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October 10, 2020

[EP004] How To Keep Your Child Safe In A Digital World


Elizabeth is a Digital Parenting Consultant, who provides support to governments, companies, schools, and parenting associations on digital parenting and children and the internet.

“ It’s not the Quality of screen-time but the quality of screen-time.”

And I think he said something that was really important about going home and looking at your own screen time and being a digital role model. I think that's so vital because our children see us and they want to be like us. I mean, even right now, I'm doing this podcast with you.

Parenting in and of itself is already a challenge. Don't make the technology an additional burden and so that's why I say with digital parenting, you're bringing your offline parenting skills. You're just bringing them online, right? And so by the same token, I also say that when parents start freaking out about some sort of issue and they believe that it's a digital parenting issue, I say take the technology out and then think about what you would do.

Insight From This Episode

  • How to have seamless conversations with your child to increase their safety online.

  • Steps to take to increase your digital parent confidence.

  • How to identify child pornography and keep your child safe online.

  • Managing screentime during COVID and online learning

Mentioned in this episode

Elizabeth’s Freebies and Books

Virtual Solutions: https://www.digitalparentingcoach.com/virtualsolutions

Online Toolkit: https://www.digitalparentingcoach.com/offers/qcoC5z8g/checkout

Online Books: https://elizabeth-milovidov.mykajabi.com/books

5c’s article -https://www.digitalparentingcoach.com/blog/the-5-c-s-of-digital-parenting

Other Resources

Commonsense Media 

Cultured Reframed

Entre to Black Paris

To listen to Elizabeths favorite song “ Who Runs The World” By Beyonce click the link below

Season One Playlist (1).png

Connect with Elizabeth

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheDigitalParentingCommunity/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DigiParentCoach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/digiparentcoach/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DigiParentCoach

Website: https://www.digitalparentingcoach.com/


Genie 00:07

Hello! Today, we are blessed with Elizabeth, who is a digital parenting consultant, who provides support to governments, companies, schools and parenting associations in digital parenting and children and the internet. That's right, I said the Internet. Apparently, Elizabeth is a Board Trustee for the Diana Ward, an advisor on European cooperation and International Projects to e-Enfance, The French Child Online Protection Association in a digital parenting contributor to France 24. She also consults for UNICEF Child and Online Protection and the Council of Europe as an independent expert on Digital Parenting and Children's Rights and the Internet; and is an eSafety content provider for The UK Safer Internet Centre, as the “Ask the Expert” Member for Internet Matters and guest blogger for the Family Online Safety Institute. 

Elizabeth 01:06

All right then. That's a mouthful.

Genie 01:10 

I know, but I could not. Let me tell you guys, Elizabeth is awesome, so I could not take it down to something short and sweet because it would just take away from all of her good work.

Elizabeth 01:32

Sure. It's really funny because I've been doing this now for seven years and I find that people are always just asking me questions and they'll say things like, "Well, my three year old has an iPad and when I'm playing on the iPad, I'll try to take it away from her and she has a tantrum and just screams,  what do I do? Oh, goodness, what do I do?" And I just look at them, Genie. I just look at them and I say, "Take it away." If you're going to take it away, take it away. But for me, there are so many questions like this that are not digital parenting questions. They're just parenting issues where parents are not placing boundaries, where parents don't have confidence in themselves already and then if you throw in tech, they start saying, "Oh, my goodness! I don't know how to deal with this."

Elizabeth 02:22

Everybody's talking about, the child has to have a smartphone or everybody's playing this game or that game and they just don't want to say no because it's technology. And I'm not saying to be some sort of 'no monster' and to say no to everything but, stick to your guns. If that's something that's not appropriate for your house, then the answer is no.

Genie 02:44

Okay. The answer is no.

Elizabeth 02:45

The answer is no.

Genie 02:46

It is difficult and the things that my community deals with, especially when you have a child who has a special needs, is understanding that your child has an accommodation where they do need to be have access to the Internet or the screen, but then they'll go to a doctor's appointment and then they're asked this question, "How much screen time does your child receive?"

Elizabeth 03:08

Right. And that's just not the right question. It is not how much screen time does your child receive? It's what type of screen time and how is your child acting as they're engaging in that screen? And afterwards, when you take it away, how are they acting? Those are all the things that you can look at and I do say that with children, with special needs as well, because, you know their behaviors and you will know if they are getting overstimulated or they're becoming more aggressive or less aggressive or I don't know what. As you watch them as they engage with those technologies.

 Elizabeth 03:42

And those are the things that I think parents and especially special needs parents need to be aware of that. This isn’t different per se, but it's just I would say just to be a little bit more attentive and to trust yourselves, you know your children. Somebody tells you that they shouldn't be doing this. They shouldn't be doing that and you have observed real benefits when your child was using a certain app or was playing a certain game. Don't second guess yourself. Just keep on observing how your child reacts with the technology and keep going.

Genie 04:14

Okay because that is a trigger question for me. I mean, that's a tricky question, because when they ask me, I have to go home or pull out my trusty phone. My phone guys, and say, what is the prescribed screen time for my child?

Elizabeth 04:30

Right. But there's no, no, no and that's the thing that kills me, too, because a few years ago, the American Pediatric Association, they had a hard and fast rule about no screens for children under two and then for two to five, it was one hour a day. I can't remember exactly and then etc. They then changed that just a few years ago because they realized that this is the digital age and that children are doing face time with grandma or Skype with grandpa, what have you, and that they couldn't just say no screen time, so I would like to emphatically state that not all screens are bad. Not all screen time is equal, and it's for the digital parents to discern the difference, to figure out what is going to work. And I think he said something that was really important about going home and looking at your own screen time and being a digital role model. I think that's so vital because our children see us and they want to be like us. I mean, even right now, I'm doing this podcast with you.

