My guest today is Titania Jordan.
Casey and Titania share an engaging, relatable conversation about kids, tweens, teens, and their access to technology & apps. Kids & teens having access to screens can be really convenient, and many of us have brought these tools into our lives. At the same time, they also bring a lot of struggles. Titania shares the importance of modeling healthy use with your own phone. They dig into how to talk to your kids about sexting, nudes, & consent. Casey asks how to know which apps are okay and how to keep up with new apps. Titania shares her thoughts on parental controls, screen time limits, & filters. They also talk about resources like Bark & Skyward, and how much parents really need to know.
Titania is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Parent Officer of Bark Technologies, an online safety company that helps keep kids safe online and in real life.
A renowned thought leader on digital parenting, Titania has contributed to pieces in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Huffington Post, Fox Business, Daily Mail, USA Today, Vogue, and more. Her first book, Parenting in a Tech World, was published in 2020 and quickly became a bestseller on Amazon. Titania was also featured in the 2020 documentary Childhood 2.0. She also frequently appears as a subject matter expert on nationally broadcasted programs such as the TODAY Show, Steve Harvey, The Doctors, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, Fox News, Sirius XM Radio, and CNBC.
In 2017, Titania founded a Facebook group where parents could come together and get advice on raising kids in the digital age, share stories, and learn the latest news about social media. It now has more than 180,000 members and is growing rapidly.
One of her favorite childhood memories is her dad asking her to “figure out this new computer thing” (i.e., read the Microsoft Windows 3.0 user manual) in the early ‘90s and later teaching him to navigate the wild west of the early internet that would eventually turn into the online world we know today.
When she’s not busy trying to make the world a safer place for kids, Titania enjoys duetting with her 14-year-old on TikTok, crafting custom handmade jewelry, and searching for the perfect smoothie.
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Takeaways from the show
- Struggles with teens & their screens
- Conversations to have with your teen about tech
- Modeling a healthy relationship with your phone & other screens
- Prioritizing face-to-face connections
- Sexting, nudes, & consent
- Knowing which apps are okay – old & new
- Using parental controls, screen time limits, & filters
- Can parents over-monitor?
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Joyful courage! I read the book “Radical Candor” a few years ago, and it changed my world as a total people pleaser. I think it can be very helpful in the world of parenting as well. Being radically candid with your kids – they know you love them, but they also know you’re going to shoot them straight, is a very powerful tool in being, like we said, more candid with them.
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Titania Jordan, Casey O'Roarty
Casey O'Roarty 00:04
Hello listeners Welcome to joyful courage a conscious parenting podcast hosted by me, Casey O’Roarty Positive Discipline trainer, parent coach adolescent lead at spreadable, and mom to two teenagers at least for a few more days. This show is about being with the season of parenting tweens and teens. And it can be a rough ride my friends, I am here for the real, the raw and the vulnerable. We don't hold back on this show and I keep relationships and personal growth at the center of what I do. If this feels good to you. Keep listening. Today we're talking about online safety. Funnily enough, or week or so after recording this interview. We had quite the Online Safety scandal go down at our house with one of our kids. I'm hoping he will come on to the pod soon and share his story. Stay tuned for that. I know you're gonna get some useful nuggets out of this conversation. I am so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show. So hi listeners I am so glad that you're tuning in today you're gonna be really glad to my guest is to Tanya Jordan. Titania is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief parent Officer of bark technologies, an online safety company that helps keep kids safe online and in real life. A renowned thought leader on digital parenting to Tanya has contributed two pieces in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Huffington Post, Fox Business Daily Mail USA Today Vogue and more. Vogue is a funny one to throw in there with all those others I think it makes so to kind of a big deal to me for sure. Yeah, definitely are first book parenting in a tech world was published in 2020 and quickly became a best seller on Amazon to Tonya was also featured in the 2020 documentary childhood 2.0. She also frequently appears as a subject matter expert on nationally broadcasted programs such as the Today Show Steve Harvey, the doctors. CBS This Morning Good Morning America, Fox News, Sirius XM radio and CNBC. In 2017, Titania founded a Facebook group where parents could come together and get advice on raising kids in the digital age, share stories and learn the latest news about social media. It now has more than 180,000 members. That number probably even could be updated. I
Titania Jordan 02:40
bet. Yeah. It's actually now over 253,000 Men oh my gosh, insane,
Casey O'Roarty 02:46
clearly growing rapidly. Yeah. One of her favorite childhood memories is her dad asking her to figure out this whole new computer thing, which was Microsoft Windows 3.0 User Manual in the early 90s. And later teaching him to navigate the wild west of the early internet that would eventually turn into the online world we know today, when she's not busy trying to make the world a safer place for kids. To Tonya enjoys duetting with her 14 year old on tick tock crafting custom handmade jewelry, and searching for the perfect smoothie. I love that. Hi, welcome to the show. You make me sound way cooler than I am. That is what I'm here for. That's what I'm here for girl. I'm so glad to have you.
Titania Jordan 03:30
I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Casey O'Roarty 03:33
I mean, we got a little background just with your story of your dad. But how did you get into this being the focus of your work and talk a little bit about what bark is, I mean, it's been mentioned on my show many times, but some just from you tell us a little bit about it.
