All About Online Safety- Episode 60 with Lisa Honold
In the digital world we now live in, it’s important to remember to speak to your children about online safety. Depending on your child’s age, you might have some worries about setting and keeping boundaries around screen time.
On today’s podcast, I’m joined by Lisa Honold from the Center for Online Safety. Lisa shares great tips for navigating this discussion with our children in a way that will make them feel respected, while keeping them safe.
This week on the All About Audiology podcast:
- 1:04 – Lisa has two hard of hearing children, and one child with normal hearing.
- 5:28 – It’s not common for everyone to know someone with hearing loss, and a parent’s first experience with audiology is often when their child is diagnosed.
- 11:22 – Choosing a mode of communication is not an easy decision to make, but knowing all of the options available to you will help you make an informed decision. There is no right or wrong decision, every family is different!
- The 5 Step Guide to Navigating Your Child’s Hearing Loss is a great starting point filled with helpful information, and can be found on our website.
- 17:07 – It can be really helpful in the early years to join parent & child groups, especially ones where the children are a few years older than yours are. You can learn a lot of practical tips from other parents who have already been through it.
- 19:35 – Mutual respect between parents and medical experts is key to getting the best care for your child. Remember that although doctors are experts in their field of expertise, YOU are the expert on your child. Do what is right for you and your family!
- 21:13 – Follow your baby’s lead, and everything will be ok no matter which path you go down. Make sure to carve out time for things that aren’t hearing loss related, and enjoy spending time with your baby.
- 28:27 – Screen time Safety: The average age kids are seeing “adult material” is 11. If there is no way to supervise screens, we will have no idea what our kids are learning about or forwarding to other children.
- 30:32 – We teach kids fire safety, how to safely cross the street, and how to protect themselves in various situations. We need to remember to add online safety to this list.
- 34:01 – Lisa categorizes three main “buckets” of screen time: Passive, Connection and Creation. Since home education has now massively increased, there is also now another type — Education.
- 36:19 – Talk to your kids about limits and set up a “technology contract” with them, so that they feel involved in the decision making. An app such as Bark can send you notifications that will alert you to inappropriate situations that your child might need help with.
- 41:29 – Choose your battles wisely, sometimes it’s better to stay behind-the-scenes while monitoring the situation closely. If something is happening that needs immediate attention, go to your child and have an honest discussion.
- 43:49 – If your child is having a playdate or sleepover away from home, make sure you set boundaries. Find out what kind of devices/apps your child is going to have access to and tell them if there is anything you’d like them to avoid using with your child.
- 50:35 – Three Secrets to Get Your Kids Off Screens is a free gift Lisa is offering to all listeners! This will help with talking to your kids about screen time rules, and help you have “sideways conversations” with your children.
- 52:03 – If your child is deaf or hard of hearing — look for cues. If they are being secretive about online use, or if their group of friends changes along with behavioral changes…start asking questions.
For more resources and research visit:
Mentioned in this episode:
Listen Next/Related Episodes
- Episode 43 – All About Creating a Vision For Your Child’s Life – with Genia Stephen
- Episode 52 – All About ASL at Home – Book Club! – with Dr. Leah Zarchy and Razi Zarchy
- Episode 55 – No Dumb Questions! – with Dr. Yona Saperstein
- Episode 57 – All About Educational Audiology – with Dr. Tina Childress
Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Welcome back to the All About Audiology podcast. I’m your host Dr. Lilach Saperstein and this is the podcast where we talk about communication and how hearing, hearing loss, disability, communication, identity,- Oh my gosh- all these different topics. How do they intersect with your life? With your parenting? How does it affect your siblings’ relationships, you know among kids when one has services and the other doesn’t? How do we talk to people about the needs that our child has? How do we advocate for them?
[00:00:33] So that’s just a little bit about the podcast and I am so excited: Today’s topic is going to be about how to talk to our kids about being safe online. And I’m so thrilled to invite Lisa Honold to join us who is an expert on this topic. And she is very very connected to our community as well and the experience of “hello world of audiology ” [laughs] as a parent. So welcome to the show Lisa I’m so happy to have you here!
[00:01:00]Lisa Honold: I am so glad to be here. Thank you.
[00:01:04] LS: So Lisa tell us about your family’s experience with audiology and how you got into this whole new world.
[00:01:12]LH: Yes, it was a trial by fire. Basically like so many parents I don’t remember ever going to an audiologist myself, but as I was a mom- in our Washington state, I lived close to Seattle Washington, and in our state …when I was, let’s see about 16 years ago, they started testing in the hospital when you have a baby for a newborn hearing screening. And my daughter, 16 years ago, was pronounced that one ear was probably clogged up right. He probably had fluid in it. No big deal.
[00:01:47] They said “you know you might want to go get that checked out.” That was my first experience with “Hmm I think we need to go to an audiologist!” And it didn’t seem very serious. I put it off for a couple of weeks because -new mom -lots to do right! Including sleep!! And so when I got her to Children’s Hospital which is a fantastic clinic, when I got her there she was an expert hands and I found out she had hearing loss. She has one deaf ear and one hard of hearing ear so we continued on we’ll get to the rest of the story in a minute. We continued on and had two more babies. The second one was completely deaf and the third one was hearing -is hearing so we’ve got three in completely different ear ranges.
[00:02:33] LS: You’ve got it all!
