA
[00:03:00] Dr. Katie Davis: podcast. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:03:03] Hunter: Yeah, I'm glad. I'm glad you're here. Okay, so we are here to talk about kids and technology yet again, dear listener, this is an issue that keeps coming.
We keep coming back to, because there's so many different. Viewpoints on it and it's ever evolving. But this is something that you've been researching for a long time as I understand. What got you started in the research on kids in technology?
[00:03:28] Dr. Katie Davis: Yeah. I've been researching kids in technology for almost 20 years now, and my interest really started before that when I started my career as a fourth grade elementary teacher and back.
This was back in the early to mid two thousands. And I was attracted to teaching because I have always been fascinated by how we develop as humans and come to understand the world around us and our place in it. And it was becoming increasingly clear to me as a teacher that technology was becoming a very central role in this process of learning and development.
And so I really wanted to know more about it. And so I went to study at Harvard with some researchers including Howard Gardner, where we were asking these questions, how are network technologies changing development and how kids understand themselves and the world around them. I know that name
[00:04:33] Hunter: Har Howard Gardner, because I, a long time ago was a and a masters of art education and we read about education.
We read Howard Gardner. Of course. We read him. That's cool. And now you have a six year old Oliver, so I'm interested in, has that ha has having your own child like shifted and changed the way you're looking at this research that you do with kids? Has it provoked any fears for you as it is for the rest of us?
[00:05:02] Dr. Katie Davis: Absolutely. Yes. It's absolutely shifted how I think about this topic and also how I talk about it. It used to be that before I had Oliver, before I was a parent, when people would ask me at a cocktail party or, just with my friends, okay, so what's the verdict? Is technology good or is it bad?
And invariably I would just answer it's very complicated. There are some good things, there are some bad things. And you know that's true. It is complicated. The research is nuanced. But as a parent, I, when I became a parent, I realized that is not a very satisfying answer and I'd love to be able to provide something more concrete that parents can really use to make good decisions around their Parenting.
And not just parents, but teachers and policy makers and technology designers. And so that's really the motivation for writing technologies Child was I. First, I wanted to write it for myself to say, okay to challenge myself, can I, as a researcher, put all of my knowledge about the research into a form that I, as a parent can understand?
And so that's really the focus here, is to distill the, this complicated landscape of research into actionable takeaways and advice for parents that they can use.
[00:06:28] Hunter: Okay. That sounds exciting. Okay. So how is technology's child then different from the other books on Tech and Parenting that we have out there?
[00:06:38] Dr. Katie Davis: The first thing is that technology's child looks at the full arc of child development. So I'm starting from very young toddlers, babies and toddlers, and I'm going all the way through to 20 somethings. And I'm really, for each stage of development, I'm going under the hood to look at what's happening developmentally.
When a child is interacting with technology, and something that makes this book distinct from other books that similarly look at child development is that I, as a researcher, I'm a developmental scientist, but I am in a department that where I'm surrounded by computer scientists. And so a lot of the research that I do focuses on the design of technology.
So in this book, I'm really looking at that interaction. How are children experiencing technology at different stages of development and how is the way technology has besi been designed, really impacting that development? So it's really looking at the intersection of the technology design and child development.
[00:07:46] Hunter: great. So I've love that you've looked at the whole arc, because I think that really makes a difference, right? Like where the, what is happening developmentally, what is happening in the brain? Things like that. When my daughters were little, the recommendation for screen time was no screen time under the age of two.
And I thought that was probably a good idea. And now there are people like you, there's all kinds of different uses. There are some people who are like, no screen time before the age of seven, right? There's, and then there are other people who are like, here, dear, eight month old, take this.
Watch my device. So you'd be quiet and you're, you could be okay, we could all be out to dinner, whatever. So there's like a huge range of different attitudes towards it. It's hard to know what to pin down as, as safe and what's, good developmentally because on, on one end there's, there can be a lot of fear of it.
And I'm definitely susceptible to some of that. Worry about the, we, none of us, no one evolved, no human being evolved to staring at a two dimensional moving screen. As hunter gatherers, right? So I'm susceptible I'm, or I'm suspicious of it. And then on the other hand, it's so seductive as like a tool, as like a Parenting tool to get through a tricky situation.
So can we start with that? Those like younger ages, how should we be thinking about those screen time, like in those real
[00:09:17] Dr. Katie Davis: young ages? Absolutely. So I like to think about kids of different ages having different jobs, the way we have a job. And those jobs are really important cuz it's their developmental job.
And so young kids, one of the key jobs for them, if not the key job, is to learn how to regulate their behaviors and their emotions. So self-regulation, emotion regulation, these are really important skills and they are associated with all sorts of long-term outcomes such as academic success, relationships, success, even earning potential.
It's crazy what early self-regulation is associated with later down. And it's
[00:10:04] Hunter: like the holy grail of Parenting, right? Like we want our kids to be able to regulate their own emotions. Like that would be
[00:10:10] Dr. Katie Davis: wonderful. Yes, that is so true. And When we think about technology and how it can either support or undermine self-regulation, this is where the design of the technology really comes into play.
So when I'm looking at technologies from when Oliver was little, which was not too long ago, and I was trying to figure out is this app better than that app? Or, how much screen time is appropriate for a two-year-old or a three-year-old? There are certain qualities of the design that you should really look for, and those generally fit under this umbrella that I call self-directed.
So a self-directed experience with technology is one where generally the child is in the driver's seat of their technology experience. So if they're using a tablet and they're playing with an app on that how much choice do they have in terms of what they can do on the app and how open-ended is it?
Do, is it self-paced or is the app actually driving the pace of the child's interactions? And I'll give you a concrete example from when Oliver was little. So he really liked this drawing app called Pepper's Paint Box from Peppa Pig. And he also really liked this game from paw Patrol Rescue Run.
