Raising Resilient Children

Digital Safety and Children with Paul Davis

August 18, 2022 Tara Gratto M.S.Ed, MA, OCT Season 1 Episode 9
Raising Resilient Children
Digital Safety and Children with Paul Davis
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I'm talking to Paul Davis, a Social Media and Cyberbullying Educator about keeping our children safe online and in the digital world.

Our conversation focusses on 4 main topics:

1) Sharing Pictures

We tackle some important thoughts to consider when posting pictures of children on-line. Paul outlines a strategy for sharing pictures in a way that will protect your child's on-line privacy.

2) Using Platforms like YouTube

Paul shares his three pillars for online safety when it comes to elementary school kids to help guide you with supporting your child.

3) Cell Phones

We talk about Paul's recommended age, strategies for what to do in the mean time and alternatives to smart phones!

4) Privacy and Individuality

Paul shares his thoughts on choices around privacy and safety and what parents need to consider to keep their children safe.

Where to find Paul:

Presentations for Students, Educators, Parents & Law Enforcement.

Paul Davis - www.socialnetworkingsafety.net

Twitter: @pauldavisSNS

Web: www.socialnetworkingsafety.net

Instagram: @followpauldavis

Newsletter sign up: https://mailchi.mp/9753d54aaa82/pdnewsletter

For more information on how to connect with me you can email me at info@taragratto.ca or follow me on Instagram at Raising Resilient Children
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This podcast is produced, mixed and edited by Cardinal Studio.

For more information about how to start your own podcast visit their website or email mike@cardinalstudio.co.

Tara Gratto:

Hello and welcome. I'm Tara, the founder of Raising Resilient Children, where I support parents and educators with tools and skills for feelings, kindness, and everyday mental well being also known as social emotional skills and empathy. As a longtime educator, former preschool owner and parent, I know that there is no cookie cutter approach to raising children and information can be overwhelming. Let's tackle some of this by having some important conversations and digging into some different topics. Hello, today's episode, I'm going to be talking to Paul Davis about keeping our children and ourselves safe online. We're going to delve into talking about sharing pictures and how we can do that, in safe ways. We're going to tackle YouTube when to introduce it and want to consider when we do. When to bring in cell phones into our children's life. And finally, a little chat about privacy. I'm really excited to be having this conversation. And I'm going to turn it over to Paul.

Paul Davis:

Hi, my name is Paul Davis. I've been in information technology and cyber for the past 31 years of my life. 11 years ago, at my daughter's school. Sorry, almost 12 years ago now, at my daughter's school, the principal asked me why kids are getting in trouble using technology. I said because parents give their kids too much technology at a young age and they're completely clueless as to what they are doing online.

Tara Gratto:

Yes,

Paul Davis:

He asked me as a favor to speak to the kids, I agreed. Little did I know that that day that one small favor would literally change my life for ever. I've now had the pleasure of speaking in person to 648,000 students in five provinces in five states 95,000, virtually along with law enforcement across this country. You know, the highlight of my day, every day, I get an opportunity to speak to kids. And so normally I walk into a school and I'll speak to grade four or five sixes. I'll take a break. I'll speak the grade sevens, eights, I'll take a break, I'll come back and speak to parents in the evening and speak to them or if it's high school. It's a high school version. And then parents, so usually two in one day, but the elementary school is probably the one where we have the most impact because we're getting the kids at the younger age. And we're getting parents involved, because let's just be honest, a lot of high school parents have thrown up their hands. And have said, All right, this is your business, high school teachers and principals, they're your responsibility. Well, the reality is, we need to coach them throughout our lives. But if I can get to them at a young age, it's amazing. And so that's basically how it all started. And I guess we got connected today.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah, amazing. Thank you. So it's one of the

Paul Davis:

My pleasure. reasons that I wanted to have this conversation is because I

Tara Gratto:

So when I was thinking about what topics love your approach. As a longtime educator, I've worked in education for over 20 years. So I know the whole like K to because I have like so many questions that I would love to 12. And one of the things that I do in my current role is I help empower parents with information. Because as you just said, we do things without thinking or knowing. And I think one of the things that I try to help parents sort of dial in on ask you. One of the things that came up to me because it's something that comes up in my work quite a bit. So I work with is here's some really important information from an expert, that seven and under and work with eight plus, so I kind of have a two zone area. And it's interesting, I used to own a preschool before the pandemic. So I worked with very young you can then make parenting decisions based on. Sort of, children. And I use I made a conscious decision that I would never use my children as a part of my marketing. I said that because one of the things I do in my work is I end up sort of their pictures, were never going to be a part of it. And it actually stems from when I before I went to teachers college, I actually lived in residence with 54 teenage girls. when we're we've gone that step too far. And how do we scale it And that was such an interesting experience. Because I learned a few things. One of the things I learned was, it's important to watch the shows your kids are watching. It's important to read the books that are they're reading, listen to the music they're listening to. I also learned that they have a really back? So one of the reasons I wanted to have this conversation different perspective of the world as teens than they did as kids. So kids are hardwired to please please their parents, right. And so a lot of people who like kids tell me it's okay is to be like, Hey, here's some things to think about before you for me to share their pictures. And I have a very different perspective on that because I'm like, you know what young children will do a lot of things to agree with their parents, because they want to make their parents happy. And we all sort go too far or before you go down that path. Or maybe you've of want those likes and whatever, right? Whereas those teenagers had a very different perspective of who they wanted to be. And I thought a lot about this. I mean, this is when already headed down that path, and how can we take a couple of Facebook only existed for those teenagers, like, the rest of the world couldn't use it, only college and high school students could use it. And I thought, when I opened my business, my steps back. So I think in a lot of cases, it's not knowing is preschool and I had my own children, I was like, You know what, I don't want my blueprint of my children to be my business. I want them to have their own thing. So I want to what lends parents into sort of these murky waters. So it was talk to you a bit about we live in a world where I mean, I did it at first too I was like, I really want my parents who lived overseas to see the kids. I want aunts and uncles to see the kids. When what is the safe space to share pictures of young one of the reasons I wanted to chat with you today. So thank children? And what does that look like? And can we do it safely or not? So from your perspective, you say, what's it you for being here. I really appreciate it. called? And what does it mean to share parent sort of share these pictures of young children?