[00:02:35] LH: Such a journey. I’ve got it all. Yes And I’ve become an expert and an advocate and a better mom because I have it all for sure.
[00:02:43] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: That is amazing. So tell me about that first- the first baby- because that’s the one that you know brings people and they’re like wait a minute… what is this? And what does this mean? Also You had one ear and not- And then it was both -so did you feel at that time that you had information? That you felt like you had a grasp on what was going on or you were in that vortex of unknowns and questions? How did you handle that stage?
[00:03:14] Lisa Honold: It was a couple of months of uncertainty and shock. When she was born and they said you know you may want to check into this, I didn’t believe it because it felt very informal and it didn’t feel like a real expert was there and they didn’t even seem to believe it. So I didn’t really take it seriously until we got to Children’s Hospital and experts told me again and again this is her hearing loss. This is what we’re testing. This is the audiogram. This is what we can see and started telling me about you know potentials for her future. And we’ve got to get hearing aids on her right away. And it probably took me a couple of weeks to digest that yes this is real like yes this is not going to go away. No this is definitely not fluid. I had become really attached to that idea that “Oh maybe it’ll go away” but it took weeks to really sink into- no, my reality is going to be different. Her reality is going to be different than than what I pictured and I have a lot to learn. And when I shifted I got really busy.
[00:04:23] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: So you then after that you were like “The Notebook Mom” who was writing everything down.
[00:04:28] Lisa Honold: Hundred percent!
Dr. Lilach Saperstein: [00:04:29] Yeah
Lisa Honold: [00:04:30] hundred percent, writing everything down!
Dr. Lilach Saperstein: [00:04:31] I love my notebook moms. [laughs]
Lisa Honold:[00:04:33] Googling everything trying to understand what this meant for us and what- I just wanted to be able to look 10 years into the future and know it’s going to be okay Five years into the future. Will it be okay? Will she be okay?
Dr. Lilach Saperstein: [00:04:49] And what were those questions that you were having when you say that? Like will she have friends? Will she be able to communicate with us -those big questions?
[00:04:58] Lisa Honold: What kind of school will she go to? How are we going to communicate? I knew we’d communicate somehow. We’re highly motivated but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what the possibilities were. I only had met a few deaf people growing up and it was acquaintances- you know like people at church or people that I wasn’t truly friends with. Just people that I knew in the community. And I I didn’t know what the possibilities were.
Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yeah.
Lisa Honold: [I just didn’t know.
[00:05:26]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yeah I think that’s so common that, like you know like I’ve been saying, “welcome to the world of audiology” and you don’t really know because it’s not that common that everybody knows someone who’s been to an audiologist or is deaf or has any, you know, relationship to this. And for so many people their first interaction is as a parent and also in the “olden days” – quote unquote – children used to be identified by their behavior, so here’s a two year old that doesn’t speak yet, or the kid doesn’t turn around every time there’s a sound. So people would come in saying ‘I am seeing all these things what’s going on’ but with the newborn hearing screening, which is amazing, we’re able to identify the children early and then get intervention early. But the flip side of that is that it’s it’s a little harder to believe or you know to see what this tiny infant that was born 48 hours ago, You’re telling me this information. We don’t know anything about this little nugget kind of puts like should we trust these automatic tests ?And you know that whole first year is really a a fact-finding mission to get both the objective, automatic tests and their responses and then seeing how those things match up. So then how did you feel then when your second was born? And you were like ‘okay I know audiology I know hearing aids, Let’s do this again!’
[00:06:58] Lisa Honold: Yeah again it was a hospital situation and this time I knew not to put a lot of faith in the person at the hospital who first said – they wanted to take my son and do that newborn screening. And based on the first experience I said no thanks I’m just going to take him to children’s hospital. We’ve got it all set up and so that’s what we did. I I still didn’t trust the newborn screen just because of the first situation and we did [a diagnostic hearing evaluation] pretty much immediately after he was born as soon as we could get in. And when we found out he was deaf it was again it was a shock. It was a “really?” We’re going to have two kids with hearing loss. And he is completely deaf and I know there’ll be similarities to what we’re doing for my daughter but I wonder if there’s going to be differences too. What’s it like to have a deaf baby instead of a hard of hearing baby. And if he doesn’t have his hearing devices on does that mean he won’t hear anything where if my daughter doesn’t have her devices on she still responds to loud noises and different things. So it was another educational opportunity and that notebook came back out and I made all kinds of discoveries for sure.
[00:08:11]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: And can you talk a little about when you were faced with the communication mode decision. Do we introduce sign? Do we go all in on auditory oral? Some combination of both?
[00:08:25] Lisa Honold: We were super lucky in Seattle- Yeah. We’re exposed to -we have three different programs in Seattle and we lived in Seattle proper then, so we had all the options available: We had complete sign language option ASL. We had a complete SEE – Signed Exact English and then we had a complete oral [program]. And with our daughter even if we hadn’t had a deaf baby we wanted to teach her baby sign language. Right And this was like well, We want to teach her ASL. We want her to be able to communicate earlier. And this is a great way to do that. So early intervention for her was ASL based. What it gave to me as a parent was parents in the birth to three category- So I could see parents with kids a little bit older and parents that were deaf. And that was my first exposure in a a parent support group where there were deaf parents there advocating for their deaf babies And giving me a window into what adult life might look like. What their lives had looked like, what their education looked like, what they were happy with growing up what they were resentful of. And the technology that was just coming into our lives with texting and things like that So that was just changing how a deaf person could could live- could communicate. So that was the decision with with the first one was complete ASL and just dive into deaf culture and understand and start to support her any way we could.