And these two, they seemed, they were from very popular media franchises. But they were pretty different. So when he was drawing with Pepper's paint box, it was a very open-ended experience. So he could choose the colors that he wanted. He could, it was a blank canvas. Sometimes he could choose a picture that he would just color in, but the default was a blank canvas and he could do whatever he wanted.
There were little stamps that he could add that were animated. And so that was pretty cute. And I noticed that when he was engaged with this app, we could carry on a conversation with each other. He would often show me what he was doing. And he was definitely in the driver's seat. He would also as you would, with a an offline play experience.
Typically little kids have a cadence to their play so that it's about 15 or 20 minutes if they're, really focused on a play experience. That was the same thing with Pepper's Paint Boss. But Paw Patrol Rescue Run was completely different. So this was a more traditional video game, and he was being led, he had, he was starting in one place.
He had to get to one other place in an efficient way as possible. He could collect badges and points along the way. And he, in fact, the more, the better. And he was not in control of this experience, so he was very much being directed forward. There was a timeframe that he had to follow. There were very limited actions that he was able to take, it was pretty much prescribed for him.
And so I would say, when I watched him play this, if I tried to ask him, what are you doing, Oliver? Can you show me? His attention was so absorbed that he wouldn't even hear me. And so he was very much in, totally absorbed. And I would say that his attention was being co-opted.
So I think those two apps provide a really good contrast in the kinds of technologies that we're looking for young kids. Ones that where they can stay in control of their own behaviors and emotions and that don't really get in the way of that self-regulation and the self the emotion regulation and things like that.
Now obviously it's not it's, I don't think it's realistic to expect that all of young child's digital experiences are gonna be like Pepper's, paint box and none of them will be like Paw Patrol Rescue Run. But I would say on the whole this is what you're aiming for, self-directed experiences that provide room for the people around children to take part.
So that's the second piece of what I talk about in my book of. In addition to self-directed experiences, you want them to also be community supported. So these are really the two key ingredients to a technology experience that is supportive of child development rather than undermining child development.
And so with Pepper's paint Box, Oliver allowed me, it was designed in such a way that I could participate, I could talk with him, I could support him, we could extend the conversation after the experience. And in that way, I could provide support around his tech experience.
[00:15:23] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.
I love the description. I love that you have these two examples, these concrete examples, because it makes it something we can really hold onto. I'm hearing that something like a video is not necessarily like the, a great choice for the very young kids or things that are really a video being the thing.
You have the least amount of se you have zero self direction at all in it. And and we're, and even with the apps, we're looking for things that are more open-ended creative rather than a guiding like sort of thing with the a, a game where you're. You have a pace and things like that? No. Like Super Mario, all I can remember.
Super Mario Brothers. I was a little, but I remember that too. Su,
super Mario Brothers was like the time limit and things like that wouldn't have been like a, an optimal choice for a really young kit. We're looking for things that are much more
[00:16:26] Dr. Katie Davis: open. Absolutely. And also this connects with how important play is during early childhood and actually throughout childhood, but really in those young, a early years, being able to engage in open-ended play experiences where kids can build things.
Exercise their imaginations, play. So many important things are happening during play. They're learning, again, they're learning self-regulation. If they're playing with other people, they're learning morality and their moral sensibilities is developing. Just, it's so important. So the more you can nudge your children towards these open-ended digital experiences, the better.
However, with a big caveat, I would say that context and the child really matters. For instance, when I'm on a plane with Oliver, we recently moved back to Seattle after living for four years in Germany. And during that time we had a lot of long airplane rides. And during that time, you know what, I just gave Oliver TV to watch.
So he just watched a lot of Netflix while he was on the plane. It was, it helped me get through the experience. He was engaged. Sure. He wasn't totally self-directed, but the context I think was appropriate for that. And it was, that's the important thing is for me as. A single parent with him on a plane for 10 plus hours.
This was survival. Sometimes you have to think about yourself as well and your sanity. And then during, the course of an Every Day, Oliver absolutely still watches tv, but it's, I try to limit it in small chunks. I think it can be a really nice opportunity at the end of the day to just wind down, especially if everybody's had a busy day.
Just wind down and chill out for 20 or 30 minutes or even a little bit more. And so I think, a variety is absolutely fine, but when you're talking about those early years, if it, if you're always defaulting to putting a screen in front of a child, just, if they're upset to soothe them or if you are busy to occupy them, if that's your default, then that's when your child is probably missing out on some valuable opportunities to learn how to soothe themselves and to regulate their own behaviors.
A little bit I think is fine, occasionally, but if that's the only tool in your toolbox try and look for other tools as well. Yeah,
[00:19:06] Hunter: that makes sense. Then we're teaching our kids like you, it's not okay to feel difficult feelings. You should distract yourself when you feel anything uncomfortable and.
We don't want that. Yeah. Sometimes just as it's, sometimes it's healthy for us to I don't know binge, game of Thrones or whatever you're gonna binge. Like occasionally, like that might be a very healthy choice for you, but not all the time. So it's, we wanna keep in mind that context.
My kids are similar about plane rides. We limit screen time and, but not on the plane. Not on any plane. So they, they get in some ways a little bit psyched for like long trips, cuz they're like, oh absolutely Oliver's the same.
They're like, it's car blanche whatever I want just watching movie after movie on the plane and that's fine.
Yeah. Okay. And did you notice a di differences in stopping his screen time when it was something like Pepper's paint box versus when he would watch a show?
[00:20:13] Dr. Katie Davis: Yes, absolutely. So with PEPs paint box, it was much more. Similar to if he was playing with Lego or if he was, drawing a picture with actual paper and pencil.
After about 15 or 20 minutes he was done with it and ready to do something else. Whereas Paw Patrol, he could just keep playing and playing and I think that's what makes me a little bit nervous for introducing video games. Cause he's only six and I know many kids by six are playing video games.
