A Conversation With Teen Girls About Phones And Social Media

Raising Daughters | Phones And Social Media


Ever wonder how teenagers view social media and their phones? Listen in as four teen girls candidly discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly about social media and their devices.

Dr. Tim Jordan sits down with four young women about their relationships with social media and their devices. They also open up about how they first got their mobile devices, how their parents handled this step in their lives, and how they have since used their phones. From their frequently used social media applications to the way they communicate, these girls help us understand what social media and their devices mean to them. Tune in to uncover more about the way teenagers look at the digital landscape, navigate social media, and establish connections through their devices. Dr. Jordan facilitates an insightful conversation, delving into the impact of technology on their daily lives, self-esteem, relationships, and more!

Listen to the podcast here


A Conversation With Teen Girls About Phones And Social Media

I appreciate you stopping by here, especially when I have an episode like we’re going to have. I’ve invited four women here who are in high school to talk about an important topic. I hear a lot about social media on the news. I read lots of articles. Always, it’s from the perspective of parents, teachers, and educators. It’s always fear-laced. We don’t oftentimes hear from kids themselves.

These aren’t kids. These are young women but still, I wanted to get their opinion. I want them to give you some information about their views on devices, phones, social media, and all those things. First of all, thank you for coming in and giving us your time. Have you also gotten lots of information and negativity about your phones and social media from everybody?


The first thing I want to ask is this. How old were you when you got your first phone?

I was in sixth grade, and then I got another one at the beginning of eighth grade or the end of seventh grade.

I was in sixth grade.

I was in eighth grade.

I was fifth.

Everything was blocking my phone except for messages so I could call my parents because of sports and rides. That’s the only reason I got a phone that early.

Before you got your phone, did your parents sit you down and go through a process of educating you about what’s okay and what’s not like, “This is how you use it?”

My parents wrote up a contract. I’m not even joking. I had to sign it and then they laid out all the rules. There were clauses. It was crazy.

My mom also did a contract. She didn’t make me sign it but she made me read over it, and then we ended up forgetting about the contract. It was never brought up again ever. The only thing that I had to do with that contract with my first phone was to put it in her room at night because she didn’t want me to have it.

I wrote my mom a contract because I wanted a phone so bad. The person around me had their phone and my mom wanted me to wait until freshman year because that’s when my brother and sister got it but I wrote her contract. I was like, “I’ll never use it in the car or at the dinner table. I’ll only use it at this.” I still didn’t get one.

Some parents will spend a little bit of time at least trying to do some education. Some of them have contracts if not written or verbal but I’m curious. Did your parents follow up with the agreements and all?

Mine did for a couple of years.

At the beginning of high school, my mom would make me put it in her room at night. I would have phone checks and she would go through everything on my phone.

My mom didn’t check my phone but she would make me put it in her room at night. She wanted to know the password to it. Even with the phone that I have now, she wanted me to make it my birthday so that she could get into it but I changed it. She also trusts me now a lot more than she did back then. I changed it. It’s something that she’s not going to know.

My mom still knows my password. My phone doesn’t have my face ID but it has hers.

She can open it up anytime she wants.

I don’t have the face ID.

Next question, how old were you when you were allowed to go on social media?

Allowed or when I did it?

Those are two different questions. Let’s start with allowed and then talk about when you did.

In high school.

Whenever I got my phone, my mom didn’t care because I had a tablet before that. I had social media and she didn’t care that much.

I had Musical.ly in fifth grade but the first time I got Instagram, I was thirteen. I was in eighth grade.

Was there a twenty-page contract for that?

There was no contract for that. It was crazy. When I had Musical.ly before I had my phone, it was on my dad’s phone and my dad was like, “You can use it but don’t tell your mom.”

How about you? When did you get social media?

I got it right when I got my phone. My parents didn’t set boundaries, “Here’s what you’re allowed to have. Here’s what you’re not allowed to have.” I had Musical.ly on my mom’s phone before I had one.

You were in eighth grade. How about you?

Probably seventh grade is when I got social media.

I always encourage parents to sit down with their daughters and say, “Show me what you know. Show me Instagram. Show me all these things. Show me TikTok. Show me the kinds of sites that you want to go on or that you’ve been on.” You can educate them and they can educate you. Did that happen to any of you?

No. They just told me that they didn’t want me to have social media until high school. I talked my mom into it. My dad did not want it at all.