[00:10:02] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: That’s really special because so many people talk about that when they’re in the audiology version- the hospital the medical model and they only see that side of it. And are not exposed at all to deaf adults and signing communities and people that see the hearing loss in a different way. Rather you know a cultural identity, something that’s part of their life, that isn’t a loss. And I think so many people don’t ever get that experience, or only much later in their journey. So what you said is listening to deaf adults telling you what it was like for them. We did an episode with all about ASL at home which is an online curriculum from Razi and Leah Zarchy. I will link that episode in the show notes. And we were talking there about how so many adults would say I spent 15 years or 18 years in speech therapy trying to like make one sound or trying to get out. One thing. In the meantime I can have a full-fledged conversation that was visual- that was easy-in this other modality But you know at the same time parents who are hearing want their baby to be part of their worlds and communicate with them in their language. I just want to validate that for everyone who’s listening that it’s not an easy decision to make but it’s really good when you have all your options. And I’m really happy that you felt that you did get like a a spread of what was out there.
[00:11:34]Lisa Honold: Yeah, looking back I really like that decision that’s a decision I would make again. And you and I both know there’s no wrong decision. The parent will know what to do based on their values and their family and and everything else, but for our family this was the right decision to really just dive in and see the possibilities and get an education on deaf culture.
[00:11:59]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: So do you sign at home with everyone or or what’s the story?
[00:12:03] Lisa Honold: Here’s the thing. [laughs]
[00:12:04] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Some and some?
[00:12:05] Lisa Honold: Here’s what happened. My daughter started wearing hearing aids when she was, Oh gosh, I think eight weeks with when, we got her first a little tiny pair of hearing aids, and she signed and then she became verbal and she was doing a mix of both. Over time the signing has dropped off and she ended up getting a cochlear implant in her deaf ear when she was 10 years old. So there’s been a progression of technology, as well as she tells me when she needs to use signs. She doesn’t remember a lot of signs honestly but as far as a foundation ASL was the right way to go. I don’t regret for a second all of the classes we took, all of the time we spent learning how to communicate. I don’t regret that at all And if we ever needed to come back to it we certainly could.
[00:12:59]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: And then with your second what was the intervention?
[00:13:00]Lisa Honold: Oh the second! [sigh] When did you think I would choose the same thing for the second?
[00:13:05] Dr. Lilach Saperstein:No no! Each child is a whole new world [laughs]
[00:13:09]Lisa Honold: I didn’t know that! I mean parents tell you that but you don’t know it until you know it. So for him he was born deaf and when I think about, like you said hearing parents want their kids to be in the hearing world. And what I thought when he was just weeks old was ‘wouldn’t it be great if he understood the English language? And if he never hears it with his ears wouldn’t it be great if he understood it with every single word signed out- Signed Exact English?’ And because we had a program that was available and accessible to us we went to that program for him for early intervention and learned Signed Exact English and did that with him at home And that worked really well. He ended up getting his first cochlear implant when he was nine months old which was very early for 2006 is when he was born. And he got a second one when he was almost two. And from there he got oral very fast and he doesn’t sign at home either. He remembers a few signs but doesn’t doesn’t sign at home either, so we’ve stopped signing.
[00:14:23]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: There’s an openness to follow the lead of the child and of their progress. Come into it with an open mind and say let’s- “more is more” try and throw language in any direction that it goes and then then see what they do with it and what their capabilities are. That’s really nice. Let’s not forget about your third…
[00:14:44] Lisa Honold: little boy
[00:14:45]Dr. Lilach Saperstein:And when he was born what were you kind of bracing yourselves in that pregnancy Like “Hmm?”
[00:14:50] Lisa Honold: So I was pretty much resigned to having deaf babies. I thought for sure number three was going to join his siblings. They were going to have this in common .And I already knew earlier intervention I knew two of the three programs and figured I’ve got it figured out. I know what life is going to look like the first three years I know what early intervention is going to be. I know the support that’s out there. Cool. And then he was born hearing and it was the strangest feeling and it made me again doubt that it was true. So are you sure? Should we test them again? At what point do we just believe that he’s actually hearing? This is weird. Yeah.
[00:15:31]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Did you at any point do you genetic testing or any of those to try and find if there was a cause that you could know about I don’t know if that’s an insensitive question actually I don’t know How do you feel about that Is that okay to ask you
[00:15:48] Lisa Honold: [I don’t feel like yeah I don’t feel like it’s insensitive I feel like it’s a great question. There was a study. Yeah there’s a study probably our oldest was little, so I don’t know maybe 2010 ish. We were asked to be a part of a study and it was to find out more about what causes deafness. We did, and our first our daughter got tested and none of the genes that they knew at that time, that they had identified at that time, were involved in our case. And we tested for CMV and I think that’s the only ones that we’ve done. We’ve been asked recently to go back and do testing again because they know so much more. We would probably get a more definitive answer so that’s where we left it We haven’t done anything since then.
Obviously it’s genetic with two. Yeah.