But for me, as a parent who knows the research, I am just a little bit wary of entering into that because it's not that I think that video games are bad, it's just that it really, again, it comes to moderation and it's really hard to find moderation with something like a video game that is designed to just keep you playing and keep you aiming for the next level.
And that can be really challenging to strike that balance.
[00:21:14] Hunter: Yeah, I feel very frustrated with the sort of motivations, right? For it to keep our attention going and going, like the endless scroll or the YouTube videos that just start over again and things like that. When we think about, these, the companies like, they, this is the prevailing wisdom, right?
That tech companies prize profits over people, right? And is this true? And what do you see happening if they continue to do
[00:21:43] Dr. Katie Davis: this? Yeah, so unfortunately, companies, technology companies want you to use their product and so that they're focused on the bottom line and unfortunately, the bottom line isn't always compatible with the child's wellbeing.
And so for the technology company, it's in their best interest to keep you on their platform or on their device for as long as possible. And they use very specific tactics, they're called dark patterns to keep you there and keep you engaged. As you mentioned in infinite scroll, auto play, even badges and rewards, those types of lures, those are all examples of dark patterns that are really focused on engagement.
Keeping you on without any regard to your wellbeing. Now sometimes the bottom line can be aligned with a child's wellbeing. And so an example would be a company that's has developed an app that supports early literacy. And the more you are engaged with that platform. The more you're learning about, important literacy concepts and that's great, but too often you can't really rely on, that compatibility and that alignment between the bottom line and a child's wellbeing.
And so I think that this is where we really need government regulation to come and step in and incentivize these technology companies to really put children's wellbeing and people's wellbeing right front and center, and not just as an afterthought when they're developing and redeveloping and optimizing their products.
[00:23:30] Hunter: I couldn't agree more because I'm thinking about this and I'm thinking about what's the answer, right? It's I remember getting the advice at some point with books like, oh, you should make sure you can just read every book your child reads before they read it. And that it's like Leslie advice, but it's totally unrealistic.
I had a child who was like reading these. Log books at four and a half. I, she surpassed breeds so much faster than me now. And that would be the same thing with these, with video games and things like that, right? Like you had no idea what the difference between Pepper's pig and Paw Patrol until you're actually in there, like playing the game.
Right? And so for, if you are gonna let your child do a video game as they get in, older ages, like eight and nine or whatever, with his friends, you have no idea until you're in there playing it. So the, i the sort of best practice might be to like, go in and do, spend time playing the video game, but who has, so to play all the video games, like realistically, that's something I would never do.
But that's so it's all the onus is on us, which is so frustrating. Absolutely, that's, I talk about this in the book, is that, Right now, as it is, as things are set up, all of the onus is on the individual and the parents and the family unit to figure this out. But they're not the ones who created these challenges.
[00:24:55] Dr. Katie Davis: And I think it's very unrealistic to expect that families are gonna figure it out and that kids or teens are gonna be able to figure out how to make these products less stressful or less, compelling. You really do need, because they were designed to be compelling, they were designed for that specific purpose.
So this is where I do agree that government regulation needs to be part of this equation. And I also think, when you're talking about unrealistic expectations, I introduced the concept in the book of a good enough digital parent. And I really wanna emphasize this point because one thing that I realized when I became a parent, Just how much pressure and expectations there are surrounding being a parent and a really great parent.
And that extends to, nutrition, but also screen time. And then there's so much guilt because inevitably we fail to live up to these crazy expectations because first of all, they're very high expectations. And second of all, we're extremely busy and we most, many parents are working a job in addition to Parenting.
And so I introduced the concept of a good enough digital parent and try and emphasize that, a good enough digital parent is going to make mistakes. They're not gonna get it right the first time. And that's okay, both when it comes to their children's technology use, but also their own technology use, because it's really hard for us to find a good balance.
And there's actually, what I want to emphasize is that there's opportunity and for growth and for some really great Parenting to happen around this idea of good enough. And so what I mean by that is the concept itself of a good enough parent is not one that I came up with. And it actually dates back to the middle of the 20th century, this pediatrician, Donald Wincott.
And back then he was talking about the good enough mother, but I updated it for the good enough parent. But his argument, I think is a really important one. And it actually gets back to the concept of self-regulation. If we're always there to respond to our child's every bid for attention or to fix every problem, or if they're bored to get them on onboard, they're never gonna learn how to do that themselves.
They're never gonna learn how to be resilient. And so not always being there 100% or making some mistakes actually is an opportunity to help build your child's resilience and their ability to get themselves out of their own problems or to find something to do when they're bored. And so that extends into the digital realm.
So a good enough digital parent, tries out some different things, maybe figures out, what if my child watches two hours of TV at night, I notice that they're really, their behavior starts changing. I don't feel as engaged with them. Digital parents are trying things out.
They're observing and adjusting. They're making mistakes and learning from them and in the process, hopefully helping to develop their children's resilience. And then with their own technology use, again, there's so much pressure for parents to be a good model in the best technology use possible, show your kids that you can put your phone away and that's, of course we should be striving for that.
But it's a, again, unrealistic, these phones and computers are every bit as compelling for us as they are for kids. And so when we find ourselves slipping, that's actually a great opportunity to call attention to that and say, you know what? I'm being pulled away by this phone. And if you're depending on how old your child is, you could even talk about the concept of dark patterns and how it's actually been designed to make me do that.
And in that way, you're giving yourself a bit of a break. You're using it as an opportunity to talk to your children and as a teachable moment. And then, I think the last piece of this is a good enough digital parent knows that it shouldn't all be on them to figure this out. And again it takes more than just the parents and the kids to figure out and address these challenges.