Paul Davis:

The topic is called Sharenting. It's basically parents who overshare pictures of their children, because they seek the approval and the likes, and the acknowledgement and the accolades of their children. And, you know, we can go down a path where this will sound like a very judgy podcast, it's not.

Tara Gratto:

Right

Paul Davis:

We make choices in life, I could have made the choice of incorporating my daughters into everything. And believe it or not a marketing expert, many years ago, said, Paul, you would gather such a different audience. And I said, that's fantastic. The privacy of my kids is of what's important to me.

Tara Gratto:

Yeap

Paul Davis:

I don't care about likes. I don't care about the comments and the all, Paul, that's amazing. And congratulations. I don't care.

Tara Gratto:

Right Right I really don't. That's Paul Davis. Now, will my wife have a

Paul Davis:

that a lot of my family members cringe by but different perspective? Well, number one, she has a private they'll follow is never communicate what you're doing in account. Number two real human friends. And number three, real time. So I have a saying, I live by tell the world where doesn't over post. And so a lot of the pictures have actually been approved by our daughters. In fact, they're at the point where they'll say, Mom, that picture is ours. It doesn't get you've been, what you've done, not where you're going, what shared. And she respects that, believe it or not, even though she's married to me and doing what I've been doing forever. It's difficult and it's difficult for I'll be let's just you're doing, get personal my mother and it's difficult for some my family because they just don't see it the way I do. And again, not judging, but there are rules. You know, one of the rules

Tara Gratto:

Right

Paul Davis:

when you come back from that vacation or that tournament, upload some pictures, but in the moment, just take the pictures and enjoy the moment. And when you come back, take a few select pictures, not all 1000 them, upload them with a few comments. And that's great. The thing is, we've fallen to a habit. And it is a habit which we can easily break, which is we do seek that approval, we do seek that. Oh, please tell me how great my child is because they graduated with honors. Okay, that's your choice.

Tara Gratto:

Right

Paul Davis:

But here's the thing. A lot of your kids don't want that. Because I see unlike parents who will just get one or two answers from kids. Oh he's wrong. No, no, I'm actually right. Because I've interviewed 1000s upon 1000s of kids.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah,

Paul Davis:

I will even ask, and you may not believe this, but by the witnesses of teachers and principals. I even asked me for five sixes I say how many of you feel it would be fair, that your parents asked you permission before they posted that picture and 75 plus percent of kids raised their hand saying, Yeah, I want them to talk to me about it. So parents don't think that it's okay. Or that your kids want it. They actually want you to talk to them about it. Because I ask the questions people are afraid to ask, why? Because they think it's going to be politically incorrect. Or it's going to start a conversation. No, no, these are conversations we must have.

Tara Gratto:

Right

Paul Davis:

So having said that, yes. They want you to have conversations with them about the pictures before you post them. Some of them find them embarrassing. You think they're cute. And you know what, you're right. They probably are cute, they find them embarrassing.

Tara Gratto:

Right

Paul Davis:

Or they could be a picture that's specifically for your family, but you want to share with the world and they just want it for the family. And there's this thing called a scrapbook, which I know this actually blew me away. Then now that I've said it my eldest daughter recently bought a scrapbook. And it came in Amazon. I said, What's that for? She said, Well, I'm putting something with my boyfriend. I said, you're putting a scrapbook together for your boyfriend. Like, okay, you've been listening to me all this this.

Tara Gratto:

YAY!

Paul Davis:

They're gonna be memories in that scrapbook, which are not digital.

Tara Gratto:

Right?

Paul Davis:

It's only made for her boyfriend and maybe it'll be shared with his parents.