Titania Jordan 03:49
Where to start? There are many, many, many episodes probably that we could do on the sometimes rocky paths of my life. But I'll start with just what is Bark. Bark is tech that helps protect now over 6 million children across the globe. And we're doing that by using artificial intelligence to analyze content, text messages, email, social media, digging deep within children's digital signal. It is sometimes very buried and very hidden to surface actual problems. We don't give parents full access to every single thing. It's not like when you go and pick up your kids phone and try to scrub through every text message or DM it's just analyzing the content and then surfacing snippets of the problems that you need to know about like cyberbullying, predators, drug use, the things that parents should probably step in and help out with their children. So we're alerting parents and caregivers to dangers. Not only that, but our technology has expanded to help in schools across the US because a lot of issues are happening on school issued tech. We've also expanded to help families with is filtering the internet that comes into their home making sure that whether it's a gaming console or in home devices and accounts, we're helping parents with filtering and screen time there, because we know that's a big issue. And then finally, we have expanded this month. And in fact, just started shipping phones. We've expanded to the barque phone. So we are not in the position to say more kids need phones earlier, and like marketing us in general, thank you for not saying that. Yeah. But we know kids are getting them, right. They're getting them, and they're getting them at younger ages. So if you are going to give your child a smartphone, big if it should be a safer one, and the options that were out there, were either too juvenile, too cumbersome, or just not safe at all. So we now have a barque phone that is very sleek and modern. I'm showing you an example of it right now. It's like, super cool, standard smartphone look. Yeah. And parents can control it. Parents can turn it into a fully functional smartphone with an amazing camera or make it essentially a dumb phone that can do nothing but tell you what time it is.
Casey O'Roarty 06:05
Oh, thank god. Yeah, well, and I have to be fully transparent. I completely failed on the monitoring software. situation, I was overwhelming to me. My kids are now 17 and 20. So we've kind of moved into a whole new situation. And fortunately, nothing went terribly sideways. I think due to my lack of effort. What I did lean into is I really leaned into normalizing conversations about how we're using our phones, what's coming up, like, we talk about it, we compare screen time, you know, it's just kind of a part of the fabric of our family. So I feel like, while I missed the boat in one place, I did a pretty good job in another place.
Titania Jordan 06:48
And absolutely, I love that you had multiple candid conversations and really just wove your digital life into your real life. Because that's where we are. We from our generation still see a differentiation between the two, but our kids, that's their whole life, whether it's digital or in real life. So keep up the great work.
Casey O'Roarty 07:07
Well. And it's interesting to think about that, right? I mean, I'm Gen X. So I'm like, you're on the cusp, that will accept you into the Gen X cohort. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. And it is it's fascinating. And I'm always telling my kids like, this was not a I didn't even have email until I was in graduate school. Yeah, I didn't have email until college. Yeah. And then even going to college. I had a brother word processor that literally showed four lines at a time when the little skinny screen. So it is a different world. And I think that is Gen Xers because I think millennial, I mean, some of maybe millennials who had kids really young, I'm sure they're out there, you know, they're kind of in the maybe one foot in this digital native ish experience. I feel like it's been a disservice for us Gen X parents, because everything does, like you said feel separate and feels like bad and feels like, you know, danger is everywhere. And nothing is normal. And how can they build REIT like, you know, if you're not seeing real in real life, people? How can you really feel like you're developing a relationship with someone over Snapchat video exchanges, and so wrapping our head around, this is where they are, this is real for them. And it does matter. You know, it makes sense to them. I think it's big work, right?
Titania Jordan 08:30
It's one of the most monumental shifts that we've experienced as humans, when it comes to parenting. You know, for generations, we could lean on our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, literature for how to teach a child how to ride a bike, you know, seatbelt safety, sunscreen, safety, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, whatever, however you're feeding, we had decades, centuries of evidence. We have nothing. Except for real time examples. We are a living experiment. So yay.
Casey O'Roarty 09:05
I'm always like, sorry, you guys. The grownups really got it wrong. Like we did not see this coming. And it came hard and fast. And we're trying to catch up like Sorry.
Titania Jordan 09:14
And I love that you share that you apologize, because there's actually some things that I think are important for parents to apologize for, you know, I apologize to my son, because I let him have tick tock at 10 and a half 11. Like, not when I should have in hindsight, not saying all kids aren't ready for tick tock at that age, but like even the platform itself says 13 So just not judging, but for me, not a good choice. And I had to go back to him and apologize. Like, I know, you're really addicted to this platform. But it was a bad choice for me to let you access this and I apologize that I let you have access to this. I'm gonna have to, you know, take it back. Random. Sorry. Yeah.
Casey O'Roarty 09:53
You'll be okay. Right. You'll
Titania Jordan 09:54
be like, you'll be fine. Yeah,
Casey O'Roarty 09:56
I remember my daughter was really young and it was musically Yeah, it was just like, oh, this cute little app where they get to make these videos. And I had no idea really? What could be found on that space or anything about it. So yeah, that whoopsie Yes. And that was like, I wouldn't let her get Instagram. I wouldn't let her get Snapchat, but she had musically, which now looking back was like, oh, geez case like, MC. But we're in today, we're in the present moment.
Titania Jordan 10:26
We live we learn.