And hopefully, I'm hoping that this idea will help ease the guilt somewhat of parents who are really struggling to just be the perfect paragons when it comes to screen time. I'm breathing easier already, so thank you very much. It's not easy, right? It's not easy to model things and I think that, at least that, that can be a conversation around, the dinner table and whatnot.
[00:29:55] Hunter: Like the, we can have conversations around technology and how our own experiences with it and yeah, the, I thank you. It's okay for us to make mistakes in tech use. I appreciate that because, Particularly with tech use, it's like we just feel like, oh my gosh, like I've messed up my child. And it's hard to it's really hard to dial it back once it's gone
[00:30:19] Dr. Katie Davis: forward.
It's so hard. It is so hard. I've noticed that it's very hard to dial it back, but it's not impossible. And then I think that's the good news. It's not irrevocable if you feel you've gone too far in one direction, sure, it's gonna be really hard to walk that back. But you can do it. It might take a little bit of time, a little bit of creativity, but it is possible.
[00:30:42] Hunter: Yeah. And dear listener, if you notice you really want some support in that, we have a great interview with Dr. Victoria Dunkley that we talked about that in earlier episode. Don't remember the number. Sorry. It's interesting as we were talking about this and then, and I so appreciate this idea of good enough.
Being a good enough digital parent, that's really great. But I was thinking about the, I need for like us to have more support in Parenting. This is I endlessly feel this way in all aspects of Parenting, but in digital Parenting, that's very clear, right? As you're saying, we need more support.
But I was thinking what are the sort of things that have come up with the la with the lack of support in that and the, we need like a common sense media. For video games, like Common Sense Media is this great website that has kid and parent reviews of movies and TV shows. Maybe they'll expand into video games.
That would be Oh, they do? They review. Yeah. They have Do they? Oh, great. Yeah. I was part of the research team that helped worked with Common Sense Media to develop their first iteration of their digital citizenship curriculum. So I learned a lot about what they were doing and it's been amazing to watch them over the years.
[00:32:00] Dr. Katie Davis: But yes, they review pretty much anything you can imagine. Apps, video games, TV shows. Yeah, it's amazing. So
[00:32:08] Hunter: we have you gone there to look for, we can go there and look like, say our kid is I want this, right? We can go there, I can see what they say about Minecraft for different ages
[00:32:18] Dr. Katie Davis: or whatever.
Yeah, you can look for Minecraft, you can look for, you, if you aren't really understanding what TikTok is about or be real, or any, anything you can think of, they pretty much, they either have a review or a writeup, a primer about that particular app or platform. And it's very helpful and I absolutely use Common Sense Media as a parent.
But I will say that I don't use it every single time. I do. I let Oliver find certain apps or certain shows and because honestly I don't have time to consult Common Sense Media every single time and to read the reviews, I try as much as I can. But again, this is where I think of. I'm more, we're a scientist together.
We're trying things out, seeing what happens and then adjusting along the way. And so far that has worked pretty well for us. Okay.
[00:33:16] Hunter: All right. Good. What about like the pandemic? We know that, I feel like in the pandemic we were throw we were the, we were in the, we were the frogs in the proverbial pot boiling, and then suddenly, the heat was really turned off.
We were, all of a sudden we were like living these incredible digital lives, digital school. It was a disaster for my younger child digital school. But what did we learn in general in the pandemic about kids in technology that we didn't know before? I really think that, I think before I actually started writing this book before the Pandemic and Paused during the pandemic, because Oliver was three and I could not write a book while also taking care of a three-year-old full-time.
[00:34:04] Dr. Katie Davis: What I noticed as a real shift in our societal conversation around kids and technology was before it really seemed to be okay, is technology good or bad? The pandemic kind of threw that question out because we needed technology, we realized very clearly, very starkly that all of us are reliant on it for better or for worse.
So I feel we were ready to engage with the question of when is technology good? When is it bad? Under what conditions and for whom? And so I think, the pandemic really placed a spotlight on both the great aspects of technology. How it allows us to connect with each other when we're disconnected physically.
Online learning, of course, it fell short in so many ways, but it did at least allow a connection to school. But again, the online learning example is a great one to that it showed that technology isn't a silver bullet. It's not, it wasn't the case that we could just transfer offline school, completely wholesale online, and that it would all work.
It was a disaster for many students and many teachers. Because it turns out you can't really do that. You have to think of new ways to teach with technology. It also really exposed these two digital divides that we have in our society. One is a divide with respect to just pure access to technology, access to internet connectivity.
So many kids don't have that basic access, and so they just weren't able to participate in any way with online learning. And then even for kids who have some access, there's a huge divide in terms of the kinds of supports that kids have. For supporting their technology experiences, including their online learning experiences.
And so I think the pandemic really shone a huge spotlight on the fact that young people are having very different experiences with technology depending on their surrounding circumstances.
[00:36:19] Hunter: Okay. So there's, yeah, there's a lot of different experience. We want them to have positive experiences. We want them to have this be a tool, right?
So just as we're thinking about in the early years, we want things that maybe sup support their self-regulation, their emotional regulation, that critical aspect of development that's happening. We want things that have positive experiences as we get into sort of elementary and then adolescent years.
So what are some of the, like if we move up that developmental timeline, what are things that are actually like positive and supportive aspects of technology in these different stages? Sure. So if we're moving up into, tweens and adolescents, and again, thinking about what is their job?
[00:37:06] Dr. Katie Davis: So when you're thinking about a 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old's prime job, it's really to, they're trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the peer group around them and the, and as they get older, even the wider world. And whereas a young child's job is to really master their environment and their behavior in that environment, an adolescent's job is to figure out who they are in that environment.
And really the key context for that job is the peer group. And so when you then, now we're talking about social media because a lot of peer interactions, of course, today are happening or at least extended through social media. And of course that introduces. A huge amount of both opportunities and challenges for teens.