My mom didn’t care because she had already dealt with it with my brother and my sister.

What sites do you use the most?

Instagram and Snapchat.

I have TikTok but I don’t use it that much. I use it if my friends send me TikToks. I’ll scroll my For You page, send them a couple, and then go on Instagram Reels because they’re so much more entertaining.

Instagram Reels are so much more entertaining.

I like watching videos too. I watch cooking videos and it’s the nicest thing.

I’m sure you check out these episodes every week when it comes out on Instagram. Thank you. What sites?

Snapchat and Instagram.

TikTok is what I use the most. I get overwhelmed by Snapchat and I never respond to people. I wait until Snapchat automatically opens my notifications and then I’ll snap people back. My friends hate me for it. They’re like, “You’ve left me on Delivered for three weeks.” I’m like, “You’re not different from anybody else. Everybody is left on Delivered for three weeks.”

What do you like the most about Snapchat and Instagram? I’ll move on to TikTok.

To be honest, I hate Snapchat. I would much rather you text my number than text me on Snapchat because I’m not going to answer Snapchat right away. I’ll answer my messages right away but if you text me on Snapchat, I’m probably going to take three hours to answer you.

My friend gets so hurt. If I don’t check it within the first five minutes that she sends it to me, she’s like, “Check Snap.” Text me here if you want me to look at Snapchat.

Is that true for all of you that people get pissed?

If I have left my friends unopened for three days because I don’t talk to many people on Snapchat and stuff, then they’re like, “Why do you always leave me unopened?”

I don’t respond within days, even my sister. I don’t open our family group chat for a week. I am so bad at responding.

Do your friends get angry at you, frustrated, or anxious because you haven’t responded? You’re saying that a lot of times if it has been three hours, they start getting worried.

Sometimes they will text you, “Open this now.”

My friend Riley will text me and ask me for Snapchat answers or homework answers and I’ll give it to her after three hours to do it again.

Maybe it’s more prevalent in middle school. A lot of middle school girls get more anxious if people don’t respond right away. They’re worried if they lose a friend. They get all worked up when somebody has a game. That may not be as true as you all say because you’re older.

It’s like that with significant others.

What do you get mostly out of those sites? What’s the draw?

I like looking at it for things that I’m interested in. I use Instagram because I love Formula 1. I follow every Formula 1 driver account.

Race cars?

I spend so much time on Instagram learning about Formula 1 and following all the drivers. It’s so fun. I do something like that.

One of our past campers works for NASCAR.

That’s not as cool as Formula 1.

It’s not the same thing. It’s cars, isn’t it?

It’s so different. We have been over this too.

What else do you get out of it besides Formula 1?

Watching videos. I’m one of those people who’s always watching animal videos on Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.

How many hours a day do you spend doing that?

Too much.

20 minutes, 6 hours, or 3 hours?

Let me get my screen time.

We’re going to do that next. I want to ask you first how much time you think you spend on it.

It’s probably four hours or maybe more.

I saw my report. I know what it is.

What is it?

It’s 3 hours and 47 minutes.

On which sites?

On my phone in total a day.

That would include?

All of them, Instagram, text, FaceTime, and everything.

Not YouTube videos?

It does if you watch YouTube but I don’t watch YouTube on my phone.

It’s probably three.

Mine is honestly nine at least. It’s bad.

That would include what?

TikTok. That’s it. It’s mostly TikTok. Sometimes, during the day, I’ll scroll through TikTok for an hour because it’s not enough time to do something else. I’m a slow reader. I can’t pick up a book and read for an hour because I won’t finish a chapter. I’m not interested. I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I can’t do art for an hour. I don’t have art supplies. There’s so much more that goes into a hobby than scrolling on TikToks. It’s so easy.

Quickly take out your phone and check what’s the real answer about how much time. What’s an average week?

For social media or in general?

My daily average for a week is 3 hours and 58 minutes. It’s about four hours.

Mine is 3.27.

Mine was 9 hours but then it was 5 hours.

You’re in a retreat with no phone. How about you, the girl with the blue shirt?

It is not popping up. There’s nothing. It says, “As you use your phone, screen time will be recorded here.” I’m never on my phone.

That doesn’t include YouTube. How many of you spend time on YouTube watching videos?

If I spend time on YouTube, it’s not on my phone. It’s on my TV so I can see a big screen.