Casey O'Roarty 10:28
So we've moved through the holidays, when this show comes live, we've moved through the holidays. And my guess is there are lots of kids out there that have gotten their hot little hands on some kind of device. So what are the numbers you mentioned a little bit? You know, what are you seeing at BARC? I'm sure you're paying attention to this? Who's getting smartphones? How young? My gosh, is everybody getting? I mean, according to my kids, right? Everybody has a smartphone. But when really is it
Titania Jordan 10:56
kind of is I don't know if you're a member of the parenting and tech world Facebook group that we talked about. But if you go in there, just the amount of posts that are coming through each day right now of like, okay, I'm going to do it. We're going to get my 6789 10 year old a smartphone. What's the best one? What do I need to know? Yeah, it's happening. It's happening. I know, I know. I know. And so it is absolutely happening. Everyone does have one. For a long time. The strength parents had a numbers to wait until ninth grade? Or grade eight. Yeah, right. Like, yeah, campaign. Yeah, that ship is almost sailed. Unless you have a strong group of parents friends, whose kids are also friends with each other and yours. And you can all wait, if you can. Awesome. Awesome. But it's
Casey O'Roarty 11:46
hard. Are these parents of younger kids? Is it more like, well, it's like getting a tablet, but a small tablet? Or is it like legit phone,
Titania Jordan 11:56
it's all over the place. Alicia has a hand me down device, you know, you've got this cracked, broken thing that can somehow still access Wi Fi. So you're like, here, just have this? Yeah, they're savvy, and they're accessing things you might not realize. Even our refrigerators in some cases are smart these days and could connect in somehow. So you know, there was a recent story that blew up about a Fitbit, having some problematic issues involved with children and messaging. And you just really have to assume that if it plugs in, if it has a battery, it probably has some component of connectivity to it. And so your job as the parent or caregiver is to do a quick Google search to say, whatever the name of the device is, you know, parental controls, or dangers, or what do I need to know and lock it down? Before you give your kid access? Yeah, yeah,
Casey O'Roarty 12:45
or I love that you shared your own experience with tick tock, if you're listening out there, and we're gonna get to this, my me, my parents, I've, you know, adolescents, and many of them are like, Oh, God, it is completely out of hand. And now, we're gonna get there. Just know, listeners, we're gonna get there, we're going to talk about, you know, just because it feels like we've missed the boat, or we didn't do what we were supposed to do to start doesn't mean that we can't do it now. Right doesn't mean that we can't do it. Now. What do you think the families are? What are you hearing in your Facebook group? What do you think the reasons are, that so many families are in the struggle with their adolescents and their screens?
Titania Jordan 13:25
Oh, my gosh, there's so many reasons, you know, one is just situational, right? There's a lot of dual households. And sometimes, the adults are not as friendly with each other as they could be. And so there's a heavy reliance on the child for communication just around pickup and drop off. So you know, if the divorce rate in this country is 50%, you know, that's a large chunk, right? So do households. Also, you know, pick up and drop off once your children are doing extracurricular activities where you can drop off and pickup sometimes, just for the peace of mind of you, as a parent, just to be able to say, hey, I'll be there in five minutes, or I'm running late, or, you know, if you're wondering why they aren't there, and you freak out and your heart sinks in your stomach to know that you can ping them or track their location. A lot of parents are more concerned about the dangers in the real world with, let's say, kidnapping, than the dangers in the virtual world, which are actually a lot more prevalent. We're all gutted by the fact that school shootings are now a thing and have been for a while. And so the ability to be able to contact your child if God forbid, their school goes on lockdown. It's a convenience thing. It's you know, if you have the ability to know where your child is at all times, and communicate them at any time, via text or say having to, you know, call the front office of the school and leave a message and have them call you back. Like it's a convenience thing.
Casey O'Roarty 14:46
Yeah. useful tool. It can be a useful tool, right? Absolutely.
Titania Jordan 14:50
It absolutely can be an entertainment too. I mean, I know that my smartphone has saved me multiple times when I've had to bring my son with me to, you know, a doctor's appointment and he wouldn't Oh, My gosh, I don't know what he would have done, I guess, read a book.
Casey O'Roarty 15:03
What about highlights magazine? Remember those? They don't have those anymore? Did they just have like USB board? So everybody can plug in their device? Yeah. USB ports and US Weekly? Yeah. So we've brought these things into our life like they are a tool that we're using. Yeah. And so for our adolescents and the parents of adolescents, what are you hearing? What are they fighting with their kids about in the context of these phones? So yes, we're using them to stay in touch and everything. But where's it going self,
Titania Jordan 15:35
a major source of friction is where and when the device is being used. Just like we as adults like to lay in our bed and scroll on our phone, kids like to do that, too. But that's problematic. Because if a child has their own room and their device in their room, if they wake up middle of the night, they're going to that thing, and then all of a sudden, they're not sleeping, and their bodies need sleep to grow and to be mentally healthy. So phones in the bedrooms, phones being used, you know, past 10pm, before 7am. Like, that's a big, big source of frustration, phones being a distraction during, let's say, homework time, where kids are saying, well, I need to be on this to collaborate with my friends on this project. And that's like, cool. Do you or don't you? I don't know. Yeah, I might be, you know, the fact that they're saying, you know, my friends don't text, they're on Snapchat. If you don't let me on Snapchat, I'll lose my friends. I won't be able to fit in and I get it. I get it.
Casey O'Roarty 16:32
Yeah, it's very hard. Yeah. Some of that, like, literally word for word has shown up in my household. What do you think are the most crucial conversations for parents to be having with their kiddos around screen use? And maybe we can differentiate between like, you know, parents? I mean, I want to think that probably my audience, it's probably not, we just got our first situation, I'm guessing my audience probably is like we're in it. Right? So what are some really important conversations that they can be having with their kids around how they're using their screens?
Titania Jordan 17:08
I love this question. I would say the first and most important thing to do is to model for example, I was at dinner last night with my husband and my son, and they didn't have their phones out, they were reading the menus, I already knew what I wanted. And I really wanted to check my phone, like I it was like burning a hole in my pocket. And I was like, if I take this thing out, I'm gonna be on it. And I will not be engaging with them. Right? I don't want to set that example. So if you have the honor and privilege to be in a situation where you have your child's attention and eyeballs, and they are not distracted by their phone, don't be distracted by yours. If you can help it outside of business hours, I get it. We're all on this hamster wheel. But just so by example, also, you know, if my son ever walks into my room, and I'm on my phone, put it to just, like, throw it across from if I can, like, Hello, you are the priority. Yeah, this Instagram, email, text, YouTube, whatever, this is not a priority. You, my human child, you are my priority. So prioritizing those face to face connections, showing what you're struggling with. I'm very honest with them, like, you know, I'll see all of my friends like at this concert. And I'm like, oh, man, that looks really fun. Like, I'm kind of sad. I didn't get invited to that.