Tara Gratto:

Right,

Paul Davis:

fantastic. So let's talk about sharenting I'm 100% Okay, with sharing pictures of the kids, you know, during the pandemic Those pictures on Facebook in a private account with real human friends with all the privacy settings at the extreme, have really kept us together. And I think it's okay. But we have to limit what we post, and we have to have some strategies. So number one, your account must be private. And don't assume it's private, every three months. If you're a Facebook user, make sure account is private, this probably takes about eight to 10 minutes to properly secure an account if you go through all the steps. If you're on Instagram that takes 10 seconds, but make sure it's private. Now remember, when you're sharing that Facebook and Instagram are owned by a company called Meta, meta. So remember that what you're giving away is retained by one organization. All right, so we've gone through the privacy piece, we want to share some photos. All right, step number two, are those your real human friends, people, you know, you've grown up with you work with and you call them now friends versus colleagues? Because I wouldn't put colleagues on my personal Facebook page.And when the answer is, yes, are their accounts as private as your accounts because if you have a friend with 10,000 followers, that's not really a private account. And anyways, just the whole privacy thing is important. Now, when you upload photos, there's a very, very specific strategy I encourage parents to take. And this goes to the point that I made, which is just stop uploading photos in the moment, take your time,

Tara Gratto:

right,

Paul Davis:

upload them later on. And when you upload them later on, you'll select the photos that you like. And then you'll do two things. Number one, you will take a screenshot of that photo, keep the original. And now the screenshot does not contain time day location of the photo otherwise known as geotagging.

Tara Gratto:

Right.

Paul Davis:

And then you will take that screenshot version and you will reduce it to a resolution of 620 by 460. Because any picture for 460 Sorry, 640 by 480 or greater is a perfectly crystal clear four by six, at a Walmart or Costco,

Tara Gratto:

right,

Paul Davis:

and then that can be scanned and blown up and made into a perfectly crystal clear poster. So you want to upload the photo at 620 by four sorry, 640 by 4620 by 460. The math that was now when you boost the photo, just by that much any picture cannot be reproduced, they'll be pixelated. So if someone prints at, the Costco, it's going to be pixelated so they can't do anything that photo. But when you upload it to social media looks amazing. Because to the naked eye on the screen,

Tara Gratto:

it's fine

Paul Davis:

it's perfectly clear so carefully. So now what have you done, you haven't gone from your emotions to your

Tara Gratto:

Yes

Paul Davis:

It's not simple. But if you care about privacy, fingertips. You've selected a few photos you want to upload and share. You've reduced the privacy component because you removed the time day location, which is embedded photos, and yes, social media comes I've told you they strip that I trust ultimately, as far as I can go them. So do that. And then you've reduced the ability. You've removed the ability I should say, to have that photo reproduced and misused. So now we're taking this approach where we're not going from our emotion to our fingertips. We're selecting the photos that the family has approved, we've improved improve the privacy, our accounts are great. Go ahead and share that photo and you're saying, but that's a lot of work. Yes, privacy takes work. you'll follow those steps that you know another personal story just sat no Sunday took my wife to salsa fest. And we just it was a spontaneous let's go for a drive. And I took her there and we're walking places crowded and she's taking pictures. And I looked there and I could see that she clicked on Instagram. Really? She gave me that look, I said put it away, please, for me. She was so excited about taking pictures that we were at salsa fest. Yes. We got to the car said now that our goal he wants to do the versus now so that I know. I know. And I keep getting the I knows. But it's just this is instinctive thing that

Tara Gratto:

it's so tempting.

Paul Davis:

Yeah, we gotta let anyone know. no, in fact, I'm sure you know, I don't know when

Tara Gratto:

Yeah, this will be posted out there. But this happened yesterday. Right? I still haven't posted my picture. I might post a picture on Twitter saying, hey, took my wife out on a date to salsa fest. We had a great time. But I didn't have a need to do it yesterday. I was living in the moment. Right? So take that time for many reasons. And it'll be your new habit because right now you're in the habit of letting the world where you are in real time. And that does pose a lot of security risks. I have story after story of how I can petrify people on an island on vacation, let them know where they live because of what they've done just by simply asking their name. Right? It's also exhausting, just from like daily behavior like, it's exhausting to try and be putting on a show all the time. Like when you really stop and think about it, you're, you're like living a show, and having that pause for reflection. So one things I appreciate about this strategy is, you're not saying no, you can't do it. You're not saying don't do it, you're saying, Here's a safer way to do this,

Paul Davis:

right,

Tara Gratto:

that will protect you. And I love it. Because parents, we're always sort of looking for, you know, an external feedback, because we live in a world of like, are we doing this? Right, right? Am I getting this right? Am I doing a good job? Are my kids happy? I want everybody to see and validate that, right? We've sort of in a society where we really need external validation. And one of the things I teach is like, how do we get away from that? How do we do like 50% of each because we do need external validation, we do need to feel good about ourselves. But we also need to not have other people tell us that right? So how do we move away from that? So I love this idea of like, do it, just don't do it in the moment. I also love what that teaches your children, right? So if you have, I believe in teaching kids as we go, even young ones, it's like I'm taking these pictures now. But I'm not going to post them. This is how I'm going to post them. So my kids are middle grade age, this would be a great conversation, because we talk a lot about what you can and can't share even within our family, like, whatapp not whatapp at face time or whatever. And this is a great conversation of like, it doesn't have to be live, you can do these pieces. I love that. So

Paul Davis:

if you know what the approaches, it's the approach of when you used to have a camera where you took pictures, and you had to get

Tara Gratto:

you had to wait.

Paul Davis:

That's the whole purpose, pretend you are going to the Walmart and they you drop off that little roll and you pick it up in a week.

Tara Gratto:

Right.