[00:16:40]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: There’s so many surprises out there because we’ve seen families where that’s actually not the case you know where one child has from some acquired reason, that during pregnancy or different things… So it’s always a mystery. Our knowledge base is always growing so over time you know maybe even as adults they might maybe find the answer. I wanted to ask you because you’ve had the full gamut, first second third babies with different journeys, What advice would you share with their parents who are listening? What helped you the most when you were going through those early years?
[00:17:21] Lisa Honold: What helped me the most was to get into groups with parents that had kids a few years older than mine. To get in that community, to be able to observe what life might look like, how the parents were learning how to communicate and follow the child’s lead seemed to be the right answer. But just being in community with deaf families, with kids with parents who are deaf, because you learn tips you learn really practical- I’m such a practical person- and you learn practical things. Like get a round table instead of a square table. That was one of the things that stuck with me all these years is you really want a table that you have great visibility and that no one feels like they’re on the corner and they can’t really see what’s going on. And seat people so that their better ear is facing toward what you want them to hear the most. And there’s so many little tips that I learned from other parents or caregivers that were in mostly informal groups or the early intervention groups that were coming in and just hanging out with us. It wasn’t so much that experts, of course the experts supported us along the way, but it was that one-to-one connection. I remember one person, who was an expert, who cradled my son and she put my son’s head on her throat so that he could feel it vibrating. And she just hummed to him and sang him lullabies. I had never thought to just put his head right on my vibrating throat. I’d never thought of that. And I thought it was so beautiful that I was learning and she wasn’t out to teach me anything. She just showed me something. That was a beautiful tip.
[00:19:09] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yeah that’s really a great tip of at the round table And honestly I haven’t heard that one. I feel like that’s so intuitive but I wouldn’t have thought of that. Very clever.
[00:19:19] Lisa Honold: You’re not going to forget it!
[00:19:21] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yes, I’m going to share that! And I’m so glad you shared that with all the listeners. Good lighting, too, Like that’s one we talk about a lot. And I love what you said about having community and meeting people who are doing what you’re doing. And experts- this is a thing we talk about a lot on this show is that you are the expert in your child! You are the expert parent, and the experts are experts in their field of expertise and that’s about it. And we all kind of work together and bring what we can but there must be this respect between the parents who know their kid the best and the parents who are going to spend many many many many loving hours, as opposed to the you know once a week or 30 minutes three times a week, that you might get with various therapists or specialists. So I’m a really big advocate for taking that on as the parent and becomes much more of an equal shared decision-making. “Here’s what we know. Here are the options. What are you guys thinking?” And like you mentioned way in the beginning which is about what accessibility do you have around you in your community? What programs are there? That’s going to change depending on where you live in the world. What is the the family status, where one parent can really do a lot in the therapeutic sense And in other families that’s not an availability. It really is so unique and every family needs to do what’s right for them but yes connecting with other parents is huge. And I’m so excited that there’s a little facilitation of that through our podcasts people meeting each other at the Facebook group and on Instagram. So definitely come and find each other. Don’t do this alone.
[00:21:06]Lisa Honold: Don’t do this alone
[00:21:07] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Oh yes That’s like good advice for always for every area of life
[00:21:13] Lisa Honold: Can I give one more piece of advice
[00:21:15] Dr. Lilach Saperstein:Please go for it!
[00:21:16] Lisa Honold: Okay And he said about par ents are the experts in in their family and that partnering together as equals with the experts who have studied and spent years learning what they do and their expertise. That completely changes the dynamic and it brings the best results for the kids, which is what we all want. And my advice, if I could go back 16 years and talk to myself with one newborn and I was so worried about particularly her hearing, I would say relax. I would say relax. It’s going to be okay! Whether it’s this path or that path or that path it’s going to be just fine because you’re connected to her. You’re going to follow her lead. It’s all going to be okay. It’s all going to unfold however it unfolds. You can’t change it. So just relax. Take a nap with her. Go outside with her. Do stuff that’s not hearing related. That’s not hearing loss related. Read a book that’s not nonfiction and just enjoy enjoy and savor because she’s growing every day.
[00:22:26]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: I have chills. It’s really beautiful because we talk about connecting to your child as the goal. You’re doing all of this running around for therapies and devices and surgeries and whatever else you’re doing- sign language classes- for the point of being able to communicate. Remembering what that goal is! Genia Steven also is on a podcast- I’ll link the episode with her- about creating a vision for your life for your child’s life, for your connection. So that everything you’re doing is in service to that end, which has never an end- But to that connection! Yeah
[00:23:03] Lisa Honold: Oh that’s good
[00:23:05] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: I yeah I’ve learned so much from- when I actually when we’re recording this it’s like the middle-ish of December, So this is going to be a little out of order. By the time they hear this is probably going to be new year, but in what we’re doing it’s kind of like reflecting on the year reflecting on… the “dumpster fire [of 2020]” but also how much growth and resilience this has brought out in so many of us. And that that’s true for the challenges that we go through all in every area of life. But what I wanted to say about that- is that I started the podcast “All About Audiology” and I’m an audiologist who has so much to say from like here’s my expert opinion on topics. At the same time as trying to like bring in the holistic family centered part of it. But as the podcast has gone on, and I’ve met so many incredible people around the world like yourself like all the other you know people from their fields of their experience, as parents or from different fields. And I’ve gotten like so much more nuance and so much more understanding from the disability world, from different communication parts. So like I’m just celebrating this expansion of what the All About Audiology podcast is about what I’m learning. What I’m able to share with you guys. It’s a journey. It’s really fun. So sorry for that tangent Let’s go back.