Casey O'Roarty 18:25
I have some feels about this.
Titania Jordan 18:27
Yeah, I feel a feeling. Being vulnerable about that, sharing examples of unfortunately, scary stories that you might hear, like, Hey, I heard this kid was messaging with this person that that was their age, you know, on their Xbox and ended up sneaking into high school to meet with them. And now that kid is deceased, and it will never be coming home. And I know, you know better than that. But like, I just felt we should talk about that. Because that's a really scary feeling. And I bet their parents thought that their kid knew better to, you know, just having Yeah,
Casey O'Roarty 19:00
I want to pause you right there. Because I think that we can find really scary news stories. And as parents let that spin us out. And not to say that terrible things don't happen because they do the entry point that I like to take on that one is because I'm quick to be like, Oh my god, I heard this thing. What do you think about it? And I like to say, basically, like, how are you navigating? Like when somebody shows up in your messaging in your DMS? Like, how do you navigate that? What are the tells for you that this is a safe person or not a safe person? And what about the people that are really good at pretending? Like more, and it's the nice thing about that conversation? I'm speaking it for you listeners. Maybe you've heard me talk about this before. It calms me down. Like when my kids are like, yeah, it's totally odd. Some of the time it's totally obvious. And here's how, you know and they tell me yes, their experience. Because again, Jenna acts like, oh God, you know, and then being like, Yeah, I mean, my daughter telling me like mom dick pics are a thing. Like girls just get them. And I'm desensitized, which breaks my heart. Of course. Yeah. But also like her attitude towards it. And like, you know, like, and her ability to kind of move on and not get hooked or anything weird. calmed me down. Good, right. And so I think that it can be really useful listeners to just be really candid and fine before you're like you will get kidnapped. You will be dead in a ditch, all of them. Apparently, all of our kids are going to be dead in a ditch, then yeah, yeah. You know, find out like some of our kids are sad, would you? Well, I'm gonna have you tell me. Our kids are teens savvier than we give them credit for
Titania Jordan 20:54
with some of them are? Many of them are okay. I unfortunately have heard of too many stories of good kids that have made bad choices. Sure, and smart kids that have been just ashamed or scared or threatened. Yeah, to have a more casual feeling about it. But I'm also on that. I mean, that's my world every day are sending bark alerts, you know, whether it's imminent suicidal ideation to a predator. And so I have a different skew. They're much like perhaps, you know, television news journalist would, you know, covering murder every night? So sure. But I really liked how you framed it with your children, having them dialogue back to you about you know, what they're seeing and how they handle it. And I have a great example, too of that, you know, a lot of us, let's just talk about sexting. For example. There's really two paths we could take. We can either take the Don't you dare, a fiver find out you have, you know, it's against the law. child porn. Yeah. Bad, bad, bad alarm, alarm alarm? Or, this is what I did. I was like, Hey, buddy, you know, I heard from a middle school principal, like, sixth grade, like sexting is the new first base. And I just, it breaks my heart for some kids that are pressured into it. And it just, it's hard for me to believe that that's real. Are you seeing that in your school? Is that really the case? Or is that just at the school? And he was like, oh, yeah, no, it's happening. And I was like, I can't believe he told me that. But he did. So it's a dialogue. I am on your side, we are navigating this together. Yeah, I love that too. That kind of start with the macro. Like, what
Casey O'Roarty 22:31
are you seeing what's happening with the kids at your school? Versus are you doing this thing, right? When I think about stuff like sexting, what's the most important thing to me is for my kids to know, when that request comes, or when the impulse shows up? How to work through what's happening in their body, right? Not just like, You better not do it, because it's highly illegal. And you
Titania Jordan 22:57
smoke, don't drink, right? Don't have sex, you're worried. Right? Right. really worked for generations,
Casey O'Roarty 23:03
right? It worked really well for me. Right? So it's like, okay, and I had a friend of mine, you might know, Amy Lang, from birds, and bees and kids. She's a good friend of mine. And she's been on the podcast a bunch. And she talks about, you know, often kind of put our boys and you, as a mom of a boy, Mike will probably appreciate this, as the ones that are always doing that. Like, hey, send me a picture of your boobs or whatever. Yep. And Amy's like, you know, there's plenty of girls that are prompting this as well. And our boys need to have the skills to know how to say, I'm gonna like you, you don't need to send me this, right, like, I'm gonna like you no matter what, which is a big ask for an adolescent boy who's you know, boobs are fun. Like, it's exciting, but like helping them learn the skills and to have an normalize the conversation about it, like, has that happened, you know, once you've kind of gone macro, and the opening for the micro comes in, and you can say, like, how have you navigated this? Has this come up? Would you tell me if it had and I also had another person tell me like, well, if you're gonna send a nude, don't put your head in it. Hey, like, you know, you know, I mean, at the end of the day, the harm reduction is what it's about. So but actually a good tip or Yeah, at the core of it is being able to have conversations with your kids, and having a space of safety, so that they're willing to share,
Titania Jordan 24:33
right and talking about consent to this. I'm gonna go back to another conversation I have of my son, you know, he's in eighth grade, but you know, he'll be in ninth grade before I know it. And I was like, Look, when I was in ninth grade, I dated a senior in high school and I made certain choices that I probably wouldn't have if I had more confidence and my ability to push back and say no, and that sort of thing. And it was funny. His reaction was like, Wait, your parents let You data Sr? and I was like, Okay, well, they didn't like, I didn't come right out and tell them, you know, they probably should have asked more questions. But anyway, yes, the point is, is we're talking about consent here. And if you're ever with a partner, and they don't seem super overly enthusiastic about anything you might be doing just double, triple check. Yeah, make sure that you are 110% sure that y'all are both on the same page on whatever you're doing. And you're being safe. Because if there's ever any hesitation, you will not go wrong by waiting.