Elizabeth 05:27

I've got my thirteen-year-old in the other room. I am sure he is on an iPad because he's like, well, mommy's on the computer, and but when Mommy gets off, the computer, I’m always going to go have to go find something else to do and also help him transition off the iPad. So I guess there's so much to this and I think that we're putting so much unneeded pressure on ourselves to parent our children. Parenting in and of itself is already a challenge. Don't make the technology an additional burden and so that's why I say with digital parenting, you're bringing your offline parenting skills. You're just bringing them online, right? And so by the same token, I also say that when parents start freaking out about some sort of issue and they believe that it's a digital parenting issue, I say take the technology out and then think about what you would do. So, for example, with this little three year old, I just gave you with the iPad, right? So let's say that it wasn't an iPad that she was playing with. Let's say I do not know, that it was a book. Just a book. And this is her favorite book and she wanted it, but you need to get out of the house. You need to go somewhere and you need to take it away. And she's throwing a tantrum about the book. How are you going to decide? How are you going to act with this book?

Elizabeth 06:41

Are you going to say, I know what your favorite book? We can put it on a special shelf. It will be right back here for you. Let's take the smaller book or whatever else, or let's take the stuffed animal as we go up the house and that book will be right here when we come back. Whatever you need to get the job done, those are those creative skills that you need as a digital parent as well. And if you take the tech out, sometimes it'll calm you down where you no longer feel inept and unqualified and you're not tech savvy enough because knowing the technology has nothing to do with it. This is all about knowing your child and setting your family expectations.

Genie 07:18

And what you said, setting the expectations for your family And that's just important because as a parent, I get involved in tech myself. So when I even think about limiting or censoring their engagement, it's like, oh, what am I going to do? If I take it away, I have to entertain you.

Elizabeth 07:40

What are we going to talk about?

Genie 07:44

And it can be awkward when you're starting to do the first tentative. You step your toe in and you're sitting at the dinner table and you're like, "So how's school today?" Which is the killer question to ask a child, but we all do it like we get in the car, "How was your day?" 

Elizabeth 08:00


Genie 08:01

They're like, fine.

 Elizabeth 08:04

But I also say, Genie, it's funny that you mention that example, because I also tell parents to always add in and how was your online day. What do you do online today? What did you play online today? or did you play Fortnite? Did you play Minecraft? What happened? For you, Facebook or Snapchat was we can cool. What's trending on YouTube? Parents can show that kind of interest. We may not understand everything that they come back to us with. That's okay. Just get involved in so much of this, too, I mean, really, if you ask me if you said, Elizabeth, we only have two more minutes, what is your hot burning tip?

Elizabeth 08:37

And I would just say communicate. Just keep talking with your children as much as you can, however way that you communicate with them, that you connect with them to find out what they're doing and how they're doing, that's the best way, because you'll notice if there's changes, you'll notice if something might be bothering them. And, something happened in a Fortnite or something happened in Minecraft and then we'll be able to intervene. And again, you do not need to understand that Fortnite is a multi-shooter game, to know when your child says, "Oh, somebody came in and they shot me up and I lost,"  you know that they lost so you could help and say, "You know, it's a game you can play again tomorrow."  So, I just think to take the tech out, get to business.

Genie 09:20

You know, my son some say tries, because I do too sometimes. He's like, "Mom, can you play this game with me?" And I don't play the game with you. I say that to myself, but I'm like, oh, but he's trying to connect with me.

Elizabeth 09:32 


Genie 09:32

So I try and, we try and he get so mad.

Elizabeth 09:37

He gets a little frustrated with you. Let me guess, you don't know what you're doing.

Genie 09:41

Exactly. It's too many controls and he gets frustrated with me and he's not angry, he's just like he gets really frustrated, like, "Mom, what are you doing?" Especially if we're playing an RPG game where and for people who don't know the role-playing game and we're together, so he knows he can only get so far.

Elizabeth 10:01

You're holding him back to it. You are holding him back.

Genie 10:05 

Exactly. But I never thought to actually ask him, like he's up in his room. He was in a tie for the highest GPA for 6th grade. And I reward them for academics. So, he wanted games, five different games and he was in his room.

Elizabeth 10:26

Okay, wait, let me ask digital parenting questions. Did you check out all the games? Did you know all the app ratings?

Genie 10:32

I checked out all of the games. I use common sense.

Elizabeth 10:35

Perfect! Common sense media. Exactly. They are the go-to place for games and app reviews, non-profit association and even movies. They have even movie.

Genie 10:44

They're so good. We feel it and we use it together.

Elizabeth 10:49

Excellent. Perfect. Good. Yeah.

Genie 10:52

What I love about it is it used to be the conversation was, "Can I get this game?". I was, "Let me check.". Then finally, it evolved to let me share common sense media to he would come to me and say, "I want this game, can you check your website?" And now the conversation is he will check himself, he'll pull it up. He'll come and say, "This is the game is rated mature." However, the ratings for people who don't know about common sense media, they have an overarching rating, but then they have a rating from the parents and their rating from children. So, for instance, the game could be mature, just in general, mature. But a child will say, "I feel like this game is good. If you're twelve years old," your parent will say, "Well, I think this game is good if they're fourteen" and then they break down each different part of the game, the violence, sex so that kind of gives you an opportunity to really look at if it's mature, why is it mature? Is my child mature enough?

Elizabeth 11:49


Genie 11:49

To deal with it.

