I had 4 presentations this week and wow – each of them got better and better! I kicked off the week with a discussion with the Boys and Girls Club in LA, moderated by my friend and former Radio Disney host Daniel Dudley, followed by a presentation to Menlo University students, and then ended up on the campus of UT to present “virtually” to students at the Kendra Scott Institute! To wrap out the week, I was part of a discussion surrounding helicopter parenting and mentorship yesterday to a group of parents at Fusion Academy in Boston.
I have so many thoughts on finding mentors and back doors to getting your biggest inspirations to mentor you…but I want to focus on some of the topics that came up during the talk last night. I know I have many parents who follow me and I want to address some of the questions and concerns I was asked on the webinar yesterday.
I hate to break it to you but you’re probably less involved in your child’s lives than you should be. That’s not bad, just something to be aware of. Here’s the thing: being a parent is hard. I’m not a parent (OBVIOUSLY LOL) but the amount of parents I speak to, also taking into account my own experiences with my parents growing up, doing it “all” is a lot easier said than done. You CAN do it all: but that ALL quite often stops at the dinner table with the iPad, TV, or social media because by the time they’re logging on you’re ready to be done.
Unfortunately, that’s the time you need to be even more involved.
During the presentation yesterday, one mother asked a question about how she can control what her 15-year-old son is doing on Snapchat. While she was describing the situation (she said she constantly finds her son on FaceTime with tons of kids older that he doesn’t know) I started to question whether she knew if the platform he’s using is really FaceTime…because you can’t FaceTime 20 people at once and you certainly can’t FaceTime someone directly without having their contact info. That’s a problem right there: not being aware of the platforms out there and at least what they look like or are used for.
I’m still not entirely sure what she was referring to but my suspicion is Snapchat – she mentioned seeing a lot of “bubbles” of faces on the screen. Whatever the social media platform her son is using is, she totally has every right to be concerned. I wouldn’t want my kid talking to a bunch of older kids on any social media forum!
What can she do? Start the conversation.
You don’t need to approach your kid in an aggressive way, asking them a ton of questions about what’s going on or who is on the phone… because guess what, young adults are pretty impressive at getting their family to believe exactly what they want them to believe, even if it strays from the truth!
Conversation starters could be:
“Cool app, show me it!”
“I want to be the cool parent. Please tell me what apps all the kids in school are using so I at least know what’s going on!”
“Where’d you meet them?”
And if they completely disregard your questions, don’t back off. Don’t go wild and start obsessing – but ask them again tomorrow. You’re a parent: don’t be afraid to bug your kid. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Overall, you need to start somewhere. Take 10 minutes this week and get comfortable knowing what the apps look like and what apps are safer than others. Make a Tik Tok with your kid (even if dancing makes you as uncomfortable as it makes me) and get a glimpse at who they’re following on their feed. What better way to know what they’re seeing than to see it too?