When you're talking, you're asking about the positives. There are tons, when it comes to opportunities to explore different identities, to connect with friends to. Especially friends who are not geographically co-located. There are opportunities to learn new skills and pursue interests really deeply.
So I did some research over the pandemic with teens and how they were adapting and ex and fairing during the pandemic. And for most of them, like the broader country, most of them were finding online learning just a complete disaster and really challenging. But there was a small group where they were actually having a fantastic time because they were going at their own pace at school.
They could go ahead if they wanted, and they usually had one or more real serious passions, I would say, real interests. So maybe it was music or cooking. And they were finding that all this extra time allowed them to go really deep. And the online environment allowed them to discover all sorts of tools where they could learn more, improve their music abilities, share their skills with other people, find people connect with them, who shared their interests.
So in that respect, there are tons of opportunities and a lot of exciting opportunities, I would say, for development. But of course, it's not all rosy when it comes to social media. It's interesting to think like the kids who had a passion did well. And I'm thinking extrapolating backwards from that.
[00:39:48] Hunter: If you are a little kid or an elementary school kid that was given the opportunity to be bored, right? That was given the opportunity to have. Things that were self-directed and, those opportunities for open-ended play and I think boredom because you, you gotta say, okay, now I'm bored.
What is around the corner for me to do it? It promotes this like creativity and exploration and things like that. And so the idea of if, say the listener, you're a parent of a younger chi child, you're like, oh gosh, I I want my child to have a passion so they can be, as Katie was talking about, one of the things we can do then is give them sort of time and space when they're little.
Maybe not stack their schedule, not, always, maybe limit the screen time so that they have that time that we're not, they have that time for open-ended play and like being bored so that creativity and passion develops.
[00:40:48] Dr. Katie Davis: Yeah, and it can be really uncomfortable for parents to watch their children be bored and they feel, I have this feeling too as a parent, oh gosh, I need to find something to occupy him.
I need to get him unboard. But I have really leaned in to and embracing Oliver's boredom. So if he says, Complains that he's bored, I'll say, that's good. You're gonna be able to figure out how to get onboard. And it may take him a while, but eventually he finds out what he wants to do. And yeah, I think, I'm hoping that he's finding passions.
It's this balance again, between allowing them to explore, but, nudging them in certain directions while you're observing them. If they seem that they really love to build, putting more opportunities for that in their way. But again, providing ample opportunity for this open ended play and figuring out, because usually again, your play experiences only last maybe about 15 or 20 minutes for young kids.
So when that 15 or 20 minutes ends, you don't necessarily have to be waiting in the wings to direct them to the next play experience. Maybe let them figure that out for themselves.
[00:42:08] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.
Yeah I couldn't agree more. But so when, but then we think about then when they're in the tweens and adolescents, you've researched people, kids at these ages and things like that, we have where there's evidence, right? That like social media can be really harming for teen girls.
And yet, I'm like in the thick of this because my daughter is turning 13 tomorrow and we when her older sister was that age, we got her a phone, we got her a smartphone. And I I wish I had gotten her kind of a talk and text phone at that point. But she's okay. She's worked through it and handled it.
She even took TikTok off her phone cuz she didn't like how it felt. But with her younger sister, she's a different person and we're not gonna get her a phone, not even a talk and text phone. We're gonna get her Apple Watch so she can talk and text for friends. But that anything else will be so small that'll be annoying to use.
That's our thinking anyway. There's so much pressure. I think ki kids have phones when they're eight cuz parents wanna track the kids and want the kids to be able to, they feel like it's a safety measure and things like that. And do you have recommendations for any kind of guidance for.
Kind of what is that framework we should provide for them? What are those b what are some of those healthy boundaries we should provide for them? Because I don't think it's healthy to just be like, here have the whole everything that's, you're gonna have to deal with it. You're, when you're an adult anyway.
And but we do have to you scaffold them right to that place. Absolutely. Yeah. So I think that when you're thinking about it, your child is getting older, 11, 12, 13, trying to figure out when do I get them a phone? What kind of phone do I get them? I think, going back to the idea of training wheels actually I think is a really good way to think about it.
[00:44:17] Dr. Katie Davis: You're not, or water wings, you're not just gonna throw your kid in the deep end in a pool without some sort of flotation device. You're pretty much not gonna just give them a two-wheel bike and expect that they're gonna know how to ride it. And I think take that and times it by a hundred for phones.
The phones are so powerful. They open up so many windows into different platforms and different people and opportunities and experiences, and it's, one where I think you do need to put on some really very strong training wheels and. As you noted, your two children are different. And so the, what those training wheels look like are probably gonna be a little bit different.
So maybe you'll opt for a smartwatch versus a smartphone, or maybe it's possible to get put an operating system on your phone where everything is very limited and controlled by the parents. So they have a safe list of contacts that their kids are allowed to interact with. They can, parents are able to choose which platforms their kids have access to on the phone.
So there are a lot of good tools that you can use to really scaffold. That experience and that entry into mobile phone use and social media. And, it is true, the, there's a lot of evidence accumulating that for many teens there are some real challenges and real struggles when it comes to social media.
It's certainly not all teens. And it's, as you said, it's often girls but girls who, not all girls, but girls who are highly sensitive to peer feedback. Very aware of and their body image and could have body image concerns may low self-esteem, things like that. And so I think it's important to pay attention to what kind of child do you have?
Is your child someone who really can be sucked in and start to really ruminate when they look at attractive photos on social media? Or do you have a child who just brushes that off and says, you know what? Those pictures were highly filtered, highly curated, and I'm not even gonna bother with those at all.