Paul Davis:

That whole strategy. In fact, there was an app created believe, and I don't know how successful it is. But there was an app created where it let you take pictures. But you couldn't see them for two or three days after the fact. I think that strategy is amazing. And you said earlier, it's like a show, you know what one of my messages to parents is I stopped believing that you are a reality TV show.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah,

Paul Davis:

you're not you're just a human being. And I know some people take offense to this, but it's just true. Not everyone cares what you're doing in real time. I'm sorry to break it to no one cares. Some people do. But the reality they could you could wait make those better choices. And you'll still get the same comments, you'll still get Yeah, and you right we don't need all that external validation.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah, but social media tells us we do like that's the truth in it. And small business owners like myself, like we're constantly told, A I've been told like you, you need to use pictures of your kids. I don't use pictures of kids in general, actually, none of my content has children at all. Even stock photos. I just, I really believe in the privacy of children. It's really important to me, but I hear it constantly. And I hear about showing up all the time, and people won't know who you are, if you don't share. And I think we have to think about well, who do we need to know who we are, right? Who isthat?

Paul Davis:

My my business I like I said I was guarded years ago by someone said, Paul, you know, you've got this thing going, your kids can mean a ton. I said, that's fantastic.

Tara Gratto:

yeah me too

Paul Davis:

My kids have no business in my delivery. Everyone knows I have two daughters. Everyone knows how they grew up with rules in the house. So people know of that, for me to post pictures and to gain an extra 2000 followers and put the privacy compromising, you know what I choose not to? And I know that some businesses will overuse pictures of their kids. And you know, the one and I'm not judging. My one question is, later on as they mature. And they have a different view in life. Because right now you're skewing the review. Yeah, remember that

Tara Gratto:

it's a relationship dynamic,

Paul Davis:

right. And that case, right over here, it hasn't developed until you're 25?

Tara Gratto:

Yeah. I tell people that all the time. Like, they're like, What is this gonna happen? I'm like, you're gonna like the number I tell you.

Paul Davis:

And what happens then when they look back and say, You know what, Mom, I really helped your business. But right now it's hurting my business in my life and my practice

Tara Gratto:

100% Yeah,

Paul Davis:

I don't think they're thinking that far ahead. So yeah, I'm all for positive use of social media. I'm all for connecting with each other around the world to make sure that our families are in sync in one capacity or another pandemic, no pandemic

Tara Gratto:

for sure

Paul Davis:

Do it in a private way, in a responsible way, in an engaging way with your kids. We've got no issues. But I'll go back to what the reason this is all happening. It is a habit. But the good news is we can break the habit.

Tara Gratto:

Yes. Yeah. takes consistency and practice.

Paul Davis:

Yeah.

Tara Gratto:

Awesome. All right. I have another question for you that gets asked to me regularly. So this this exploded during the pandemic for obvious reasons, right. I talk in my work a lot about how marketing impacts your ability to turn things off and how things like YouTube even with really young children are getting them into the marketing mindset right? Go ask your parents to subscribe. Go ask your parent to follow right as young as like like two year olds are getting this inundation of marketing lingo thrown at them. So one of the questions I get asked is what? What's the right age to allow things like YouTube? What's the right age to? What kind of tech should? And shouldn't kids be exposed to sort of under seven over seven? And how do I keep them safe? So if I want to put on a show for them on YouTube, is that a safe choice or not? So those are kinds of questions that I field pretty regularly and I tackle them from like, well, here's the marketing, but I'd love to hear from the safety perspective, what else is involved?

Paul Davis:

I have three pillars for online safety when it comes to elementary school kids. Number one, there will be absolutely no technology in your bedroom period. Computers, iPods, iPads, tablets do not belong in your bedroom at home. Number two, no social media until the age of 13. The Terms of Service required and that is a whole different podcast story conversation.

Tara Gratto:

Yes, that's a big one.

Paul Davis:

While your child should not be on social media until at least 13. Number three, no smartphones until middle 10 To grade eight and parents have a very difficult time with the word no, because they are fearful of how their child will respond upon being told the word no and parents, you're not your child's friend Learn to say no in the world. I live in the cyber world when I do presentations to corporations. When I tell them on slide number two, the word no and do not are the most positive things you will hear today is that when you go against those that guidance I should say is when you will be paying so much more money to fix the problems that I could have prevented because you chose not to listen so we have a hard time with saying no

Tara Gratto:

yes we do

Paul Davis:

but no is a positive.

Tara Gratto:

The episode will continue after this short ad. Are you tired of losing your cool even when you are trying your hardest not to wish you could find a way to stop second guessing your decisions in tricky moments and want to do something about the cycle of guilt and apologies you keep finding yourself in enroll in my free on demand workshop. Why Do I Lose my Cool, Even When I'm Trying my Hardest Not t?. You will learn what social emotional skills are and how they will make your daily parenting easier. You will see how the stress cycle is connected to tricky moments for you and your child. And you'll leave the workshop with a clear action plan for losing your cool less. As a former preschool owner, longtime educator and social emotional expert, I created this workshop to support parents who are trying their best to validate feelings, who are working hard to be patient and understanding and are still hitting a wall. Head to Taragratto.ca backslash cool to enroll today and get ready to lose your cool less while handling your parenting challenges with confidence. And now back to the show. Yeah.