Elizabeth 11:50

I think you should also stress too that in common sense media, they'll tell you, for example, if it's for violence or for games or if there's profanity, they will tell you what is in the game, which I think is vital. But the other thing you need to remember and to tell your listeners is that for me, yes, I 100% go by common sense media. I love having my children look as well because they're able to say, oh, mom, you know, that's for babies or what have you. But to also remember that when you download something from the App Store, there might be one age there. And if you download it from the Google Play store, there might be a different age. So, just so that we parents know that these things it's not systematic, right? it's not all the way across the board. So, there is some flexibility just to keep that in mind.

Genie 12:35


Elizabeth 12:36 

I know you didn't know that.

Genie 12:38

I didn't know that and then, and I started to use common sense for everything that, oh, we're only going to get common sense.

Elizabeth 12:45

I think you should. In my opinion, I think you should but like I said, if you happen to go on the App Store and then saw the Google store and you saw that they had different ratings, don't freak out because for me, you've already done your due diligence by looking at common sense media because the app developers, themselves that to decide the rating for the games. Coming to the media is the way to go.

 Genie 13:03

So then with that, this is my next question, since we're talking about screen time, one thing that I started to do at the beginning of this school year from my 11-year-old was we have Google family. So Asar didn't use the app that limits screen time.

Elizabeth 13:19


Genie 13:19

So he would get so mad, so then I added the part. Also, Nintendo switch has it as well, but they also give them the ability to earn time if they do A, B, C and D, what do you think? Because I know like you guys, if you don't use these tools, it's fine. This conversation is to know that they are available.

 Elizabeth 13:40

Right. I think that's important to stress that. There isn't a simple rule for all families to just say, Okay, let me just download this app or upload this website. I'm a digital parent and my child is safe and I've got parental controls and that just does not exist, so you don't believe it. When you're talking about the Google family link, I believe I'm sure that's what you have. These things are tools, right? And they are excellent tools, but like anything, they can only be used so far. You can get around them, but they are a perfect talking moment. They are perfect resource for always continuing that conversation. So, for example, sitting down and explaining why there you are installing Family Link and the equivalent, your listeners who are on iOS, on Apple, the equivalent there is screen time and so as you sit there, so by the way, that means that nobody has an excuse not to have any sort of parental controls because pretty much the world is iOS or Android and so you're covered there. But as you sit down and go through screen time or digital well-being or Google Family Link, as you're going through that, you can just show your child, Okay, do you see this? Violent content? No. What are you going need that for? Okay, so let's mark that off. I don't want to say pornography, but they can see some of the adult themes, I think it might say, and you don't need to see that either.

 Elizabeth 14:59 

So let's check that off. And that way, your child is also in agreement. They're seeing what you are controlling, and when you start talking about the time, come on, we all know they shouldn't be online for 24/7, so that's simple, and you can ask them, well what do you think is a reasonable amount of time for you to be able to play some Fortnite and for you to get your work done and have your room cleaned and all that stuff, what's reasonable?

 Elizabeth 15:22

And then when they say three hours a day, you can say, Okay, well, I think maybe 30 minutes. You can talk them down. But I'm saying, as much as you can to include it. If you can't, you just put that on. That's fine, too. But just to give them those warning bells. So, for example, if you need to have dinner at 6:00 and it's 5:30, so you let them at 5:45, Okay, you've got 15 more minutes and then you've got to shut down and then you give them another call at five minutes. Five minutes. Okay, you got ten minutes left. How are you doing? Almost winding up? these are just some of the things that the digital parents can do and use and I think it's both for children with special needs and children without special needs. I just think that digital parents need to just roll up their sleeves and get in there even when we don't want to, even when it's not comfortable. Which takes me back to you, Genie. You had mentioned about playing with your son and not wanting to. I get you. I understand, but you don't have to play. You can just watch him play sometimes, too, right?

Genie 16:19

Oh, my goodness. That's right.

Elizabeth 16:21

I am not good. I play Minecraft. Any of your listeners, I just jump up and down inside, Okay and that's way funny to me. And I'm like telling my boy, say hi and I just think it's hysterical and my boys are like, "Mom, are you going to play now or you like jumping up and down?" Like I'm having a good time, so you just have to kind of decide how you're going to roll with it, but I think you can watch.

Genie 16:44 

And I never even thought he will ask me that sometimes. He'll say, "Mom, can you come downstairs and watch" I laugh because I'm terrible. I'm not terrible, terrible, but I look at all the opportunities that he has tried to connect with me and literally, as I watch you play games, when really I could have came down and sat with him and watched him play games and the reason why I said No; one, I don't want to do it, but the reason is because he has anxiety.

 Elizabeth 17:16


 Genie 17:17

So I'm like, in my mind, you don't want my company. You want me there to make you feel safe and I need you to be independent. I need you to know that you're safe.

Elizabeth 17:26

Okay, so then how about this, how about keeping him with his independence and say, you call me for the last five minutes of that Fortnite match or let me just watch you in the very beginning so I can see how you start the game off? Or are you're doing your victory dance royal. Let me come down and see you with your dance. Find just a small moment. Everything can be broken up, really. Everything can be broken. You don't sit there for hours. You don't want to sit there for hours. I don't want to sit there for hours or just. Just have them show you all of the skins, in Minecraft or in Fortnite, or if he's playing some sort of car game,  say show me your cars or show me your avatar or something. Okay, that's cool. I got you. Will you sit here and play now? I am going back upstairs.

 Genie 18:13

Ah okay. Yeah.

 Elizabeth 18:16 

Just get creative, Genie, you've got it.

Genie 18:18

I know I have it, but it's always room for growth, especially when you're dealing with a topic that, like you said, it's a new topic and we're constantly changing and growing to what's going on in the world and you have some people, I like to call OG's. They're coming into digital parenting with the same mindset of regular parenting, which makes it hard for some of us like myself, who I'm not, that's my parent. I'm a really flexible type of parent and when we start talking about regulation, screen, time, monitor, monitor, monitor, t's like, oh, extra, extra, extra.