Again, that, that interaction between. The technology and the actual teen is really important to pay attention to. And so you
[00:46:53] Hunter: might have a conversation with your teen that talks about Hey, I know you know, you're really sensitive and these images can be really affecting. Like you, I think that we're gonna hold off on, Instagram for instance for you for a while because I feel like this could be harmful and this is why I feel it, it could be harmful.
Similarly with something like TikTok or Snapchat, I've told my daughters like, I don't want you to have Snapchat cuz I don't want the, I'm not, I don't think you, no snap streaks, right? Which is when you have to like, keep this streak up. I'm just, I don't want you to have that.
And I would definitely not, want my second daughter to have TikTok on a device. If she had a, they have. They have other moments in their life. I just don't think it should be, they have an iPad they have interaction with technology a lot, but I just don't think it should be in their her pocket for every second of the day to have that kind of thing.
And I talk to them about why I don't want have TikTok and have it turn your attention to Jelly. I think that's so important though, to have those conversations instead of just saying, okay, I'm gonna put all of these parental control tools, I'm gonna install them and use them as a way to spy on your child or to reign them in.
[00:48:14] Dr. Katie Davis: That I don't think is the best approach. It's really, you can use those tools, but. First, explain why you're using them and really in involve your child as a partner and talking about, okay, we're gonna start this place and then we'll reassess as time goes on and you can tell me how, what your experience is I'll tell you what I'm nervous about and why I'm making these decisions. And we can go from there. And of course, as children get older, they're obviously gonna want a little bit more autonomy and a little bit more say in these decisions. But, those conversations can evolve from there. But I think entering into those conversations and really, using them as an opportunity for bigger conversations about technology and your own struggles, helping them to reframe some of their experiences.
So when we're thinking about Snapchat or Instagram, if instead of saying, oh, you know what, I, I can never compare to those, Amazing images or I'm really freaked out because someone hasn't responded to my snap. Maybe helping them to reframe maybe they're at the dinner table or maybe their phone is, has been confiscated, or they can't have it in their room at night.
Helping them to think that there might be another way to think about this, or those perfect images you're seeing on Instagram were probably the person took 50 before they decided on that one, or they used a bunch of filters. There's different ways to think about it or maybe even try not following those accounts that are making you feel bad and follow different accounts that are a little bit more positive in their message.
[00:49:59] Hunter: God, I'm so obsessed right now with this account that does voiceover for animal videos. It's so funny and it just makes me laugh hilariously. So on a side note for that, Katie, I have enjoyed talking to you so much about this. I find your voice like so calming and reassuring and the middle path.
It's so happy, because I teach in a lot of ways Mindful, Parenting, we talk about the middle path a lot and the middle path. And you have here with technology style, the middle path of digital Parenting and the good enough digital parent is such an important thing. Thank you so much for doing the work you've done and for bringing this lovely voice of reason to it and sharing your time with us here today in the Mindful
[00:50:47] Dr. Katie Davis: Mama podcast.
Oh, was my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me
[00:50:51] Hunter: and people can find you at. Katie Davis research.com.
[00:50:56] Dr. Katie Davis: That's right. Absolutely. And if you can download a free chapter of the book there. Awesome. All right. Thank you so much. Thank you.
[00:51:12] Hunter: And now join me for our bonus conversation with Howard Globus, author of Un Hacked, and we're gonna talk about how to be safer online and at home with all our tech stuff.
Howard, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Nova
[00:51:34] Dr. Katie Davis: podcast. Thanks for
[00:51:36] Hunter: having
[00:51:36] Howard Globus: me. I really
[00:51:37] Hunter: appreciate it. What you got you so interested in cybersecurity that they now call you the cybersecurity evangelist? What got me interested in cybersecurity was I've been doing it computer work since I was about seven years old.
[00:51:52] Howard Globus: My dad brought home a computer before we had a colored television set. So it was one of those things that we had to both my brother and I had to learn how to program and figure out how to do things on it. It was required reading and work. And all through junior high school and high school, I was working with computers and I just decided that was what I was gonna wind up doing.
And out in the field while I was as an adult, I found out that there were a lot more things going on than just people innocently opening up programs and working that there was a lot of nefarious stuff going on, people trying to steal information, and I had to come up with ways to, to work on that.
And it just the rabbit hole that I went down and it just it just built from there. Okay. And oh, what's your scale of worried now that we, like almost all of our lives and work and everything is online, how are you feeling about things, just generally before we dive into the
Sure. On a scale of one to 10, I'm almost always at 11 when it comes to concern. But also recognizing the fact that we have to live our lives and so much of our life is online at this point in time, that there are ways to mitigate our risks. I don't think that you can ever fully eliminate them, and I tend to operate on a three to four scale.
I know that there's some bad stuff out there, but once you take care of a couple of basic things, you can really bring down your your security your security risk profile.
[00:53:22] Hunter: Okay. All right. Great. So let's talk about the thing. We tend to use a lot of social media. Can we use social media safely?
[00:53:31] Howard Globus: The short answer is yes. With a very big, however, I think that generally speaking when we have a new tool, we tend to use it in all kinds of ways that maybe it wasn't originally intended. Whether it be a screwdriver or a ruler or a protractor or social media. And what I see is that there's a lot of oversharing of information on social media sites.
So it started really early on where folks who had MySpace pages or other social media sites, they would post up a lot of information. They would post up a lot of personal information whether it's about them or their family, sometimes about their kids or their parents. And when you think about how that information can be used, think about what your security questions are.
What is your mother's maiden name where did you grow up? What street did you live on as a child? What was your first pet's name? These are common security questions The more information that you share on social media, the more information you're giving to potential criminals.
So what I think about when I think about social media and how to mitigate the risk is try and have a small profile, try and have a small footprint. Everybody likes to share vacation pictures. I think that's a great thing to do. I very big on telling my family, my friends and my clients don't share your vacation pictures while you're on vacation.