Casey O'Roarty 25:33
Yeah, I feel like this is so sad topic. But we're just gonna, we're here. So let's just check it out. I feel like more and more like that is also being normalized. Like I'm seeing it in the shows that I'm watching with Mike. Not always, but in the shows that I'm watching with my kids where they can just fold it in naturally, you know, because that's the thing. It's like, I'm feeling the vibe. And she wants to kiss me. Can I just lean in and kiss her like, Well, yeah, and it could also look this other way. And it doesn't have to be awkward. But even with phones, like if it's, you know, like, don't just send a photo willy nilly. I mean, don't send the photo. Just don't send the resume. Don't
Titania Jordan 26:12
do it. Just don't do it. You know, I've never heard a kid say I really regret not sending a nude like that has never Yeah, right. Right. Right. Unless maybe they got dumped because they didn't. But chances are that person, you know, was going to dump you in a way because they're right the person. It's that
Casey O'Roarty 26:29
classic. Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So back to the screens. Yes. To that little tangent. Thank you so much for writing that out with me. So apps on the phone, like you mentioned, all my friends are on Snapchat, I can't like it's great that you're letting me text, literally, same language came up in my house. And there's I feels like there's new apps all the time. In fact, an app came up in one of my parent groups. And I was like, oh, that must be a new one. And then I asked my nearly 20 year old daughter, and she's like, Mom, that has been around for a long time. I had never heard of it. And so. So there's the old apps. And then there's the new apps that seem to be showing up at the speed of light. What kind of resources do you have? How can parents stay up to date, especially as Gen Xers so that we know what to be having conversations about?
Titania Jordan 27:21
Well, you know, one fun thing to do if you're into tech, is just go to the App Store, whether it's the Apple App Store or the Google Play store and see what's trending. You know, kids make apps real popular real quick. And so you can do some digging yourself, you know, what's this be real app, what's this discord thing gonna ask you about be real? What's top and gaming, what's top and social media. If it's number one, two or three in social media, your kids have heard of it, and the probably on it. So that's a tip. A great tip.
Casey O'Roarty 27:56
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I feel like okay, now it now it's starting to click now it's starting to click, I still make a lot of mistakes. But I don't give myself a hard time about it. I just kind of sit back and go, Okay, what would I have done differently.
And I always feel like better about myself about my parenting just about, I don't know, I always take away something. And it just Casey asked something about how you run this and just your personality. And I'm always happy that I've come once I'm there, I feel
less alone. And a lot of the things that I'm going through with my kids,
you're an amazing facilitator, and you've brought this group together, you've created this. And it's been incredibly helpful to me in my parenting and in just making it through.
I can see in the brilliance and the messiness of my parenting.
Casey O'Roarty 29:43
There you have it. There you have it, those were not paid actors. Those were actual moms, some of which are still in the membership for second and third years. So if you are looking for that community where you can share it all feel held feel seen and heard feel connected, not feel alone. This is a great place to check out. Head over to be spreadable.com/l J. C. beasts browsable.com/ljc. Find out more information about the program and get yourself enrolled doors close January 11. I love that it's a what is trending? What's at the top of the list? It's all ranked in there in the app store. Yeah, pretty much. Okay. Pretty much. Yeah.
Titania Jordan 30:35
You know, obviously the Facebook group parenting in a tech world. Yeah. Parents, when they are concerned about something, they will surface it. And we usually know when something's picking up steam because we got like 10 pending posts about the same thing. So you know, right now, the big problem is just kids circumventing Apple screen time. With the latest iOS update. There's been tons of issues that parents are having with screen time settings not working the way they thought they would for their kids. So anyway, we hear about in the group join the group, we publish multiple blog posts a week about what you need to know about fill in the blank. We just talked about be real. It's an app didn't
Casey O'Roarty 31:13
talk about it. I want to talk well, but you mentioned welcome.
Titania Jordan 31:16
Yeah, you know, it's an app that's super popular. But honestly, it's kind of waning, because the popular apps like Tiktok, and Instagram have copied the feature. So there's this whole thing called feature creep. Right? Right. So now you can go to Instagram and pick the be real filter. And what it is, is it's showing you both the front camera and back camera view. So for a long time, we were all just living our best fake filtered lives and curating what you see. But now if you're using front camera and back camera, you see the pile of clothes, you see the like, messy whatever you see the you know, you see the full picture.
Casey O'Roarty 31:53
Yeah. So everybody be real. If you don't know what that is, is an app where every day, right, there's like a specific time of day where the kids or whoever's on it, get prompted to snap a photo right there. And it takes a picture of you, but also a picture of what you're looking at, basically, yes. And the incentive is, what
Titania Jordan 32:14
the incentive is, I mean, just like the name states to be more real. Okay. You know, we're always, like I said, trying to get a more perfect, curated, filtered version of ourselves out there in the world. But it's also causing some real issues with the comparison trap and FOMO, which is fear of missing out and just our mental health, because it's a lie. It's not real. So let's be more real. I love that concept.