That still counts.

My screen time was bad. It’s 14 hours and 51 minutes on Instagram. That’s for the week.

That’s two hours a day.

That’s the whole thing.

How much time do you spend watching movies and stuff or videos?

Not a lot.

I watch YouTube a lot but it depends. I’ll switch from my phone to my TV but if I’m watching something on my TV, I’ll turn it off, put it on my phone, go downstairs, and make food.

I spend more time on Netflix and stuff.

I don’t have time to watch TV.

You have a boyfriend who’s in college.

A few hours away.

I’m always FaceTiming. That would be my screen time. It’s FaceTime.

When you come to camp for a week, there are no phones. When you come to weekend retreats, there are no phones. You take a break. Do you ever take breaks? What do you like about the breaks you get when you come to camp?

I don’t have to worry about texting people back, drama, or anything. I don’t have to worry about that type of stuff. I don’t have to worry about the stress of having to look out for my friends and everything.

I feel more present. Sometimes I’ll be on my phone and enjoy it but then I’ll spend too much time and be upset with myself for that. It’s less of me being frustrated with how I choose to spend time.

I’ll be on my phone and I’m like, “I don’t want to do this. This is boring,” but I do it because I don’t have anything else to do. At camp, it’s nice because I can’t do that. I don’t have that to worry about.

Whenever I’m with people or hanging out with friends, I’m never on my phone. It’s only whenever I’m alone that I’m on my phone. When my friends go on their phones, I’m like, “You screenager. Hang up. Hang out.”

It pisses me off.

I don’t like it when people are on their phones.

When we’re at camp, I’m fine. I don’t miss my phone and going on stuff because I’m around people. I can talk to them and do activities but whenever you’re at home, you are not always hanging out with people. You go on your phone and that’s hanging out with people.

It’s a lot easier to engage in conversation when you don’t have an electronic in front of your face.

It's a lot easier to engage in conversation when you don't have an electronic in front of your face. Click To Tweet

Are most of your friends guilty of that when you’re out in little groups where people spend a lot of time looking at their screens?

My boyfriend and I originally would be always on our phones. When we go on dates, we will put them in the glove box of the car so we are not tempted.

That’s pretty smart.

Can you set those boundaries with your friend and say, “Can we put our phones away?” Do you ever do that?

I want to but they’re going to be like, “Why do you want to do that?”

I only do that with my two best friends but the rest of my friends feel like, “No.” When I hang out with my closest friend, we won’t be on our phones or we will be watching TikToks on her phone because her For You page is the weirdest thing in the entire world.

Whenever me and my friends go out to dinner, I make them put their phones in a pile. Whenever we’re eating, they’re all stacked up at the end of the table. They’re like, “The notifications are going.” It makes you more present. Whenever we’re hanging out, they’re always on their phones scrolling. I’m like, “Do this when you’re on your own like I do. When we’re together, be present.”

Adults accuse your generation of that and there’s some truth to it but I also feel like the adult world is not much better.

I’m calling her out. My mom is always on her phone.

My mom would be scrolling on Facebook with her phone at full volume watching a video and I’m like, “Mom, you yell at me for being on my phone yet I’m sitting here on the couch, phone nowhere in sight, and you’re being loud on your phone.”

My dad has an iPad. He will sit on the couch watching football while playing Clash of Clans on an iPad.

My mom will be double-screening. She will have the news on the TV and then she will be watching cat videos on her phone. I’m like, “What are doing?”

My mom watches cat videos too.

She sends me Instagram Reels.

Here’s another question. A lot of parents try and put restrictions on their kids’ phones about time, sites, and stuff but I also have talked to a gazillion teenagers who say they can get around it quickly. True or not true.


How long does it take you to get around those kinds of things, two minutes?

My dad told me the passwords but my mom doesn’t know that he told me. I’ve known them for years but she still thinks I don’t know the restriction passwords. My dad doesn’t care.

You just snitched on your dad.

My mom at first had a screen time thing on my phone so it limited it but what she didn’t know is that I could click on an app and ignore my screen time. You can do that. It depends on what type of screen time thing you put on it but I could ignore it for every app. I would do that because I didn’t care that much but eventually, I figured out how to take it off. That was with your Apple ID, which is interesting to find out. She forgot the password and I wanted to take it off my phone.