Think about sharing your vacation pictures when you return from vacation rather than announcing, Hey, we've taken two weeks and we're across the country or around the world. And that means that our home is completely open. A dog is in the kennel. And we just have a simple a d t security system because you've seen it in all of our family pictures that it has a nice a d t sign in the front yard.
So think about when you're sharing your information, think about what information you're sharing. And just be aware of that. That's that's the best advice I can give about social media. Okay. That's very practical. I really appreciate the share about vacation. It's sometimes, it's hard sometimes though cuz we wanna say, look what just happened.
[00:55:39] Hunter: This is happening right now that I'm, whatever. I'm seeing the pyramids in each Egypt and it can be hard to like tamp that down, but I think that's probably just like a good practice for us to practice a little patience there. Okay, so that's social media. We wanna think about what are we sharing as far as details you would say, like the personal information and the details.
What about people who, so what about with our kids and what are some guidelines that you would give our kids about social media, assuming they're old enough to have a social media account
[00:56:17] Howard Globus: in today's world that becomes younger and younger almost every year. I like to talk about consequences.
And talk about long range planning, and neither, neither of those two things really stick out in the mind of a preteen, a teen, or a young adult. The concept and I think you and I are approximately around the same age. The concept that we had growing up was this is going to go down on your permanent record.
And the concept of that permanent record was something that I know I my wife, many of my friends lived in a state of abject fear about, oh no, that a permanent record. What's gonna happen when I go to college or go to my first job or my second job and my permanent record. And then as you get older, you realize that your your permanent record doesn't really exist the way that they said it did in elementary school.
This is actually a permanent record. So I'd like to talk with my kids and other people's kids and family and friends that. Social media provides an indelible permanent record. So what are the consequences? How are we going to how are we gonna be seen and who's going to see it? Friend of mine had brought up the fact that if it's something that you'd be embarrassed by your grandmother seeing, probably not a great idea to put up on social media.
But that being said using the grandmother as the as the litmus test may not be the best best way to do it. Talking about what happens with the information that's up on social media sharing that we went out for a weekend of camping with our friends may not necessarily be a bad thing.
But then some activities that maybe are not on the up and up maybe should not be posted. And why is that? Thinking about where that information may be used. It may be used when you're applying for college. It may be used while you're looking for your first job, your second job. Or it may be used by an employer to determine whether or not you're the type of employee that they wanna keep when downsizing happens.
And again, these are further ranging conversations or thoughts that most preteens and teens are not thinking about like what that permanent record looks like but talking about consequences that in the same way that we don't wanna be caught doing something that we wouldn't be proud of. Thinking about that.
And I think a lot of it has to do with education and reeducation and constant education, and quite frankly, speaking openly with our children about what it is that they've posted up. And that means following them on social media so that way we know what they are actually posting.
[00:58:59] Hunter: I guess we have, since they're prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of impulse control, doesn't really develop until their early twenties.
We have to be the external impulse control or we can try to be that in some degree to be the external impulse control to help them think about this, like the long lasting effects of this. Okay. What else should we be concerned of in about kids' internet use? What are the thing, what are the like, safety factors that we have to consider?
[00:59:29] Howard Globus: I think the biggest safety factor I like to think about is the tools that we have can work if we use them. And what I mean by that is from a very young age, children are getting internet enabled devices. And whether it's the equivalent of speak and spell. Or a device that that can record a person's voice and send an update, that kind of a thing.
If it's internet connected, it needs to be internet managed. And when we're thinking about toys and tools, we need to think about what's actually being used and is it necessary to be connected to the internet? An infant or a a two or three year old's child, a child's toy may have an internet connected portion to update the software.
Is that necessary? Okay. If it's necessary, then make sure that our, that the default ID and password is changed. That's gonna be a critical thing because most of the time what we find is that product comes out of the box. And whether it's a a children's toy or a network access device, a wireless access point.
Something that's gonna be put on the network to be able to watch user television. Default usernames and passwords remain. So thinking about what's connected to the internet through your home and has that been changed, the password, has the ID been changed and has it been updated? Because updates happen all the time and on a very regular basis, and making sure that updates are applied to things like, the speak and spell that's that's internet connected rather than just the tablet or the computer that we normally would think about.
Keeping on top of what's connected to your network is really important. And there's like things like nanny cams and door cams, and are there even some refrigerators that are internet connected? The, it sounds like if I'm gonna have to update the ID and the passwords and all that.
[01:01:42] Hunter: It sounds like a lot of management, frankly. Talk to us about these o these devices. I guess it's beyond the toys, but all around the house that we're thinking about these things.
[01:01:53] Howard Globus: So there's a concept called the Internet of things or the iot the Internet of Things is this concept that anything that can be connected to the internet is connected to the internet.
The follow-up concept is, should it be, but that's a different conversation to have. You mentioned refrigerators. There are also toaster ovens and you have thermostats HVAC. Heating and cooling controlling units garage doors. All of these things can be internet connected, front doors, back door locks, those kinds of things.
Anything that is connected to the internet that has some kind of electronic component probably has an update that it has to have done. And most of these times they're set and forgotten about rather than actually ma maintained and monitored. So there are ways to find out every piece of equipment that's that's internet connected into your home network.
And then we recommend creating a list of those devices and then putting them into a a maintenance schedule. The same way that you, that some folks have a maintenance schedule for their boiler or their hot water heater or their their air conditioning unit and things that you would do on a normal, regular basis, change your your battery and your smoke detectors during the Equinox, right?
So you have that done twice a year knowing that way the batteries are always. Tested and checked. We recommend putting together a list of these devices with a checklist to make sure that on a regular basis they're managed and maintained. And I would say yes, it is a more of a management headache and there's more things to do with it.