Casey O'Roarty 32:39
Yeah. Okay, good. Okay. So staying up on apps, you gave us some tips, you started talking about kids circumventing screen limits? Yeah, iOS phones. That is the one thing that we do use over here. But again, we use it couched in, I'm not like, I am going to control your situation. And here's how I'm going to do it. It's more like we had it, then he didn't have it. So again, my son 17. And so as we've been looking at his screen time, I was traveling for a month, and I got back, I was like, let's see how you did you know, and it's too much. And so I said, Well, I can put the limit on, you know, your screen limit, and that can help you. And he was like, well, give me another week. Let's see how I can do. And then just a couple days ago, he was like, Yeah, I need you to set that for me. That's gonna help me. So that's where we're at. Because we talk like we've normalized like, six 810 hours of screen time a day, it makes us all feel gross. Like, it's just like, oh, like, you don't want that. And so as a junior in high school, I want him to be aware, and paying attention. And so I'm happy to put the limits on that makes me so happy. But again, it's like what's your Apple ID in case you forget the limits. So it's his Apple ID. So ultimately, he can turn it off. But we haven't set it up in a way that it's a power struggle or me forcing anything. We've really set it up to be supportive for him so that he can meet his goals.
Titania Jordan 34:08
That's wonderful. Yeah, I works. I've set up Apple family sharing and marked my son as a five year old just because I wanted to be able to have full control over all the things but really where I exercise the most control, and he's okay with it is he has to send me a request before he wants to download an app for two reasons. One is, you know, I just don't want charges randomly racking up, because that happens quickly. You know, 199 here, 99 cents there for nine on here all of a sudden, $500 in a month, and you're like nauseous. So put a kibosh on that. But then also, I want to know, I want to know what he wants to download is, you know, why do you need a calculator app because there's already one on your phone? You know, because calculator apps can serve as vault apps to store photos and files and that sort of thing and you plug in a code on the calculator to unlock The Vault. So, yeah, I want to know so fancy, it is fancy, you know, or just what he's interested in, you know, like he wanted to download this fantasy football thing. And I'm like, that's so cool. I'm glad you're into that, you know, makes no sense to me. But great, you're having fun with your friends. Cool. So that's what I primarily use Apple screentime features for is the ability to approve or deny the downloading of apps, I really don't lean into setting time limits, because he's going to navigate them, circumnavigate them, you know, kids can go in and change the timezone to mess things up. They can also just request more time, request more time requests more time, needed. There's a lot of tips and tricks that I'm sure kids would want to know that I'm not going to put out there. But kids can get around it. So I'm not going to bother. I've also tried to implement some filters. And like I really would like to avoid, you know, and yeah, really, really mature content. But again, like, I don't put a great deal of faith in that filter on the iPhone, because there's so many ways to access that content. There's no way Apple can really protect him there.
Casey O'Roarty 36:08
Yeah, well, and funny enough. Last year, my son, my kids have been on the podcast a couple times in the last seven years. And Ian came on last spring. And he told me that he for a while, had a secret phone that I didn't even know about. Oh, yeah. Like you did not. I said, You're making that up. He's like, No, I did. But it was he goes, but it was so stressful, worrying about you finding out that I finally just had to get rid of I was like, perfect, exactly what I want to hear, thank you for doing my job. But there was a period of time where he kind of felt into it, and like, you know, was living that edge, which by the way, you know, phone screens coupled with like typical developing teen brains. novelty seeking is a strong piece of this period of development. And, you know, the phones really offer a lot of opportunity for that dopamine hit.
Titania Jordan 37:02
All right, 100%, you know, there's, oh, gosh, just that one little thing you said it opens up so many wheels in my head that are spinning right now, whether it's about age appropriate sexual curiosity, or just what screens and that dopamine hit could do to you in terms of addiction, also, just around like mental health and physiology. Going back to screen time. If any one of us you mean, a child is sedentary, sitting still for more than two hours at a time. Like that's not good for our bodies, right? We need to move. And so having those conversations with your children about how we need to control the tech, and the tech does not need to control us, right is a very important narrative, which, you know, you had just touched on speaking about how your son wanted you to put some limits in place, we need to be in control.
Casey O'Roarty 37:55
Yeah. And by the way, my older child wouldn't let me near her phone. And it was a total, like, somehow it worked out with my son, but my daughter was just like, oh, no, you know, don't touch it. You don't need to talk about it. I'm not gonna show you. And that was really like, ah, anyway. So yeah. And I feel like what you just said to that I appreciate is and what I try to support parents around is when you're having a screentime conversation, one, like notice when it's become a power struggle and drop the rope, right? And come at it from a health and well being like, this is about health and well being. This isn't about me controlling you. So now coming back to that, and I'm looking at the time, Gosh, darn it, like time is going so fast. So older teens, right, older teens that have lived through this pandemic, they had their phone before the pandemic, then the pandemic happened, and then everybody's feeling terrible for the teens as we should. And, you know, one of the things we do is like, loosen things up. And so perhaps things have loosened up to a point now where there's, it's just a free for all, and we can see the damage that's being done. What are some suggestions that you have for parents of older teens? 1617? I mean, I feel like once they're 18, like the ship has sailed. I don't know that feels kind of wonky, but maybe depending on your family structure and your family system, and who owns the device, and do they live at home?
Titania Jordan 39:21
You know, here's the thing. Yeah, tell me before I became a parent, I was the best nanny. I'd say world's best nanny. And I thought I knew all the things about parenting, and I thought it was gonna be a breeze. Yeah. And turns out it was not that way.