I’ve also had a lot of parents come into my office to counsel girls your age. One of the things they will say to me is that they’re constantly threatening to take their kids’ phones away and I’ll say, “Why do you do that?” They will say, “It’s my only leverage. It’s the only thing she cares about. I’ll hold that over her head.” It’s like, “If you don’t do blank, I will take your phone away.” Does that happen in your homes?

I could pull up several messages where my mom is saying, “If you don’t get your grades up, I’m going to take your phone. I’m shutting your phone off.” I will have to beg her, “Mom, please don’t. I will get my grades up. I promise.” It’s worked. She thinks that it’s my phone that’s the problem but it’s school. Not that this is what the conversation is about but she will threaten it all the time.

It’s other stresses that are not the phone. Although if you’re spending nine hours a day on TikTok, I’m not sure if that would hold water.

TikTok alone is crazy.

Don’t shame her.

I wanted to ask you all how having phones and social media affects your friendships and/or dating relationships.

It both complicates them but also helps them because there’s a way to communicate with them but then there’s also a lot of drama with social media. It causes issues as well.

It makes it more dishonest because you can half-swipe on chats on Snapchat, know what they said without them knowing that you know, and then ask other people about it.

How else does it affect friendships and/or dating relationships?

It can cause jealousy with dating a lot because a lot of relationships will have the password to their significant other’s Snapchat to log in and go through it.

That’s a little creepy. Creepy is the wrong word but it’s a little much.

It’s not healthy to do that because I know someone who is in a toxic relationship, and her boyfriend had her password to everything. She unadded me on Snapchat and I didn’t know why. I was like, “I was trying to text you to ask you where you were.” She was like, “It was my ex. He did that.” She’s not talking to him or has anything to do with him anymore but that had to have been tiring.

It creates a whole new culture because it creates no separation for you to be your own and have your stuff when they know all your passwords. It’s more like you don’t know who you’re interacting with.

Have any of you been cyberbullied? Parents are scared to death about that.

It happens to the majority of people.

It’s not necessarily bullying. It’s a lot of times friends, group chats, and dumb stuff like that. My boyfriend’s friends are like girls. They’re so dramatic. They made group chats without him. They will play video games and kick him out. They do it to all of their friends. Social media is a big problem.

That happened in a friend group that I was in but no longer because there was a lot of drama. I was getting left out. They had group chats without me in them. They all excluded me and went to the lake one weekend over the summer without me and all this stuff. I excluded myself from that situation because I was tired of it and tired of getting left out of everything.

It’s a lot easier to remove someone in a chat than it is at the lunch table or something.

That’s true. I never thought of it that way. I’m guessing that happens a lot based on what I hear from girls at camp and what I hear from girls in my counseling practice. You mentioned one time how complicated the relationships are. One complication is it’s so easy to add and/or subtract people and never tell people why. I see a lot of girls who have all kinds of stuff in their heads about, “I’m not good enough.”

It's so easy to add and/or subtract people and never tell them why online. Click To Tweet

There’s no closure with social media because you have one button, and it’s over.

They’re like, “Why aren’t people calling me?” Nobody sits down and says, “Let me give you some feedback.” You don’t get that feedback. You just get gaslighting.

It would be nice if you had the feedback because everything would be so much better if there weren’t some aspects of that in the social media.

People gaslight you but then it also gives you room to gaslight yourself because they’re not responding. You start to be like, “Why?”

Do you know where that gaslighting term came from? I read this in a book. There was an old black-and-white ’50s-something movie where some guy was trying to make his wife go crazy. This is an old film. They had gaslights as their home lights. He would very slowly turn the lights down. She said, “It looks dark in here.” He is like, “It’s not dark in here.” Every day, he would turn it a little bit more and it drove her crazy. That’s how the term came about. You gaslight people and they go crazy. A lot of girls put a lot of time and energy into those chats. It leaves so much room for miscommunication and things being taken out of context. Is that true or not true?

When there’s an argument, I hate texting because you’re texting and pounding your phone. You’re like, “I didn’t want to talk in person because I’m going to say something I regret. I don’t have the guts to say that in person, thank God but I’m going to say it over text, it will come out wrong, and I’ll regret that I said it.”

Why wouldn’t you say it in person?

I’ll think of mean things because I’m mad. When I’m mad, I’ll say things out of pocket if I’m texting. It’s rude stuff. If I’m in person, I’m not going to do that. I think more rationally when I talk to someone.