Elizabeth 18:58

It's bright, but if you are asking me a tough question here, because it's true that there are some schools and I know of them, where there's just no tech, right? They remain OG, and they just say, our kids can have tech at 12 when they've proven that they can handle this, etc. We've seen in Silicon Valley that some of the tech leaders, they're like, my children do not have iPads. They don't have this. They don't have that. It's like, oh, my goodness. Well, why do all the rest of us have this stuff? So it's true that this does create a special sort of challenge and so that's why I'm always saying. First, I always say no parent shaming, no matter how parents role, whether they are letting their kids just sit there online all the time, which during the pandemic has happened to me a bit here in Paris.

 Elizabeth 19:41

No lie, no shame. I know. I've had to regroup afterwards and, to the parents who have absolutely, their children have nothing but for me, I just want all the parents who ho are OG, as you put it, to sit there and think, when it is time for your child to get that driver's license and learn how to drive a car, how are they even going to know what to do if they've never seen a car, if they've never looked at a car, if they were never a passenger in a car?

 Elizabeth 20:12

It's not to say that they won't get it. They will. But it's just, why makes things so much more difficult when they could just sit along on the ride with you as you drive the car, etc. So I just also think that we have to realize that, my goodness, this digital age has some incredible opportunities, but, yes, there are the risks that are there and I think that the best way, again, if we're using this driving the car example, the best way that we can help our children understand the risk of being out there on that highway is if we are talking about it and you talk about how it's necessary to wear a seatbelt, how you don't drink and drive.I mean, you see what I'm saying? We have to talk about some of the risky things that are out there, the grooming, the cyber bullying so that way we can give our children strategies to get out of those situations when they happen and they will happen.

Genie 21:05

Right. Holding those conversations instead of just setting guidelines and rules.

Elizabeth 21:09

Right. As I told you in the beginning, it's communication.

Genie 21:12

It's communication.

 Elizabeth 21:13

It's always talking with them, always letting them know what your point of view is about this, how you feel about this, giving them some strategies, finding out how they're doing, how they're feeling. My goodness, that's really very important matter, how they feel and I would say that I think that's even more important when we're talking about special needs, just because we're talking about children who could be hyper-focused or impulsive or high-energy. I mean, so we really need to pay attention to their feelings.

Genie 21:44

We say feelings like I felt like something in my chest. My nine-year-old loves YouTube. He loves YouTube and a lot of times, we have in our community, when we talk about YouTube, it's almost like we're saying, oh, it's like stare me. They just kind of binge on it, but then I will read other things. I'm like, Okay, so no, this is not just for children who are on the spectrum or are hyper focused. It's like all the children are doing it and then when we talk about conversation about my heart, like beating, really how they feel.

Genie 22:20

My son loves YouTube. And we're constantly trying to have conversations with me about YouTube and sometimes, I engage, sometimes I won't, which I'm going to tell you guys. He has autism spectrum disorder. As far as the social emotional piece, it's a piece that he's developing. So to have your child go from might not be interested in anyone to saying, "Mom, who's your favorite YouTuber?" And my response is, "I don't watch YouTube." And his response was, "Oh! Maybe we can find a favorite YouTuber." And my response is, not good when I'm listening to you, I'm like, "Oh, my God, the opportunities."

Elizabeth 23:02 

You are not lost, they're not lost.

Genie 23:04 

They're not lost because he comes downstairs because we have been in lockdown.

Elizabeth 23:08


Genie 23:09

And he comes downstairs and he's like, "Yeah, mom, do you know" Okay, for whatever reason, audience, he must have watched something about tapeworms. So it's a continuous conversation for the last two weeks, random tapeworm conversations and he cannot understand if you do not want to engage, he cannot understand when I tell him this person, this YouTube or excuse me, he's a person but YouTuber voice is so annoying.

Elizabeth 23:40


Genie 23:41

He cannot even understand.

Elizabeth 23:43

I got that too, but already I'm promising you right now that I will come back onto the podcast and do something just special around YouTube because it is so huge. So already what I'm thinking just very quickly, is that YouTube is a tricky thing, right? So they created YouTube Kids because YouTube is not made for adults and no parent shaming, my boys are 11 and 13. They are on YouTube, but if you go, Genie, two clicks on YouTube, 2-3 clicks and for example, on the right hand side, it has all those thumbnails and suggested videos. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom, click that one and then keep doing that for a couple of pages. Just keeps rolling to the bottom. You will eventually get to pornography. Okay?

Genie 24:30


Elizabeth 24:30


Genie 24:31

You know what? At one point, my nieces were watching cartoons and the next thing you know.

Elizabeth 24:38


Genie 24:38 

I was seeing dolls like Barbie and Ken, but the entire conversation interaction was adult. I was like, wait a minute, what is going on? This is not for kids. And they were like, "No, they're dolls”. These are not for...No. So then we switch back over to Kids YouTube so and then eliminate everything. And my son is like, "What is it?"

Elizabeth 25:03

Then that's the big problem, right? Because YouTube kids is very infantile, but even bad stuff gets on there, too. So if you look at YouTube Kids and in fact in my book, which I know that you're getting, one of the things that I did was show some screenshots, is that when you first download YouTube Kids, they have disclaimers. They're saying, you realize that we do our best to moderate this, but sometimes pornography, nudity can slip in. I mean, so you acknowledge that when you download YouTube kids and to give YouTube and Google their do they try like heck to moderate and it's just that there is I think it's like six hundred videos being uploaded every, I want to say second but I'm perhaps I'm exaggerating. I can't recall, but it is just enormous the amount of videos that are being uploaded and when we talked about the children's content, if you just go on Google and put Peppa Pig porn or Dora cursing, there are tons of kids videos where somebody thought it was funny to have Dora cursing people out.