Casey O'Roarty 39:37
I was a teacher before I became a parent, I had a very similar narrative.
Titania Jordan 39:41
Yeah. And so now that my son's almost 14, huge asterisk before any advice I give to any parent of a child of a parent of a child older than that, right, because I have not lived your life yet. Yeah, thank you. But what I will say is that I do have access to a great deal of anonymized data of just how often then children up to age 17 experience a variety of really serious issues. And based on that data, I would say that it is never too late to have open, honest, candid conversations with your children, that above everything else, if they know that they are loved, no matter what, and that you are a safe place for them, you will be much better suited than to have any sort of heavy handed, shame based fear based dynamic. I will say that helicopter parenting is a problem as a recovering helicopter parent, it's really problematic. I will say that it is much better for you to help your child figure out how to navigate the rocky path that is tween teen and adult life. Yeah. Yeah, than to just remove every boulder from their path, you know, keep the blinders on and just G rated for life until they're 18. Right, right. Right, right. Yeah, I don't recommend it.
Casey O'Roarty 41:04
Right. Right. I love that, right? Because it is a different conversation with a 17 year old than it is with a 13 year old or a 12 year old or a 14 year olds absolutely should be
Titania Jordan 41:14
an ask them for advice, you know, be like, This is what it was like when I was 17. This is what my friends are doing. Here are the bad choices I made here. The good choices I made. Here's the dynamic here was pop culture. Here was what I knew about and here are the things I didn't know about until I was older. What's it like for you now? What's it like to be a 17 year old now? I have learned so much from my son. I mean, goodness gracious, he's way smarter than I wasn't that age, just because he has access to Google? Yeah, you know, I had to go to a library,
Casey O'Roarty 41:44
ah, the encyclopedia, roof so long, so big. So I'm thinking about particular clients of mine. And because the struggle has lasted so long, the screen has become kind of this, like, really tainted topic of like, even to bring it up to their kids. It feels like shut down, not going there. So one of the things that I and I'd love your feedback on this, one of the things that I try to support parents with is, you know, owning the fact that this thing, right, this thing has molding up my phone has become a source of so much pain and suffering and contention and conflict and fighting, and own our part in that. Right. Like, I haven't done a great job.
Titania Jordan 42:32
Absolutely. You know, a great analogy for this is the car, the smartphone and the Internet, social media, whatever. It's a tool. It's not inherently evil or good. It's a tool. And like when cars first came out, people were getting killed, because there were no seatbelts. There were no law because they were driving drunk. Like, you know, there were a lot of problems that came up because of cars. But cars weren't necessarily bad. They were an innovation. And so we had to take a step back, we had to enable some more safety measures and make safer cars, it makes it for laws in Mexico, it's the same thing with the phone. And so using those analogies of past historical technological innovations can maybe help you know, set that framework and we're not always going to make good choices. I mean, how many times have we, you know, looked at our phones while we're driving? Combine the two tools, you know, it's hard, it is not easy, but you do the best you can you give yourself some grace, and you communicate with that with your children of like, look, nobody's perfect, but you have to do better. And you have to try your hardest. And we're here for you whenever you make mistakes.
Casey O'Roarty 43:40
Yeah, and I think kind of the dynamic of sitting side by side versus like, across from each other energetically and this is this thing in the middle of this phone that we've got to figure out sitting side by side and considering for our older teens, like what are your goals? Like what do you want? What are you looking forward to in your life? What makes you happy? And is this device supporting that or getting in the way of that and what are some things like I love the collaborative process of this but first you got to dismantle the power struggle like I'm not gonna pretend that this and listeners just go and you know, spark up this conversation because for some of the families that I work with it is like a no start conversation right and so hopefully that owning your part in it owning maybe where your mistakes as far as your responsibility as the parent we're lacking like on that be vulnerable, be honest, be light, laugh at yourself, right like lighten it up that no hate that opening. Yeah, yes.
Titania Jordan 44:42
You know, it is never a bad thing to try to put yourself in someone else's shoes really gives you a great deal of perspective. So you know, if your child is bristling at the thought of like you being in their phone, well how would you feel if your child went into your phone, like right now if my son was like, give me your phone right now. Don't Do anything no cause anything, just give me your phone? I would be like, oh, oh, you know,
Casey O'Roarty 45:05
what's on there? Right? I am good. I think I'm good.
Titania Jordan 45:09
I think settled. I have some wacky friends send me wacky things, you know, I'm good for them. But maybe my kid doesn't need to see them. And so yeah, just think about it that way. And if you really want to do play that game be like, here, I'm an open book. Here's my phone, look at my browser history. Look at my DMs, like, you know, I'm just saying it's an interesting shift of power and dynamics. Yeah.
Casey O'Roarty 45:32
Well, I have a question for you. Because the lovely thing about bar like, I feel like about bark, which I'm not an expert, and I haven't really been deep dive too much. It's mostly what I hear from other parents. So I'll be transparent around that. But also, like when I think about in our district, they use an thing called skyward where you can get all the information about your kids school situation, right, the portal, the parent portal, like on some level, I know, there's so much available on bark, as far as the information you can attain around what your kids are doing. Do we need to know everything? Like what about, you know, I think about being a teen myself, granted, I was out in the physical world, doing things that my parents didn't know about, much of which they found out about, and I was grounded for, but like, on some level, there is that teenage experience where it is I'm gonna get into some mischief. And it's mine. And it's not for my parents. And I can see even as I'm saying that out loud. Okay, great. But what about when that goes to a scary place? Like, talk to me about just the whole idea of like, Do you believe in over monitoring? Like, is that something you can see could be problematic? Or what are your thoughts on that?