Paul Davis:

having said that, you don't have to worry about any of this stuff. If you just listen to the three pillars because your child will not be inundated with like and subscribe because they're not 13. YouTube, there's a product called YouTube kids. It's not the best product in the world. It's the best available product in the world.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah

Paul Davis:

made by YouTube owned by Google. Any child 10 years of age and under should only be watching videos through YouTube kids now when they are 10,11,12. And they're saying, Hey, Mom, I'm really bored of this. I want youtube.com which is a rabbit hole. There is no software that restricts what can be seen absolutely none, actually. So you will have to watch it in an area in their home. Like for example, YouTube now has apps for smart TVs, as well, perhaps your child be watching YouTube on a smart TV while you are doing your work

Tara Gratto:

making dinner

Paul Davis:

yeap, whatever. Right? You see, you're listening, you're hearing your guide, versus headphones by themselves in their bedroom by themselves or the door close just don't have to stop. So YouTube can be amazing. It can also be detrimental, right? So it's how parent and a lot of what I talked about is a parental investment of time, which we seem to want to relinquish and allow technology to babysit our kids when the reality is. Technology can be amazing when we are guiding them. we've given our give our kids two gifts in life,

Tara Gratto:

Yeah curiosity at birth. And then technology somewhere along the way. Well, if you allow their curiosity of technology in isolation by themselves with mobile connectivity, your kid is gonna get hurt. You, Mom and Dad, and parents and guardians have responsibilities to keep your child safe. It is yours, not Paul Davis, the educator, not your teacher, not your principal, not anybody else. But it's you. We are going to be your support mechanism. But it starts and it ends with parents at home. And so that's why the word no can benefit you tremendously, right? And then they won't be subjected to the hey, subscribe and like subscribe and like and how many likes did I get and how many followers that I get? Which you know, one of the things I tell kids is don't judge your selfworth by the number of likes. by someone else. Yeap.

Paul Davis:

And by the number of likes and number of followers you have you're much better And so when they when that is that is prolonged meaning. It's not given to them at a young age.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah.

Paul Davis:

Good now when they're the right age to kind of process it, and they've had the proper education, and they understand that my life is about my friends and my family, and my selfworth, they don't fall into those traps, but a lot have. And, again, parents think we'll be I'll be bashing. It's because of parenting, right and the lack of following some simple rules, and thinking this is the way it works in 2022, is we need likes, we need followers, and we absolutely don't

Tara Gratto:

Right, I think there's also like a really important piece. And this is some of the education that I do around impulse control. So young children have a really hard time not going down the rabbit hole, because they see the one thing that leads them to the other thing, and they don't always have the ability to say stop, even kids that are well grounded and have all the things and the great relationships with their parents. That it's like the the thing that keeps at them right, it's like stimulating their brain, and they're so excited about it. They're too far before they realize they're too far.

Paul Davis:

right

Tara Gratto:

And quite often those kids will feel guilty after when they've gone too far. And they they'll actually have a little bit of a guilt cycle. But they can't stop themselves. And that's where that, you know, relationship is so important, because they're not doing it on purpose. I think a lot of people like my kid ended up in this place. And it was to like, be defiant. And I explain that it's not about defiance, actually, it's just about willpower and a lack of willpower at their age and stage. So I think there's like that piece two, where it's like part of your journey being there's understanding that your child actually can't say no, or stop themselves in a lot of circumstances.

Paul Davis:

Right. And that's why going back to the three pillars,

Tara Gratto:

yeah,

Paul Davis:

you can avoid all that. Yes. But you have to learn to say no, because

Tara Gratto:

and be okay with the uncomfortable feelings. That's what I talked about it. So it's uncomfortable feelings with no.

Paul Davis:

Now what I have a tendency in saying is that if you say yes, the cost associated with that mental health and financially to fix what you said yes to at a young age, because you were guilted into giving them something at a young age, they made you feel bad about being the only kid without a phone.

Tara Gratto:

Yes.

Paul Davis:

Will be much more costly, not only financially versus saying no. And yes, you will have an upset child for a week or two get over it. Our parents said no to us, we were upset with them. We got over it. Right. So say no deal with the upset child for a couple of weeks. But then know that you made the right choice. Yeah. Moving forward.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah.

Paul Davis:

They're not the only one without a phone. They're not the only one with their social media. They're lying to you.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah. No for sure, it's leverage right?

Paul Davis:

And they know how to play parents,

Tara Gratto:

for sure. So good. Well, I mean, they know that, like, I'm coming, nobody likes uncomfortable feelings. And that's a big bulk of my work, because I help parents realize that the uncomfortable feelings is what we have to tackle be okay with saying no, be okay with putting really important boundaries, because that turns into like a cannon ball of of all kinds of tornado stuff. So get good at navigating the feelings, so that you can, you know, in this case, keep them safe, and all those kinds of things. So it was a great segue here, because this is like probably one of the biggest questions I get asked by seven, and eight year old parents, when they're starting to walk home. My kids need a cell phone, because now they're walking home and I'm very worried about their safety. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. And because you very clearly said Not till Middle School, and so these parents are very concerned. And you know, there's no more there's no more payphones, those things don't exist anymore and that

Paul Davis:

I must correct you they do exist.