Elizabeth 26:04

And so, you as an adult, I can tell that's kind of funny but for a kid, it's not funny. And there is a lot of problems and problematic use with YouTube, but what I was going to suggest is that with your son, who loves YouTube, one of the ways that you can prevent this is by having him only look at certain YouTube channels that you are subscribed to. So these are channels that you've looked at and that you vetted so like Nickelodeon Channel or Sesame Street Channel or National Geographic Channel, he can see all the tapeworms he wants in National Geographic, I'm sure and you know that there will be no chance of porn or grooming or anything crazy because Genie, let's not forget the comments. If they're reading the comments and stuff in the comments that I was just like, no. I was watching with my son. We were watching a Minecraft tutorial because we were trying to figure out how to do something.

Elizabeth 27:00

And when I say we, that means he was trying to figure it out, but I was just sitting there doing mommy time next to him and this YouTube, it was fine, the video and the comments and somebody had said, that's so funny. You named all the names of the streets. Actually, they were all in words, and I was just like, look at this and so what did I do? Of course, I said, Okay, we're not going to watch this YouTube anymore. And then I gave them a teaching moment saying, listen, online, we are going to see things about black people, about brown people, about all sorts of people, Americans, French, Russian, what have you. And it's just like this is not how we behave. We're not going to do that and you saw it. It's just like walking down the street. You can walk on the street in any city in the world and hear people cursing and you just say, Okay, that was him you just walked by but that's not you.

Genie 27:50


Elizabeth 27:51

Teaching moments. They're all over YouTube.

Genie 27:56

So I'm like, I'm in all right, now. Wow! I don't even read the comments or anything like that, but I wanted to ask to take a moment, because when we mentioned child pornography, as soon as you say, I was on it. I knew exactly what you were talking about. When you say the word pornography, most people would think, oh, pornos made porno.

Elizabeth 28:17


Genie 28:17

People are having sex. But when we talk about child pornography.

Elizabeth 28:21

Oh, right. Okay, yeah. For sure, it's two different things. So pornography, of course, being consenting adults engaged in sexual activities and then child pornography. In fact, most of us in the child online protection area, we no longer say child pornography, although this is the term that your listeners, everybody's going to understand but it's really child sexual abuse imagery and videos because these children are being sexually abused. That is what child pornography is. It's abusing children because they're under 18. They can't consent. And so, what I'm talking about YouTube and actually, it's interesting because here, there was some stuff with child pornography on YouTube. If you recall, it was a few years ago, we had some American advertisers who were pulling their ads off of Google because of some of the child pornography that was advertised on YouTube videos. For example, of young girls doing gymnastics, young girls wearing leotards, doing ballet and so then all the pedophiles were going into this website and watching home videos of little girls doing gymnastics, little girls doing ballet because lots of proud parents put their children on YouTube or online.

 Elizabeth 29:26

And these guys were having conversations in the comments. And it would also send you to regular child pornography, child sexual abuse images, websites. So that was a huge, huge problem a few years ago, but I also think...actually, what I have just discovered last week, an engineer in my digital community. So you saw this on Facebook. I spoke to a woman. Her name is Dr. Gail Dines and she runs Culture Reframed in the United States in Boston, I believe. Oh, my goodness. You can hear me talking about age verification and child pornography. So trying to keep children from seeing pornography, not child pornography and I was absolutely amazed to learn about how our young children are seeing adult pornography and because it's something that they see so regularly that they feel that this is how romantic relationships are, I'm not going to go into too much detail but let's just say that these are sexual acts that imagine whatever you could see in any pornography film.

Elizabeth 30:25

And to think about little 11-year-old and 12-year-old boys. Yes, our boys age watching this and thinking that this is what girls like. And this is a huge moment that digital parents do not realize and don't just think it's limited to. They can see it on Snapchat, they can see it on Instagram, and they're just going to step back. Let's not panic, everybody, take a deep breath. Take a deep breath. Don't know how can get some parents out there drinking. Take a deep breath, everybody. It's not that it's we got to have conversations and you can't take the stuff away because if you take away their smartphone or their tablet, their little neighborhood friend will be so happy to show them on their smartphone or tablet. So it's about talking to our children and having that communication about giving them strategies. What do you do if someone tries to show you some naughty videos or some naughty pictures? What do you do? Are you with me, Genie?

Genie 31:19

I'm with you as you're talking, I'm thinking, I used to be in child care way back in the day, but even you fast forward to currently, you have situations with children and the parents are like, oh, I don't know where they learn that from. Not understanding that.

 Elizabeth 31:35


Genie 31:35

Because let's be honest, a lot of times, even though the school administration is like, we don't know where he got this from, is almost like they're kind of saying it's you but as a parent, you're totally confused and it's probably something that they're watching that we are not understanding that they're watching.

Elizabeth 31:53


Genie 31:55

And how it looks like I say about the Barbie dolls, if I was just walking by, I would assume because it's Barbie dolls, that it was kid-friendly. I just happened to stop because it was like the whole conversation. I think was Barbie was pregnant then they were talking. The whole conversation is what means up.

Elizabeth 32:13


Genie 32:13

And then I had to explain to them everything on YouTube is not for kids, but like you say, scrolling down but even with the scroll down, if your child is watching it and it keeps playing video after video after video, you eventually hit it.

Elizabeth 32:27

Exactly and of course, you can use parental controls to stop this and to stop the next recommended video, which you can do on Netflix as well, because Netflix is the king of it, getting to sit there and watch everything. I think I saw all of scandal in one day. It felt like it because I was watching way too much, but it's very true that you can stop that recommended video feature. You can stop it, but how many people know these things? How many people are going to dig through the Netflix setting, the Amazon Prime, the Disney plus settings or even YouTube settings to figure these things out, and so that is something that I cutted you when I'm speaking with technology companies is to say make it simpler, make it easier for us. We've already got enough to do. Trying to parent these children in today's age. Make it easier for us.