But it's a car. We don't purchase a car, drive it off the lot, and then assume that we're never gonna have to put gas in it and we're never gonna have to change the oil. We have to add wind windshield washer fluid occasionally. Sometimes there are factory recalls where we have to bring it back to the dealership or to a service station to have updates done.
Same kind of thing. It's just just another component. I feel like this is like a great argument for simplifying and not having like a bunch of internet connected things because I don't want to have to have a list and a maintenance schedule of all my internet connected devices. Imagine you have you simplified for it in your own life knowing all this.
No, I I've actually come up with routines and systems. We have my, my wife and I have a running joke slash argument about who's responsible, and if it plugs into the wall or it has a battery, it's probably my responsibility. And more, more often than not, it's not because she can't, it's because she says that's your job and your thing, and you talk about that, so why don't you deal with that?
[01:04:48] Hunter: Okay. All right. So make a list, have a maintenance schedule or simplify and, or maybe we could do both of those things. What are some basic cybersecurity and home internet safety tips that we can take home
[01:05:03] Howard Globus: with us? Sure. So there are some things that every every parent and I would argue every person should be aware of.
Things like knowing what your online privacy settings are. There are privacy settings that you could set on. Your network connections, but also on your your routers your wireless access points coming from your internet service provider. Make sure those set, those things are set. Making sure that you have age appropriate content settings put on.
If you have younger children or children that you wanna protect from certain content that's coming in understanding what kind of online communications are going on in the house and coming off the network. Very often what we'll find is that there'll be either shared or borrowed network access from neighbors or folks who are in the area.
And by, by putting on a strong username and password, we can make sure that only those that we want to use our network are using it. Likewise I recommend putting on a guest network that does not have contact or access to. The other things on your internal network. So if you happen to have a, an internet connected refrigerator, you may not want the folks who are coming over for a kid's sleepover to also have access to that same network.
They might not be doing anything nefarious. They might just be hacking around to see what they can find. Probably best to segment out those those networks. And there are instructions online how to do these things. They're not as difficult as they may sound. It just takes a little bit of time and usually a YouTube video or two to help out with that.
And then being aware of what's posted up online, I think that's that's an important an important tip to, to keep in mind so that way we're aware of what our reputation say, but also what our children's reputation say. Okay. And okay, so we're looking for borrowed network access. We wanna just pay attention to our si.
[01:07:08] Hunter: Security on those, we're gonna have those age appropriate content settings. We wanna know what our online privacy settings are and maybe just have a guest network for guests who are coming over and kids and things like that. And then for kids, what are some of the basic cyber security and internet safety tips that they need?
They need to know just like what, what are the rules of what not to post for kids. The rules on, on the things not to post for kids are going to vary depending upon the age of the child, obviously. But I would say that again, anything that we don't wanna see on a permanent record is something that we wanna make sure is not being posted.
[01:07:51] Howard Globus: So that means keeping it generalized and not too specific. Keeping personal information, date of birth, social security number, that's some obvious stuff. But also Some photographs you may not want to have posted. There's actually some discussion right now about children's privacy and how much privacy that they have now as compared to privacy that we had as children, simply because our parents didn't post up our baby pictures from prenatal to birth through all kinds of development cycles.
So being aware of what's posted up both to protect your child and also so that way your child can protect themselves. And then oversharing of information again, personal information, but also family situations because again, this is where some information can be leveraged and we want to think about what information is out there and how might it be used.
So again, just from a what's on the T record perspective. Okay. It sounds to me like this is going to be. Series of conversations, series of reminders that are talking about how this is permanent, talking about how these things affect us and just really boosting our awareness of what our digital footprint is, and how we can be safe around the house.
[01:09:17] Hunter: Don't just take it all in without awareness and also what the digital trail, what that looks like. Because as we come back and look over the course of a life where you've been, what you've done that's not a story that we're necessarily telling ourselves. It's a story that, that may be left through digital breadcrumbs.
[01:09:38] Howard Globus: So what breadcrumbs do we want to be found?
[01:09:41] Hunter: Okay. Howard, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the Mindful moment of podcasts and share your worry levels with us and to share these practical tips with us. I think it's really helpful. Thank you.
[01:09:55] Howard Globus: Thank you so much for having me.
[01:10:05] Hunter: Hey, I hope you enjoyed this conversation and the bonus conversation. There's so much there. Like I said, we're gonna be doing playlists soon of the podcast cuz we have so many episodes. How, how do you navigate them? So we're gonna do some playlists of different subjects and tech will definitely be one of them, right?
Such a big issue in this day and age. If you appreciate this podcast or any of the other 400 podcasts, I would love it. It would make such a big difference if you could leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. You can do it right here where you're listening to your phone. You just look. Click over to the ratings.
You can leave one. It's super, super easy. It really just takes 10 seconds. And I'm gonna give a shout out to Malu 7 77 who gave a five star review. Thank you so much. They wrote, grateful. This podcast has helped me so much with my Parenting. Thank you, hunter. Thank you. I really appreciate it. Hope this this podcast is helping you get through this journey, this that we get through as, as imperfectly as we do, it's so not easy. So I hope that you're taking care of yourself this week, and I hope you have some peace and ease and joy and all of those things, and I'll be practicing that too. Thank you so much for listening my friend. I must stay.
[01:11:31] Dr. Katie Davis: I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse, it's been really a positive influence in our lives, so definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.
It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting more with them and not feeling like you are yelling all the time, or you're like, why isn't things working? I would say definitely do it. It's so worth it.
It'll change you no matter what age someone's child is. It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift.
Everything in your Parenting,
[01:12:34] Hunter: are you frustrated by Parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?
Hi, I'm Hunter Clarkfield, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You'll be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of Mindful Parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their Parenting. This isn't just another Parenting class.
This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to. Mindful Parenting course.com to add your name to the wait list, so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.
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