Tara Gratto:

There's none in my neighbourhood because we've looked

Paul Davis:

so I challenge someone challenged me on the weekend I said go to Vaughan Mills, I can tell you with three pay phones are like okay, the shopping centers. Yeah, they're they're New York City recently took them all out of downtown. So they're going away, r

Tara Gratto:

ight?

Paul Davis:

But they still do exist. So just

Tara Gratto:

you have to have money yet?

Paul Davis:

You have to have twenty-five cents

Tara Gratto:

Like there's a lot of pieces that we we the kids don't have though, right? They have cards and things like that.

Paul Davis:

So alright, so the answer. People laugh at this buy flip phone. They're available on Amazon for about $75 They actually can have two SIM cards in them. That cost you $15 A month and a pay as you go plan. Lucky mobile is probably the most affordable one at $50 a month they dial 911 They make phone calls they text but it's painstaking. Remember how long it took to dial lol. So yes, a text. And here's the best part, no one will ever want to steal it from your child. So there's a bonus to having a flip phone. And when I do my presentations to kids, I say to my kids, I walk around with five phones.

Tara Gratto:

Oh wow.

Paul Davis:

Four smartphones once a phone but my flip phone really doesn't accompany me unless I travel outside the country and there's reasons for that. I don't get into it, but I actually show them my Motorola flip. I said this is the most secure device in the world right here and some kids are actually fascinated by saying really? Who's gonna hack this?

Tara Gratto:

right

Paul Davis:

So these four smartphones in the wrong situation can all be hacked. Except one, which is really kind of, but I said the average person, yes. But this phone over here, no way. No how. So I kept their whole privacy thinking going I kind of make flip phones cool. Now, let's say it is not cool,

Tara Gratto:

right

Paul Davis:

recommendation to parents. You buy them an old and I mean an old iPhone. I don't. I'm an Android user. I have an iPhone, of course with four smartphones, but an Android old ones can be quirky, but an old, you won't believe this, but an iPhone six or seven. Even now, maybe eights are now under $100. Okay, they work amazingly well. You can remove a lot of the functionality that could cause them to be distracted.

Tara Gratto:

Right?

Paul Davis:

So if you have an iPhone, and they have the old iPhone, that could be one of your old ones at home instead of want to buy a new or a used one

Tara Gratto:

in a drawer. The in the drawer phones

Paul Davis:

A lot of parents have them, right? Yeah. So it costs you nothing or under $100. Because iPhone will get lost, smashed, stolen, busted. That's gonna be a good life lesson, but you didn't cost you a lot. And because you're going to remove a lot of the functionality in it. That iPhone, which is now a smartphone can make a phone call, it can text easier texts. It does 911. And if you are so concerned about their whereabouts you can use Find My iPhone and give them a one gigabyte data plan. And those are about $25 a month, right? So you can have that peace of mind without buying them the iPhone 13 Pro Max goal 126 gigabytes, please stop that silliness. So they can have that.

Tara Gratto:

Right

Paul Davis:

Be less distracted, don't allow for Wi Fi connectivity, because that's where they get distracted, especially at school.

Tara Gratto:

In school. Yes.

Paul Davis:

And then there's your solution. But again, this is a lot of the fear that has been instilled in I need to know where my child is. Yeah. My daughter's walked just under a kilometer to and from school. And they never had their smartphones till end of grade eight. I have no idea how they succeeded. But they did. It's called street smarts.

Tara Gratto:

Yes.

Paul Davis:

You know, you and I did it. We had street smarts,

Tara Gratto:

for sure.

Paul Davis:

And I think I think a lot of the paranoia is around, you know, the creeper on the street. Well, we had more risks than our kids do today.

Tara Gratto:

Correct, yes

Paul Davis:

Because creepers aren't in that white van on the corner of the street anymore. creepers are online looking for your child on social media, figuring out where you live, where they go to school, and then how that's but

Tara Gratto:

right.

Paul Davis:

If they don't exist online, then your kid walking to school with their friends. You're fine. You're actually having having said that, you take one of those two strategies, put their phone in their backpack. So they're literally focused while they're walking, you know, their eyes up, not down. And you know, the other thing is, again, going to this whole safety mechanism. If you watch a lot of kids, and I do because I happen to be in schools when they're walking home, they're not even paying attention to the surroundings? Because their eyes are glued to the damn device?

Tara Gratto:

I've seen so many almost hit by cars.

Paul Davis:

endless, endless stories of those? Yeah. So to answer your question if they must flip phone or very, very old fourth or fifth generation old phone, right, like an iPhone six, seven, right? Under $100. They are amazing.

Tara Gratto:

Right? Yeah, I mean, one of the things that I say when I'm talking to parents is if you're thinking about a smartphone, and then I always refer them to you, and like if you don't follow Paul Davis, make sure you do. Because you might actually be introducing more risk by introducing a smartphone then teaching them sort of some strategies for getting home like all schools have phones, offices, for sure. So there's no payphones. There's definitely school office phones, and what are your risk? Like pulling out a phone is actually quite a bit of work versus running to a house that you know, is safe between here and your home. Like that's actually a safer strategy, right? Teach them which houses to go knock on the door for help. Versus here's this thing that we're introducing more risk with. So that's kind of one of the conversations I have to. It's like, what what skills can we teach in the absence of this? I mean, our self reliance on devices. I was okay on Friday, but I know a lot of people were really upset.