[00:24:35] Lisa Honold: What you’re doing can change lives because you’re helping people! You’re helping parents relax. You’re helping audiologists and other professionals realize that they have spent years learning things and there’s a softer way to approach that. So that they can partner with parents and they can partner with caregivers and make good decisions together. It’s it’s a beautiful thing And I’m so excited for the work that you’re doing.
[00:25:04] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Thank you So let’s talk about the work that you’re doing and we’re going to switch gears here. You know we could talk about these things all day. That’s what I love to do, but I do want to give our listeners an opportunity to hear about the Center For Online Safety and how you got into helping parents navigate this whole futuristic world we live in. Many of us, growing up, maybe we had dial up or maybe parents are older than me too, and didn’t even have that. It’s like the constant communication, the screens, the social media, the texting. Oh my gosh I’m already flustered. So tell us the story: How did you get to this? How did everything come together for you in this specific area?
[00:25:49] Lisa Honold: It’s a long roundabout story. Really I was a CPA for a lot of years and I worked in an international accounting firm. And then met my husband and we started a business together and we worked together. Once we started having kids, I was home a lot more and kids needed a lot of extra help. So I was doing that and it was my job and when baby number two happened I realized I needed some parenting classes because none of the tools that I was using successfully for number one worked really well with him. So I started taking parenting classes and I took so many parenting classes that I became a parenting coach. I became certified and started helping other families. And from there as as my kids grew up I saw ages and stages, and they started getting into screens in a way where I wasn’t able to see what they were doing. It’s really hard to supervise screens. That’s that’s the problem with devices and screens is everything that your child was doing is invisible. Their behavior is invisible. So I educated myself how I could and and I knew about screen time limits and we had limits and we had an internet filter, which I want all parents to filter the internet so kids don’t see everything bad that’s out there. But I still got a phone call from another mom to tell me that my child was posting inappropriate things online . I was devastated. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. Here I am helping other parents navigate their own families and journeys and help with kids and conflicts and I get a phone call like this. And it was hard to realize that my kids weren’t safe online and that I needed to go learn some more. I needed to find out a solution that would help my family and potentially help other families as well.
[00:27:45]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: How old was your child that happened?
[00:27:47] Lisa Honold:12
[00:27:48] Dr. Lilach SapersteinYeah and I knew it was going to be young because I want people to know that. Like my kids are really small I have I have six, four, and two. God bless them. So I am like gearing up myself for this new battle that’s about to come. And it gets younger and younger every year. Like some of my some of my first grader’s friends have phones. Yeah so that’s why I’m like personally very invested in learning everything you have to say right now ! But, it’s young. Even 12 years old and like being 12 is not easy on its own. Now it’s screens on top of that.
[00:28:23]Lisa Honold: That’s a good point. And when you pause it made me think I just need to tell everybody who’s listening that yes 12 is early. The average age that kids are seeing pornography now is 11. So think about that for a second. If we don’t have a way to supervise what they’re doing we have no idea what they’re looking at, what they’re forwarding to other people. What they’re learning and deciding about life. We just don’t know. And that’s the piece that was missing in my my online parenting strategy was the supervision piece and the ongoing conversations. What I call sideways conversations, to help kids understand what my family values are where the expectations are and what happens if they’re not followed. So when I say a sideways conversation it’s a conversation that’s not based in my opinions It’s based In fact. Like, I just told you a fact that pornography is seen now right around age 11. That’s a fact so if I were talking to a child and I I just wanted to start a sideways conversation I would say something around the fact that was “did you know that adults pick up their phones 150 times a day. What do you think about that sweetie? Does that seem right? Does that seem like about the amount of time that I’m picking up my phone?
[00:29:45] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Guilty
[00:29:51] Lisa Honold: hat’s what your child might say, or they might say ‘Oh I bet you’re on it more!”
[00:29:55] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yeah
[00:29:56] Lisa Honold: Or they might they might not. But it’s a way to- it makes you the parent a little bit vulnerable.
And hearing what their opinion is and starting the conversation that way instead of ‘I am so tired of you being on your screen. I have new rules for you. This is how it’s going to be.” It’s a very different conversation to have a sideways conversation versus an adult like parent tal- down conversation. It’s not even a conversation it’s a directive right. They don’t really have a say in it.
[00:30:28] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Oh I love that. Sideways conversations. And I love also just the whole point of safety putting it in that context. Like we teach our children about fire safety. We teach them about crossing the streets safely. We talk about how to protect yourself in various situations in life. Like we’re obsessed with car seats! For that whole first couple of years. And we take it seriously because it is a safety issue. And then once it comes to screens it’s like well, they need to be in touch with their friends, or we need homework, how could we not have internet? And you kind of have all these like little rationalizations about this monolith called technology – screens – but it is much more nuanced than that. So I like that also coming from that place of like stranger danger. This is a real problem on the internet.