People can send you screenshots of a snippet of a conversation and then you have no context for the rest of it. You’re getting not a false narrative but not the whole narrative.

It’s the worst-case scenario.

That happened to me with the same drama. I’m getting screenshots sent from different messages between two different people from one person, and then from the other person, I see the whole conversation on their phone with no screenshots. I see what the truth is versus what I thought the truth was.

It’s overwhelming too. In my friend group, we had an issue. We’re in a friend group of three people and they all were at once texting me separately the same thing and getting mad at me for something. I’m getting huge paragraphs from each one of them and I’m typing to respond to each one of them. I finally put them in a group text and said, “I’m done. We’re talking in person. I am not texting anymore.” It’s so overwhelming.

People are so non-confrontational. It drives me insane, especially after going to camp. Nobody wants to resolve their problems in person. They would rather tell 30 other people about their problem than fix it. I’m the only one in my friend group that if somebody comes up to me and is like, “This person said this and that to me,” I’m like, “Tell them that you feel this way because this isn’t going to fix anything you telling me.”

“I’m not the one who did this to you. I appreciate you telling me but this isn’t going to do anything. This is going to distance all of our friends if we don’t confront the person who made us feel this way. You’re just talking around the problem.” I’ve had to do that multiple times if I bring a problem up that’s not even my own so that somebody else talks about it and resolves it because it’s so annoying.

How do people accept that? Do they go, “Thanks so much for telling me that?”


Do they go and handle it personally?

They don’t handle it personally. They’re like, “I know I need to talk to this person,” but they never do. I have to be the one to be like, “She’s right there. Tell her what you think.” I’m almost there as a mediator. I’m like, “This person told you this hurt their feelings.”

A lot of women who have been to camp as you have been will go off to college thinking, “Everybody is going to be so much more grown-up and mature.” They tell me, “I’m the only one who knows how to do stuff like that. People don’t get that. They’re not learning how to resolve conflicts. There’s so much of that stuff that happens online, the drama, and stuff. Some don’t outgrow it.”

I have to teach my friends to do that sometimes. It’s exhausting too to have to tell them, “If I do something that you don’t like or that you have a problem with that I’m not aware of, tell me because if you don’t, I’m not going to be able to fix it.” Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t but when it doesn’t work, and then I hear from someone else that I did something that bothered them, I’m like, “Why didn’t they tell me? I told them that if they have a problem to tell me.”

I was talking with my friend. One of my friends at school also goes to camp. The three of us were talking and I was talking to a friend who doesn’t go to camp. The one who goes to camp is like, “You’re talking camp to her. She doesn’t understand.”

I’ve gotten, “Don’t camp me,” or something. I’m like, “I’m going to camping. You need to be camped.”

Everybody needs to be camped.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would like to offer to parents who are reading this about social media and their teenagers from what you know and what you’ve experienced? You think parents should know this.

My mom likes to research. She shows me all these studies that show all this data on teens who spend their time on social media.

They spend nine hours a day on TikTok.

Whenever she tells me that, I block it out. I can’t even listen to her because I get so annoyed. I’m like, “You don’t know what I’m doing on my phone. I’m not on my phone when I hang out with other people. It’s just when I’m alone.” For your parents to be like, “I know all this stuff about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it because of this 30-year-old or 40-year-old man who’s a scientist and researches behavioral patterns,” I’m like, “I don’t care.” I listen to myself. You can do all the research you want but everybody is so different that even the research can’t apply to you sometimes. It’s almost biased and you’re assuming it applies to you.

“Don’t make assumptions. Talk to me.”

That’s the way that our generation connects, whether we like it or not. That’s how it is. Limiting time for their kids, we’re always going to find a way around it. That’s our way of connecting. It puts us in a weird position. I wish I didn’t spend so much time on my phone. What’s better than setting guidelines on your kid’s phone and saying, “You will have this much time a day,” is to have an open conversation about it with your kid and say, “I don’t think you should be on your phone this much. What are ways we can stop this? What are other things you can do,” rather than saying, “I’m putting a password on your phone to not go on this.”

Social media is the way that our generation connects with one another, whether we like it or not. Click To Tweet

I also think an important aspect of having that conversation with your kids is not to guilt-trip them. Don’t be like, “You spend so much time on your phone and it prevents you from doing this.” More likely than not, the kid already has those feelings, “I shouldn’t be doing this,” but when you say that to them, it makes them feel bad and they want to resent that.