Genie 33:13

I'm being honest with you. After we went back to YouTube and then I had to Google how the settings on. Then I had to own one device. I couldn't figure out the other device. Then I had someone on Facebook tell me, like, you could do it. Then I tried to do it and I was like, I'll come back and I didn't come back.

Elizabeth 33:34

Yeah, it's difficult. It's really difficult. If that's so difficult, that there are people who offer services like that configuring and I don't know if it's the same in the United States, but here in France, for example, if you go to your Internet service provider, you go into their little service shop, they will show you how to configure it. In fact, they get one for these to have little workshops. They stop doing them, but they were very useful because they make it so complicated and it doesn't have to be.

Genie 34:04

So difficult and who has time to ask for the Google settings? It was I know who I am as a person and I know that the harder it gets, so I'm not going to be resilient. I need to get this done. Here we go. Chat, tell me how to fix it and then well, did you look? Okay, yeah, look and it's not working because I am asking you but tell me what I need to do because I need to move on.

Elizabeth 34:26

Exactly. I think in general, I think that again, for all your listeners not to be freaked out about our conversation because we're keeping it very real. But, to realize, again, there are tons of opportunities and we need some of this technology and special education students are just the technology that's there is fantastic some of the things that are available. So, I just want to keep that in mind, not to hyperventilate and just to realize that you can tame YouTube a bit. You really can and it's difficult. I admit it's difficult, but you can.

Genie 34:58

Yeah, I'm like, oh, he loves it so much. But I mean, to be honest, he made me feel this better about my whole experience and where we are today but just learning how to engage with him, that's his mode of communication and I have been totally blocking it.

Elizabeth 35:13

Yeah, but you're not the only one and just think it's also the same thing with a teenager or a kid with a smartphone and they've done something wrong and the parents and they take away the smartphone. You have just shut off their network. You have shut them down. It's a great punishment tool for sure, but be careful. Think of the consequences and if you're going to shut them down, let it be just 24 hours. I had one mom who shut her kid down for three months because he had talked back and I was just like, Okay, wait a minute, let me talk to you  with this because you have effectively cut your six year old off from everything and I know some of you thin, you're exaggerating. They could pick up a landline, please. When was the last time you saw somebody pick up a landline phone that was under 18 and not even just for talking, for getting homework, for chatting, for sharing pictures. They went out to the mall. They saw something. I mean, it's like I said, it's the real deal if you guys are going to shut down the technology. But just understand what you're doing and how much they need it and want it.

Genie 36:13

I'm laughing, but you know what? I don't take it away for extended times. But when I was in my 20's, I used to tell a coworker of mine I was like, you need to take it the way power and she's like, "What is that?" I give it to my child to take it away. She was like "What?" I was like, "Yes." She said, "Well, I don't know." I said, "What you have to do is take the time to discover what they like, even if you have to pay for it. So when they don't do what you want, you can't take it away" and she was like, what?

Genie 36:43

I was like, yes. And I said, it does not have to be a toy. It does not have to be a phone like what you're talking about. It doesn't have to be that. My daughter loved cheer. My daughter has a chronic asthma. She would be in the back. I got to go cheer. If I told her, she could go to cheer because she didn't do something in school, she would be so upset and then she would like tighten right back up. And for my son, I guess, unconsciously, I acknowledge the devices in his life so usually, if he does something it's like devices, I take it for an hour.

Elizabeth 37:13

Oh, goodness, that's fine.

Genie 37:15

The device, I take them in two hours because I think at one time, and I've never done extended periods, it was the look on his face.

Elizabeth 37:23


Genie 37:24

When I said it, where I kind of like paused and asked myself, Well, you have not created alternatives for him outside of maybe he can read a book that he has in his library. But we talk about balances and conversations and this is what occurs when you take away the device playing games. So for me, to say I'm going to take your phone for the rest of the day and it's nine o'clock in the morning, I'm going to take all your devices because that's a lot. And his whole body, just like, uh. I took away his world and I changed them. I was like, no, it's an hour and then I was like, if you do it again, I am gonna increased the time, kind of like the concept that people used to use when they put kids in the corner, like how do you, five minute rule.

Elizabeth 38:11

Exactly. But this is it to folks and it's looking at them and seeing how they're reacting and finding that pain point. But, obviously not making it so painful.

Genie 38:21


Elizabeth 38:21

Just a little bit of consequence, but it's tough. It's a whole new game, a whole new area and I think all parents are struggling and some of them don't even know that they need to be struggling. They think they have it all handled, but one day at a time.

Genie 38:38

One day at a time. But also want to ask this question. Since we are all in lockdown, Okay?

Elizabeth 38:46


Genie 38:46

This was my monitoring of screen time, so this is what it look like. I read somewhere for my children. They said they only get by 4 hours or 6 hours, which is so cringe for me. But this was my logic. In the morning, no TV or screen time. Then you go to school, it's like, oh, 8 hours. So when you get home, go enjoy yourself all the way to bedtime. Go ahead. I don't really have to monitor you. That was my plan. Okay, so plans in YouTube, why COVID were in here? And even with my youngest son, they both were doing virtual school, but they gave him ten-minute breaks and every ten-minute break, he's running up those stairs to watch his YouTube and now, I'm like, what are we going to do because we're in his house. Oh, I don't know what to do because I was using school as the time block.