[00:31:23] Lisa Honold: It is. It’s a safety conversation. Yes Yes. And it starts way before they get their first device. It starts when you let them on your device. Maybe you’re at the grocery store and you just need to check out and you’re like, here watch YouTube. It’s when you hand over your phone, you need to make sure that you have a filter on your phone too. So that they don’t wander into territory that’s not appropriate . You’ve got safeguards on there, so they can’t just download anything. It happens so fast when they get their own device. It’s important right away to have a contract. That they know about that, they’re involved in collaborating with you on. As far as you know what hours the devices available. And if you have expectations around what needs to happen before they have screen time. Just to set up those rules as soon as you can. That’s one of the biggest regrets that parents have when they give a device. Whether it’s a phone or a tablet or computer, they don’t attach expectations from the very second that they give it. And then to try to do it retroactively feels scary and hard and they dread it. So they put it off and the longer they put it off the the the more trouble the child’s to going to be in and be exposed to.
[00:32:38] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yeah, one of the little things that we’ve done with my young kids is that they don’t know any of the passcodes. And like when I see that people as young you know they have children as young as my children and they can open the tablet anytime they so choose. And then it’s like “Oh you’re on the tablet! And then it’s a whole new struggle. But it’s like no you don’t have access to this unless I opened the passcode and set it up for you. But that’s going to change as they grow to try and manage that where it isn’t authoritarian but it’s more authoritative.
[00:33:14]When I think about the term screen time it kind of goes in two directions: One is the screen time amount, the dose if you will how many hours? And what are they consuming? Like six hours of Netflix -also guilty just saying- just the volume of how much they’re watching whether it’s YouTube videos or Netflix or whatever else. And then the other screen time is like what we talked about before, the safety and not to post things with identifying information not to talk to strangers, and accept DMs from random people. There’s two different things that come to mind when it’s about screen time. So I wanted to know if you have some advice about limiting the actual number of hours of exposure and then maybe some tips about navigating social media.
[00:34:00] Lisa Honold: Yes, This is a fun thing to do together because I think there’s really three buckets of screen time, if you’re looking at a higher level like all the screens that we’re looking at, including TV and and everything. I think there’s three buckets. I think there’s the passive consumption bucket- So bingeing on Netflix or watching YouTube videos. It used to drive me crazy when my my boys would watch unwrapping videos of Pokemon cards. They’d watch other kids unwrap these crazy cards time after time after time. Like they it was just addictive to watch these other kids do this. So that’s the consumption bucket and that’s usually the one that triggers parents. And I was like you know get off the couch go do something. Go do something else! And then there’s the connection bucket that screens can bring us connection whether it’s a zoom . Social media is a very connecting tool. If we’re using it properly we can really bond and learn new things about people or or situations. And then the third bucket is a creation bucket. And this is one parents love the creation bucket. It’s where your child is learning coding online or they’re on YouTube learning a new skill. And then they’re going to show you the new skill. They’re going to create something new, based in something that they’ve learned. So I think there’s probably three buckets if not more. I mean education and school is now a whole other bucket for so many millions of families. Where screen time has always been an issue ever since we’ve had devices but since the pandemic-, since so many more kids are virtually schooling it’s gotten really tricky. Because the child will say’ I need to get online for this this’ and this parent says yes. An hour later you know they’re not still doing that. Or they’ve got five more tabs open, Right? [laughs]
[00:35:59] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: I heard the funniest line.
[00:36:02] Lisa Honold: Yes
[00:36:02] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Jokes, jokes for days.. When one tab closes another tab opens [both laughing]. I thought that was hilarious. I don’t know the credit. Sorry I might’ve seen that on Twitter somewhere but yeah . So tips safety tips. I know you also have a very practical gift for our listeners to go and download. So you tell us about that as well
[00:36:27]Lisa Honold: Yes. Safety tips. Well let’s start with delay as much as you can delay especially first phones. Delay the first phone. If they need a device to call you get them a device that just calls and texts. You don’t need to have a smartphone. And the tricky thing about smartphones is a lot of us have a junk drawer full of old smartphones. And typically that’s what the child gets as their first phone. It’s a smartphone by default because it’s free, It’s available, it’s right here . It’s a computer that your child has and they may not be ready to have. But just easy safety tips it’s talk to your kids about what the limits are. Set up that technology contract . Make sure that their devices can’t download things without your permission. So block the downloads so that they have to ask you and you have the password they do not have the password. That’s a great tip. Screen time rules: There’s some non-negotiable safety type rules that are hard and firm. And then there’s the collaborative ones that you guys can come up with together. Whether you have a set amount of hours per day or it’s per week and they’ve got a screen time bank. Or if they wanted to use seven hours in a day, they could but then they have nothing left for the rest of the week, if you’ve come up with that strategy.
[00:37:49] Let them be a part of of the technology contracts so that they are vested in it and feel like it’s something that you guys created together and then come back and update it as they get older and want more things. No parent ever to me and says “gosh I wish I would have given my child social media sooner.” Nobody says that, right. So delay as long as you can . Start with one app and research it in advance to make sure it’s a good one to start with. Start with one app . And as your child shows that they’re doing the right thing on that app you can give them another one. Maybe start with Instagram, move from there. Ifthey ask for it at 10 or 11 or 12, the best answer is no you’re not ready for it. I’m not ready for it. Let’s not do that. And then the other thing that’s just as critical is the supervision piece. We can’t supervise where we can’t see. So I recommend that all families have an app called Bark. It’s a subscription service. Just think of it like a cell phone plan. It’s an insurance plan that lets you see over 30 apps what your child is doing, when they’re doing something inappropriate. If they’re doing great things online you don’t get an alert ever. But if they’re sending or receiving inappropriate texts or pictures, it could be memes anything . You’ll get a tiny snippet of what’s going on, and the ability to follow up with your child and say ‘I just got this alert. It’s a little bit weird. What’s going on?” So that you know right away. It can help for if a child’s getting cyber bullied, or there’s hate speech going on or inappropriate pictures. It can help in so many different situations to stop it before it escalates into something major.