Titania Jordan 46:42
Yeah, so I don't believe in over monitoring, I think our parents were probably very fortunate to not know certain things that we were up to. And it really depends on your child's age, and stage and mental health. If you are worried about your child, if they're struggling with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorder issues, if their friend group has changed, if their sleeping habits are different, if their grades are different, there's so many things that, you know, can give you a little bit of a warning signal that if that's happening, chances are you will have more information embedded in their digital signal. And if you are worried about their physical or mental health, don't worry about doing that digging to help uncover what's happening there. Your child needs you. Yeah. If your kids good, if they're not good, meaning like good, bad, but like if they're solid, yeah, level, grades are good. They're happy eating sleeping. Well, sometimes it might be good to turn a blind eye to things that you you're like, Hmm, I know that. But I'm not going to talk to him about that. Yeah. Because there's really nothing good that can come from that, besides introducing friction, you really have to evaluate the like, what will be the outcome of this? You know, if I go to my son, and say, Hey, I got a bark alert for profanity, because I haven't adjusted my sensitivity settings for that sort of alert, since you were like nine. So I'm still getting a lot of profanity. And yeah, it's in his fantasy football chat with his friends. And that's just how they talk to you. I wanted to talk to you, I do want to talk like that. No, but does use those words in front of his grandmother. Also, no, and I'm okay with that. So it's like it's a balance, you know, what Hill are you going to die on what state you're going to put in the ground? What's important to you, I care that he is okay with his mental health, and that he treats others with respect, and others treat him with respect. Everything else. I'm not going to make an issue. You have to pick and choose your battles. And parents can absolutely over monitor their children. And you got to think about are you want
Casey O'Roarty 48:45
to sleep at night? Do you want to sleep at night? Your sleep at night? Turn down that sensitivity monitor? Yes. The answer is yes. I'd like to sleep,
Titania Jordan 48:53
dial it back a little bit. You don't need to be all up in their business. And are you creating a home environment in which it's one they will want to come back to when they no longer have to? Yeah, or you creating a home environment that they cannot wait to leave when they legally can and they are not coming back? Because that's on you.
Casey O'Roarty 49:09
Oh, I love that. I love that. And I also appreciate, you know, we don't need to be digging. Well, and I also what you said about the monitoring for profanity, like your son's aware that this is on his phone. Yes. Right. And I think that's really important for parents to remember to choose into, like a monitoring system, like bark is, like just being really, you know, it is probably useful for kids to know like, Oh, I better not do this thing because mom's gonna get an alert. Or they're just in the impulsivity of their brain and they do it anyway. And it's like, Hey, I have a friend who actually is I think a rep for you guys. I don't know exactly how she's connected to you. But she talks about how useful it is because her kids will come to her and say, Okay, you're gonna get an alert about this thing. Yeah. So that's awesome. Yeah,
Titania Jordan 49:56
I love that proactive communication that open like so. Safe Place. But yeah, I'm like, you wear a seatbelt in the car. We have a carbon monoxide detector in our home. There's bark on our devices and accounts because there's bad people out there and bad things happen to good people. And I gotta keep you safe.
Casey O'Roarty 50:13
Yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh, so many things. As we wrap up like, what have we missed? What else do you want to make sure that you leave parents with? Before we wrap up today? To Tanya,
Titania Jordan 50:24
I want to leave parents with one a free documentary. If you have not seen the documentary, childhood to Dotto, go watch it Google childhood to Dotto, it's not free on YouTube and a few other places where you stream movies, not Netflix. It's not there yet, but if you work for Netflix, holler at me, love to get it there. Let's make it happen. Yeah, but it's been viewed over 3 million times. And it's an incredibly powerful documentary about what kids are going through today. You hear from them, you know, it's one thing to hear it from me. You hear it from them. Very powerful film, go watch it. The second thing is that please don't live in that denial space of Not My Kid. It absolutely could be your kid. It's my kid. Good kids make bad choices. their frontal lobes of their brains are not fully formed until they're in their early 20s. And so if you think you've everything, think again, and start having those difficult conversations yesterday.
Casey O'Roarty 51:25
Yes. Thank you so much. My final question that I asked everybody is What does joyful courage mean to you inside of this context of just parenting in the digital age?
Titania Jordan 51:36
Ah, joyful courage. So I read the book, radical candor a few years ago, and it changed my world as a total people pleaser. And I think it can be very helpful in the world of parenting as well. You know, being radically candid with your kids, you know what they know you love them, but they also know you're gonna shoot them straight, is a very powerful tool, and being just like we said, more candid with them.
Casey O'Roarty 52:02
I love that that definitely aligns with joyful courage. Aw, thanks so much for hanging out with me. This was such a useful conversation, and I'm so excited that I get to share it with parents. Thank you.
Titania Jordan 52:14
Thank you for having me. You're awesome. Thank you for all the joyful courage you put out into the world.
Casey O'Roarty 52:26
The joyful courage podcast is edited by Chris Mann at pod shaper. Big thanks to him and his team for making the show sound so good each and every week, and all the love to the team at Sproutable Alana and Julieta. As well as Danielle, thank you for all your support in the work that we do. If you're looking for more info about classes and programs we offer or want to join our mailing list, head over to be sproutable.com. If you love today's show, please leave us a five star review on Apple podcasts. Your review prompts Apple to suggest the show to others. If that's too much work for you just snap a screenshot of the show and share it on your social media accounts. Join us in our mission to support as many families as we can. All the love to you my friend and my listeners. See you Thursday for a brand new solo show. And in the meantime, drink lots of water. Get outside move your body and trust that everything's gonna be okay.