Elizabeth 39:44 

Right. But you are not alone. It's the same over here in Paris, France. We are easing out of lockdown and my schedule is not perfect. I don't have the schedule yet. I do know that I just signed my boys up not next week, but for the following week, virtual summer school to make up for a lot of what we didn't do during the past three months and I already know summer school is four hours a day online. And I said, Okay, but you guys, if you're doing the school work and you continue to do have good grades and you're respectful and they sometimes lose it on that, that respectful part is they kind of like mad dog me and look around.

Elizabeth 40:17

So they have to adjust things. But every family is different and I know that my boys will be playing. I know that sometimes I'll be sitting next to them watching them play. Sometimes, I will be playing but I think that everybody has to just give themselves a break during this COVID-19 stuff and I mean a break from the over tech that we've done, all of the overindulging and I am not a psychiatrist, but I just feel like we are all putting so much guilt onto ourselves because we drink one glass too many or we ate one cake too many, or our kids are online a little bit too much. Let's just get over it. Let's be thankful that we are healthy and coming out of this and we will find a way to get those boundaries back in place. I will find a way to lose these pounds.

Genie 41:04 


Elizabeth 41:06

Or not. But it's okay. It's okay, Genie and same thing with your boys right now. The only thing I would suggest is and it's not even suggestion, it's just, again, to keep on observing their behavior because it's true. This is a stretch. And just to make sure that they understand that this is not forever, that this is a special time. This is why we make sure they understand it, because we don't want locked down to be over. And they're sitting there saying, well, we're not going outside right here, you know? So just to make sure that they realize that this is special, special, special time and the special time will be over. You might even want to make it on a calendar so that they can visually see it and get that this is not forever, because I do think that whenever we're talking about children who may be a little bit more vulnerable. Let's just make it as simple as possible for them to get it. Why that's this fun time, this bonanza of screen time is not going to last forever.

Genie 42:05

My conversation again. I think sometimes as a parent, we really just are looking forward and these are the rules and not understanding that children have to engage in a conversation. They have to know, the WHY. Why do I need to do A, B, C and D because what happens is they engage with the outside that is something that they don't have a choice. The older they get, the more empowered they feel when they have choices and I'm learning that with my 11-year-old.

Elizabeth 42:36

Yeah, of course. I think it's interesting, too because I never thought about this stuff until I actually was not even becoming a parent, but it was really more they started looking to this digital parenting stuff that I started realizing that so much of what we do and learn as parents and that communication, we just are extending it to this technology into the digital age and we're learning things as far as we you're telling your child no for something and remember that you don't say no all the time, say yes, but not right now. In a minute.

Elizabeth 43:08

Exactly, whatever. And it's just like so much of that translates into the digital age, too. And I just think we're all growing. We are all learning. And I'm sure that if we asked our parents too back in the day, if they thought we would manage after watching TV as much as we did or trying to hang out at the mall as much as we did it. For me, it was the roller rink. I was always trying to get to the roller rink. We all had our different things and I think that if we stay together as a community and we keep on talking about it and we keep sharing what is working, what's not working, people in your community, if they reach out when they need some extra support, this is how we're going to get through it. I mean, it's like everything I think I told you that my niece has Down Syndrome and it's just like if you don't know what other people are doing, you're doing it all on your own and you don't have to do it all on your own.

Genie 43:55

And it's stressful.

Elizabeth 43:56

It's really stressful. And we don't need that, we already have enough stress.

Genie 44:00

Enough stress. We need that community. Do you have [inaudible 44:03], baby? So you have a blog and it talks about the 5C's of digital parenting, communication, critical thinking, confidence and continue conversation, which is so good because when you flesh out the 5C's and you look at our conversation, guys, you can see, she's speaking and living.

Elizabeth 44:26

Yeah. And you know what's so funny, Genie, is I wrote that post. I don't even remember once. I took the dates off because I am not blogging. But that's okay. I try to make it evergreen, so that it will last forever. But what's really interesting is with the 5C'S is that the more I've been doing this, I think I wrote that probably a year and a half ago or two years ago, the more I realized that's it, anybody would ask me, what's the secret, that is the recipe. And it's so much the recipe that last year the Council of Europe, which for your listeners, it's the largest international human rights organization here in Europe, they cover 47 European countries. So when I do work for them and I do a lot of digital parenting guide that's free and there's also six videos on grooming and sextortion and revenge porn, all that stuff, free, free, free but while I was doing this, they asked me last year what was the other topic.

Elizabeth 45:17

And I was like, Oh yeah, the 5C'S, but what was really interesting, Genie is that I had been talking to a bunch of parenting experts and they kept talking about positive parenting. And I was like, wait a minute, this is the same thing and so what's really cool is that the Council of Europe had come out with a positive parenting statement. I remember when a few years ago, and so what I just did is I applied that positive parenting statement to the digital age, which is the 5C'S and when that free guide is out, I will share with you as well as it should be out probably enough, but I would say less than a month. It'll be available because that's what it is. So that's a secret. That’s it. Communication, confidence, conversation, critical skills. Yep.

Genie 46:00

So because this is the Parenting Cipher, which is a nod to the hip-hop Cipher where we get to build on each other's knowledge, I always ask this question, what's your favorite hip-hop song or song that empowers you and you say anything from Beyoncé.

Elizabeth 46:17

Anything from Beyoncé.

Genie 46:18

When I read it, I was like, yeah, empowers you. Yes, it does.

Elizabeth 46:23

Anything from Beyoncé. I don't care what it is from six-inch heels, freedom. It doesn't matter. Even Bootylicious. Fine, I'll take it. I'm a survivor. Anything. Girls run the world. Please, how can you say just one song. It's anything. No, I can't. And that was very simple.