[00:39:40] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yeah, As a young mom I would say- and my kids are not teenagers, I try to do- at this stage in my parenting philosophy, if you will… What I found is so important to me is that my kids can tell me things. Even when I’m annoyed that they took chocolate out of the cupboard. When they come to me and tell me that, my reaction is so important. And I’m like ‘okay this is it! Game time!” You know? I kind of feel like the lights are on and this is this is the moment when they come to me with something that makes me want to have one reaction, and then I’m like if I do this now, in 10 years, in five years, they’re not going to tell me that someone’s bothering them online. They’re not going to tell me about you know their new conflicts. If I like get angry with them about the the little things. So you know this is one of those things that – parenting it’s like very hard! [laughs] Okay Just put that out there for everybody.
[00:40:43] There’s so many things you have to think about and you yourself are also a person at the same time, you know, in case you forgot! So I’m like just, in awe basically of people who are so intentional who are helping us figure out how to navigate different pieces of the puzzle. So I’m really grateful for the work that you do and starting to think about you know if someone gives you the advice of ‘Hey a round table is really great to ensure that communication as possible Like that’s a great tip and you you carry it’ And then if someone tells you ‘Hey maybe don’t get a phone for as long as you can for your kid’ Like put that somewhere in your brain. It’s good advice to just like take in.
[00:41:29] So my question about Bark is when you get those notifications what would you say is a good way to approach your child and and have an open conversation about what happened? What went on over here? What are your tips for that
[00:41:46]Lisa Honold: My tips are pick your battles. You don’t want to have a conversation every single time. Sometimes it’s better to monitor and stay behind the scenes and see if you get another alert. Sometimes the alerts are severe and it’ll say severe alert. And it will be in red for something the artificial intelligence- the AI- has decided it is a severe alert. Maybe it’s self-harm or it’s that level of look at this immediately. Go to your child and be honest. This isn’t a sneaky spy app. This isn’t one of those things that you can do behind the scenes. You need their buy-in. You need their passwords to make this work. So they know that Bark is- My kids know that bark is on, is watching everything. And all three of my kids at this point have come to me with their own moral compass and said ‘you’re about to get a bark alert’ because they realize something’s about to happen that would not be okay with my mom. It’s not in our family values. It’s not going to make her happy and bark is watching me. I’m going to get involved in this conversation. So I might as well head it off at the pass. That’s what I love about bark is that it starts conversations even before it sends me the alert.
[00:43:03] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Look at that .
[00:43:04] Lisa Honold: Bark also sends potentially what you might want to say or research or do. If they do send an alert they also said, well here are some ideas of what you could do. Most of the time it’s as simple as going into the room and saying ‘Hey I just got this. What’s going on? And they can explain it- No big deal. Every once in a while, yes, one of their friends needs help or they need a reminder about what the expectations are. Just like offline right. They’re going to need reminders. They’re going to need to hear the guidelines more than once. It’s not a one and done conversation. This is based in our family values. And the people that I I know them to be, and I want them to grow up to be.
[00:43:45] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: That’s really beautiful. Okay. One other aspect, if you have time for this, cause I’m pretty curious your opinion on- just in general- posting pictures of children. And how there’s a privacy concern, there’s a consent concern there. So for our family we’ve decided that we don’t post publicly any pictures of the children. We do send to family. And for me the biggest one is really the respecting of their agency. You don’t want your baby pictures to be alive forever and you’re going to be, 35 looking for a job and someone Googles your name- And it’s like potty training disaster. Like those really drive me nuts! When it’s also embarrassing. But even regular, like even the most beautiful holiday pics or whatever, fall foliage, and it’s so fun to see everyone’s kids. But I don’t feel comfortable with that for our personal decision in our family. So then at what point do you feel like that agency is given over to your child? And you say well “if you want to have an account..” Is it private? Or you know kind of looking at all this….
[00:45:00] Before I let you answer that, I have to tell you something kind of upsetting happened recently. Six years old! I like can’t get over it. My, she’s delicious, She went to a friend for a play date, my daughter. And the mom of the play dates said ‘Oh they had a blast. They were playing, they were doing videos on Tik TOK. And I was like “WHAT?! Are we here? Is this- six years old- Is this the thing that’s happening now? My daughter. So she was like it was adorable. And the mom forwarded me the video that they made. And yes they’re like dancing around. They were adorable. They’re six years old jumping up and down. But I did not consent to you posting pictures of my child on Tik TOK. Let alone that it wasn’t even like a thing that she would even consider. She sent it to me like wasn’t this cute? And I’m like wait a minute! All right, So go for it. What are your thoughts on this event?