Paul Davis:

I was absolutely fine. But I took it to the next level. I drove my daughter to the subway. She was going to a concert which was canceled. Because of what happened

Tara Gratto:

I heard about the concert being cancelled last minute.

Paul Davis:

So here we are. It was oh, three o'clock. We're driving to the subway. This is a great story. I looked at her. I said, Why is her phone out? And she looked she says What do you mean? I said, You've got $1,000 product that's completely useless right now because I have her on that network. But yeah, with my four phones, I had one of the phones with two of the phones working actually because different networks. But as a family, we're on that network. Right? So you've got $1,000 device. It's completely useless to you right now.

Tara Gratto:

Not gonna help you.

Paul Davis:

She looked at me. She puts it in her purse. You go The next question was, how did you guys do it? That's a very good question. I think you forgot our conversation when you were younger because we're older. So but here's what we did. We picked up this thing called the phone, and we all respected each other by saying, Hey, we're gonna meet at the subway at three o'clock.

Tara Gratto:

Yes.

Paul Davis:

And one way or another, we got to the subway. We had our parents drive us. We had to take maybe a streetcar or a bus and we got and we all met at three o'clock. And then we got together. We already planned what we were going to do not because we researched on the internet, but because we read newspapers, we had a map we where we go, and we had everything laid out. And yeah, we actually did go to concerts without any of this stuff. But we made it, we made it there. And we made it home. It took planning, it took coordination, but we didn't have a dependency on which you do now. But you can still do it without that technology. But going back, it's a dependency. And it's a habit.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah. Which, you know, going back to what you said about walking home? Well, what if that happened on a school day? Yeah, I can imagine the number of parents that would have lost their minds, you know, I can't get a hold of my child. Yeah. Okay. That's the day they should have gone back to one on one training about head up left and right, talking, but looking ahead, look, aware of your surroundings, because they weren't brought up. They're being brought up when they're walking home. They're not talking but their faces are buried in their devices. So it can all change. And I like your strategy about situational surroundings. Look at all that stuff. It's absolutely important. Right? The technology is a convenience, it's a nice to have, but it should not be a dependency, then we have to break that dependency on it. Yeah. And I think this is a great segue to my last question, which is about privacy. And I think so one of the things parents say so often is, you know, I don't want to over-read. And I want to overhear, and I laugh, because like you have said a few times, like when we answered the phone, everybody heard our conversation. We didn't, right, like you had it was one phone in the house, or maybe two if you're lucky. And so you were taking turns using the phone,

Paul Davis:

right

Tara Gratto:

there was no sort of like, super privacy when you were 12/13. Like that wasn't a thing everyone overheard you? And if you're lucky, they gave you space? And if not, they teased you after, right. So it's interesting. A lot of people say to me, where's the privacy line? So that's sort of the question I want to sort of end off with you is privacy, and where is the line on checking messages on, you know, following through on knowing what our kids are doing on these devices. This is for my eight plus crowd in particular. So love your thoughts on that before we round this conversation out.

Paul Davis:

So it's not my level of expertise,

Tara Gratto:

okay.

Paul Davis:

But it's my top three questions, which I will always give opinion on, based on my expertise. And I always will tell parents, if you subscribe to give me your child privacy. And that a young age, that is where children go down the path of getting hurt, and giving them privacy on a telephone conversation with a friend. Go ahead. In the basement talk to your friend, giving them privacy, on texting, on surfing on social media at a young age. That's where the hurt will lie. And when you're not. When you're so wrapped up in this, I feel guilty that I'm not giving them privacy. The stories that I get as a result of that. Last Friday, I was on a zoom with the family. And the you know, the dad could not have said it better. I let my guard down. And when he let his guard down, there's a reason we were on a zoom because of what he found out afterwards because quote unquote, a little bit of privacy. We prevented a potentially disastrous situation from unfolding.

Tara Gratto:

Right.

Paul Davis:

We have to start with, what about my child's privacy? People ask you so what was your situation so my situation doesn't really matter to you. But I will tell you anyways, my daughter's got their privacy at around 16 years of age, meaning I didn't do spot checks on their phones. I didn't talk about their conversations. But up until then, I could grab the phone and I could still do it now actually what I choose not to but up until the age of 16. I could do spot checks on their phones. I could see conversations and if one was going down a certain path I knew right away Alright, just leave that one alone. But I want to make sure I knew who they were connecting with and who they were talking to. And I'll be honest with you after 14 I didn't do it that often because it they already had a

Tara Gratto:

strong foundation,

Paul Davis:

which my wife and I instilled

Tara Gratto:

Yeah,

Paul Davis:

but they knew up until that point. I could. But I would never do it secretively. We would do it in front of the Yeah, no, I would no I don't believe in spying. I don't

Tara Gratto:

Yes,

Paul Davis:

it was very open with had open, transparent relationships,

Tara Gratto:

right?

Paul Davis:

We still do to this day, which I'm incredibly proud of, because

Tara Gratto:

it's hard work.