Genie 46:43

When I read I was like, I got you. Yeah. I feel you. And I asked my parents on the podcast, what's the moment that made you decide to take charge of your child's education instead of letting the school lead? And your response was, I have always known as a black American educating my children in schools in France that my input and guidance was necessary. When I read this, I was like, oh!  

Elizabeth 47:10


Genie 47:12

Girl, what are you talking about?

Elizabeth 47:14

Yeah, it's very simple. So here we go. It's different over here. And, for all of the listeners who were growing up thinking about Josephine Baker and Richard Wright and how they were living large in France, Okay, yeah, it's true. But then there's some blog posts which you guys can read some blogs. One is called Entree to Black Paris. There are a lot of black Americans here in Paris and our situation, our stories. I love living here. I've lived here now for 26. Yeah, I left here. I was a lawyer and left. Just going to come over for a year and do an MBA and not come back. My parents are still waiting. It's just like I did not go back, but my whole point is that there are differences and the best one I could tell you is that people sometimes see me on the street and say, oh, she's from Cameroon or just from Senegal and then I'll start speaking and they will hear my beautiful French, but with a very American accent. And they say, Oh! she's American and it changes everything. So, for me, it's difficult to even say racism because that's not what we're talking about here.

Elizabeth 48:26

But colonialism, there is a serious problem, I would say, with people dealing with their former colonies. And as a black American, the arms are wide open. Life is good. But if I get up, I said I am from Cameroon or Senegal, they like to be a little less good. So that's kind of some of the tough things, but I want to make sure. And so, for example, for my boys’ school, every year I'm going in there and I do the Internet safety talk. I also do Black History Month, and they're always looking at me like black history. We're not in the United States, but I am on London, England, right across the way there, and they celebrate Black History Month, but they celebrate in October. So here we go. Since February, let's roll and they let me come, and it's really, really cool. It's important and again, I just think that it's necessary for children to know as much as they can about where they come from.

Genie 49:18 

I mean, that's a word. I spoke to education curriculum designer yesterday and she was talking about race in conversations you have your children. And what was powerful for me was when she started talking about when you talk about African-American history, who are you talking about? Are you talking about the more emphasis on the negative or are you talking from a positive perspective? And when she said that, I was like, oh, that's so good, because when you talk it from a positive perspective, it's all of the good things. But you can still have that conversation about race and say, okay, well, we always have had our lives. Everyone isn't against Black people. I mention we were talking early before we started recording when you went to France in February. My mom's like French people are racist. I'm like, no Mom, you have to understand the country and she's watching the news. So, I think at the time on the news, they were talking about the refugees.

Elizabeth 50:18

Refugees are yellowjackets because we had fights, we had problems, fights, protests.

Genie 50:22

Right. So, I was like, Mom, first of all, take a breath, Okay and understand that they have some other conversations going on. I have absolutely nothing to do with you. So, I need you to open up your mind and don't bring your experience over to another country, because when you're here, you're ready, even if you don't want to admit that you ready. You ready for someone to look at a certain way. You're ready, someone says something to you. You could be the nicest person in the whole world, but you ready.

Elizabeth 50:55

That is so true.

Genie 50:57

So a cleansing because she said he's coming back, guy.

Elizabeth 51:04

I'm definitely coming back. But also, Genie, one of the things you just said, talking with your education curriculum person, it just kind of resonated for me about how she said when you're talking about African-American history, to talk about all of it. So the positive and the negative. And for me, that's like the perfect closing with digital parenting too that perfect parallel about, yeah, there are so many negatives. Yep, yep, yep. You hear about it. We read about it. But gosh, don't forget all the positive and to just do the research around it and to figure out how you're going to explain to your children what you want them to use and what you don't want them to do.

Genie 51:40

This has been awesome.

Elizabeth 51:41

You pulled it together, not me. So, pleased with the listeners know where they can connect with you because she's on Facebook. But you want to go to the site. I was going to say no, I am on Facebook. Actually, I really don't use Facebook as an individual. So, if you go, you'll see my picture in a little black screen behind me. That's it. But you can join my private free Facebook group, which is called the Digital Parenting Community and basically, in there I have parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and child online protection experts like myself and psychiatrists and psychologists and just anybody and everybody trying to help and support each other and one of the things that I'm really excited about that we just posted, I think last month when Genie, where I was asking for educational resources, for special needs kids.

Genie 52:33

Yes, I did.

Elizabeth 52:34

Yeah. So everybody's in there just kind of pitching in. It takes a community. I know everybody's heard that African proverb. It takes a village to raise a child. I always say it takes a digital parenting community to raise a digital citizen.

Genie 52:48 

Yeah. Oh! 

Elizabeth 52:49

Mic drop. So they can come over into the group that we can have direct access to me but they can always visit my website, the digitalparentingcoach.com website and then they can find me on all social media, Instagram, Pinterest, just regular Facebook business page, Twitter with just @digiparentcoach. And they can even see me on Snapchat and TikTok up with @digiparentcoach and YouTube.

Genie 53:19

Look at you, you're on TikTok.

Elizabeth 53:21

No, you will not see me TikTok. You will not see me doing the renegade okay, but you will see me watching everybody else, so I could report back to parents what those crazy kids are doing online.

Genie 53:32 

You're also like me, we are watchers. 

Elizabeth 53:35

I'm a watcher. If I could be on TikTok with that little Twitter, I am just watching.

Genie 53:45

Oh well, thank you again. We look forward to hear from you. Next time, about YouTube.

Elizabeth 53:50

Yes, for sure. And actually, Genie, let me put the challenge out to your listeners too. Tell them to send me some questions, because I'm researching and doing some work on digital parenting and special needs. So if they ask me, and it's special concern, just let me know so I can dig it up and read it and report back to you guys.

Genie 54:06

Okay. Thank you so much.

Elizabeth 54:10

You're welcome.

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