[00:45:56]Lisa Honold: I gotta get my jaw off the floor here. Yes That was a huge overreach in what should be happening. And it just goes to show that before we drop kids off, before we have play dates, there’s this whole checklist of assumptions. We think we know what’s going to happen and we have no idea what’s going to happen in somebody else’s [house]. We think that their values are similar to ours- obviously not true unless we ask. And that’s a great reminder of all of the many things that we should be asking about. Just from an online safety perspective because you don’t know if the other family has a filter on their internet or if it’s just wide open if they take devices away or have a bedtime for devices so that devices aren’t out with unsupervised time. There’s just so many things to ask before a sleepover or a play date, including what apps do they have access to. Will you be the same room with them? Will they be posting to Tik Tok, or just making a video off on the side using the tools. Like where are your limits and how deep do we need to go. It’s so much easier when you say let’s have this be a non-tech play date. Okay? Knowing that can’t always be the case, but Oh my goodness That’s an overreach!
[00:47:15] Another place that that tends to happen is if parents have great rules around either not naming kids online by name or not tagging kids’ photos or using their their pictures. A lot of times it’s the grandparents who are so proud of their kids- family members who are so proud and want to show off this beautiful family member. And they say everything about that child. And then how do you take it back? And how do you tell them lovingly that that’s just not okay for your family. They don’t see the downside. They just see they’re so proud of their family and they want to show off. That’s a conversation too that we all need to be prepared for because not everybody gets it. Not everybody gets that kids have agency. And at what age should they take over their identity online- it’s a great question . We could spend the next hour talking about it. I feel like as teenagers they’re going to have their own footprint. Right? And the sooner that we help them keep their footprint small and more like a portfolio than a chaos. Crazy… this is my wild days. Yeah the more I would be proud to show grandmother these photos. You have your wild days photos somewhere else. If you need to it. Just makes sense to have minimal footprint small footprint.
[00:48:44] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yeah And then on the flip side of all this I do want to encourage and say that there are so many amazing tools. And you can create with your child and you could do . If you put together a video and learn about editing. we did that one day. They were running around the playground and we did the time-lapse and that was such a hilarious thing to do! And they loved it. It helped them clean up because we did a time-lapse of let’s clean up your toys. So there’s a way to integrate the technology in a positive, helpful, educational, therapeutic…! Like there’s so many things we could do. Oh And I’m going to also shout out the apps list that Dr. Tina Childress has . It’s categorized by skill. So like what are all the games for auditory processing. What are all the games for phonemic awareness. Speech therapists would love this tool . It’s a free download from Dr. Tina Childress. I will link that inn the show notes. We got a lot of ways where we can do amazing things with our tech- like have podcasts and talk about this and connect to people all over the world. So it’s not all doom and gloom. But we do need to keep an eye.
[00:49:57]Lisa Honold: Yes I love ,technology. What you said about the playground- That was a brilliant use of technology. Just to have them super motivated to get out there and clean up- that was brilliant. The best part about it was you were doing it together right. The worst part of technology is when a kid is in their room doing something totally by themselves and wants to keep it a secret. That’s where I start to worry. That’s prime time for child predators and all of the bad stuff that they get into. When you are creating together, when you’re having fun together using technology ,that’s completely different. And that is fantastic use of technology
[00:50:34]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: So that brings me to a very exciting offer you have for all of our listeners. Tell us about that
[00:50:40]Lisa Honold: Oh yes yes yes I have a free gift for everyone. It’s called “the three secrets to get your kids off their screens” and anyone who has a screen in their house needs this now. And there’s a video attached to it and you will learn the three secrets and also get a script about talking about screen time rules and how to navigate the beginning if you haven’t had rules before how to just put it out there as “this is this is what we’re going to do now. This is the new normal .” You will also get a script that has basically why you would want to introduce screen time rules into your family. You’ll get your kids on your side with the sideways conversation about screen time rules and why they’re important.
[00:51:31]Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Honestly I need a three secrets of how to get myself off of my device. I will watch that so the link to that will be in the show notes allaboutaudiology.com as well as a full transcript of our conversation today. As all episodes have full transcripts and show notes allaboutaudiology.com Lisa Honold I am so excited for more of our listeners to start thinking about online safety take care of their children. And what are your- just before you go what about specifically, the intersection for parents of deaf and hard of hearing children about online safety and then we’ll wrap up this exciting episode.
[00:52:12]Lisa Honold: Yes specifically it’s even more important as parents to stay involved in what’s going on to look for cues. If you suddenly see your your child not wanting to go online. Or being very secretive when they are online- hiding the screen from you. Suddenly only wearing long sleeves and long pants when it’s hot outside. There are very specific cues that show that there may be more going on if their friend group suddenly changes or they just start acting different, which is hard because teenagers typically act pretty different. But be tuned in for four different behaviors and ask lots of questions. Absolutely, ask lots of questions. Sit with them and you have your device, they have their device. Make it you know family time where yes you’re each doing your own thing but you can kind of slyly look over there and see what’s going on a little bit. Be open to conversation anytime they want to start a conversation and ask questions without being annoying which is a fine line.
[00:53:18] Dr. Lilach Saperstein: Yes Yes! “Ask questions” is also kind of another motto here on the show. We had a whole episode with my husband the doctor all about asking your doctor questions and being always open to saying “I don’t know, but let me try and see what else there is out there.” So yes let’s keep on asking those questions. That’s the whole lifelong journey of learning. Thank you so much for joining us. I’m your host Dr. Lilach Saperstein, And this is the All About Audiology podcast.