Paul Davis:

For some parents, it's very uncomfortable to do. So if you're going to give them quote unquote, some privacy, it better not be until high school because under that, just look at what's happened in the news. And you'll understand that parents were paying attention to what was happening to their kids. So it's a decision you make, I'm telling you what I chose to do, not because I never, I don't trust my children, we all have this, I trust my child, I trust you trust your child, I trust my child except they're kids. And they make choices sometimes based on emotional responses to a certain situation. And we have a responsibility. So just like they would make an emotional response to a situation in real life in front of us, where we can guide them, we need to be there to help them when they make an emotional response. Online, on a social media platform, or through text, texting is the worst form of communication. So we need to be there to guide them in the way they're communicating, how they're responding, because it could lead to drama, inappropriate content, because of how its interpreted. And texting is the worst form of communication, as I stated, so I don't, you know, privacy is also earned. And it's not just all your 30 and give me no, no, no, no, no, they're not ready for it. So be there for them. And don't feel guilty about it. That's probably my best message to parents. And you will know, when your child has made all the right choices. They're giving you all the right indicators.

Tara Gratto:

right. But the most important thing I can share is you must have open transparent relationships with your children. And then it won't

Paul Davis:

And that relationship is the key to seem as if you're invading, or quote unquote, invading their privacy, because they're being transparent with you as to what's happening, healthy online foundation for your children to be utilizing technology in the safest way possible. Remember that secrecy equals hurt. But when your child is open, they know they can come to you for absolutely anything that's awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing. Put that aside, and say, I'm so thankful they can come to me, and we'll walk through this talk. Yeah. 100%.

Tara Gratto:

So that I mean, one of the things that I'm taking away as like a big theme is technology isn't this other. It's a part of everything, right? So it's part of we need to be present with it. That the whole sort of idea of using technology with our children is that we have to be a part of the process. And that it's not something that they can just go off and do that that's not a skill that they'll have until they're in their teens. Like, up until that point, it's us helping them with their YouTube choices. It's us helping them sort of understand how to share pictures, it's us helping them through this process this journey together.

Paul Davis:

Yes. But with that, don't give them too much too soon.

Tara Gratto:

Yes,

Paul Davis:

but when you do give it to them.

Tara Gratto:

go play outside

Paul Davis:

When you do give it to them, make sure exactly what you just said you're part of the process, which means, you know, part of the process up until 13 is educational apps and watching videos that inspire that are educational, that are fun, and not about liking and comments and hit that subscribe button, like what you said earlier on. Avoid all that, you know, parents think well, if I wait, wait, wait, won't that put them behind? No. I want to put that to rest. They will not yes, I'm with you on that 100% all you're doing never set for all you're doing is you're, you're you're thinking that they will. But the answer is they

Tara Gratto:

Accountability, will. And otherwise, my daughter's would be way behind

Paul Davis:

right? So if you say no, you don't have to worry and they're not and they waited. And I'm just so thankful. And this not me versus the world. I'm just so thankful that they were never impacted in elementary school, any negative capacity. But wow, a lot of the drama that I know some of their peers who were subjected to sort of completely avoidable, but parents just chose to give in at a young age. But what happened then they felt the need to ask for help. Because now they realize and you know, the first thing I tell parents when they ask for help, which I will always be there to help is how about any of that stuff. But when you do say yes. Make sure did this happen? And they will explain I said so you are aware that this is as a result of choices. And some of them are not happy with me. But you know, in order to rectify a problem, you understand the root cause of it? For sure. you are invested. It is not an option. You must be invested in their on line world.

Tara Gratto:

Yeah, and I think that's a misnomer in general, this idea that kids are going to be behind. It's something I talked about quite a bit kids will catch it so quick. There's so much faster than us in a million years. You can take it have no tech and there's research on this, right? There's kids who have had no tech and they get given tech in like 10th grade and they're ahead of their peers. Yeah, that's a total sort of misnomer. All right. So you do a ton of advocacy work, you have tons of resources, where can people find you follow you all that wonderful stuff.

Paul Davis:

My daily tips, tricks, updates, everything you need to know is on my Facebook page, which is Paul Davis tips P Aul. D A V I S T IPs. Altogether. You can say hi on Twitter, Paul Davis SNS, which stands for Social Networking safety, and my website is social networking safety dot net and NET, you will get data there but you'll know how to get in touch with me to come to your school, your corporation. But for parents, probably the Facebook page and a lot of parents have actually left Facebook after my presentation not because

Tara Gratto:

yes,

Paul Davis:

I make them to or make them

Tara Gratto:

a lot parents are leaving Facebook in general. Actually,

Paul Davis:

yes. So if you go to my Facebook page before you leave Facebook, there's a newsletter that's pinned at the top, you can subscribe and what I'll do is I'll give you my monthly postings summarized, you can just process it on a newsletter and because I know you're reading email, so yes,

Tara Gratto:

so I'll make sure I put all of that in the show notes for the listeners. So you can click on all of that and be able to follow Paul and keep up to date on your Internet safety. Awesome. Thank you.

Paul Davis:

My pleasure.

Tara Gratto:

Thanks so much for listening. Be sure to subscribe so you'll be notified when future episodes launch and share this episode with friends or colleagues you think might enjoy it. For information on how to connect with me, you can check out the show notes or you can find me on Instagram at Raising Resilient Children. Until next time, thanks again for listening