How should parents address it then?

In more of a non-accusatory and confrontational way, more of an accepting way. If they put it all on the kid, “You’re doing this too much. You need to change this,” it puts a lot of pressure on the kid. They know that. It’s more like, “This is how you could do this,” more than, “This is what’s going to happen because this is bad for you for X, Y, and Z.”

At least for me and other people that I know, some parents complain that their child isn’t spending enough time with them because they’re always in their room on their phone or something. When they do spend time with them, they’re still on their phone. A way that I’ve brought it up to my parents is if we’re going to sit down and watch a movie together, everybody around the coffee table needs to put their phones somewhere so that we’re engaged and all doing the same thing. We’re not all distracted.

We will end up having two of my cousins come over and we will do a family game night. No one is on their phone. Everybody has their phones in their pocket or something. We’re all focused on that one thing. That is something that a lot of parents should do. Come up with a plan without phones to do something together.

A lot of parents should come up with a plan without phones to do something together. Click To Tweet

Something that my parents also do is we will be all present having a conversation and be like, “I wonder about this.” They will be like, “Let me look it up.” They pull out their phone and google it.

It all goes downhill.

It’s so annoying with that stuff. With my boyfriend, we will be hanging out and he is like, “Let me show you this video.” I’m like, “I don’t want to be on our phones. I don’t care.”

I’ve read research that shows that if you’re out with friends, your spouse, or whoever, and having a phone out on the table even if they’re not looking at it dumbs down the conversation. It’s less intimate and personal. It’s just having a phone around. It’s the same thing in classrooms where their screen is up. They found that people don’t pay attention as well, even if it’s not you on the screen. If someone in the room has their screen on, the whole room dumbs down.

Whenever my best friend and I talk about things that we don’t want other people to hear, we cover the microphone of our phone even though it’s not on. We’re paranoid because it listens to you and stuff like Siri. I’m being for real. If you talk about things that you want, the ads will pop up. It listens.

Based on what you know as young women, I’m curious. If you were a parent, at what age would you allow your daughter to have a phone and go on social media?

Honestly, it’s probably the age that my mom let me. It was a little before that but probably sixth grade for me.

It’s fifth or sixth grade.

It’s more so sixth grade. Middle school is a bigger step than elementary school. It is a trust thing. You have to build trust and give them the freedom to try and prove to you, “I can do this and I want to show you.”

It’s once they turn thirteen or before they go into eighth grade.


Becoming a teenager, the kid is going to want to be like, “I’m a teenager now.” They will look for reasons to be like that and be like, “Let me have this and that.” Giving them a bit of validation, “You can have this because I trust you with this responsibility because you are a teenager now and you are gaining more responsibility,” is a good thing to do.

I would say sometime in middle school. I’m not sure but it depends on their maturity and where they are at that time.

That’s a hard question to answer for me because even when I was in middle school, almost everybody in my class had a phone. Even whenever I was in elementary school, at least fifth grade, everybody had a phone. I felt so left out. I wasn’t on their group chats and social media. They had to text my mom instead of me to hang out. It’s difficult because kids are getting their phones younger.

I was babysitting a kid who had in second grade a giant iPhone.

It’s hard for me to answer that because by the age that I have kids, who knows what age is going to be commonly accepted? I’m glad that I got my phone so late because it gave me more creativity. I had to fill my boredom because there was nothing else for me to do but in our society, I would be depriving them of relationships and friendships because that’s how I connect with my friends. They’re on your phone. You don’t call people anymore. You don’t have home phones. It’s all your mobile phone that you use. I don’t know when I would want my kid to have a phone because I don’t want to deprive them of friendships and relationships.

I don’t want to be the issue.

There are two things I tell parents when Anne and I go and give talks. This is even before COVID. One of them is that we have shrunken your generation’s geographic freedom because in my day, and your parents are younger than me, we were allowed to go out and be gone. We were riding our bikes miles away and we would come home at dinner. We had a lot of freedom. That’s where we hung out. We were allowed to hang out on the street, in the woods, and wherever. There was a skating rink. We could go. We weren’t 360-ed. We weren’t anything. We were just out and about.

Slowly but surely in the last several years, we have shrunken that freedom because we were so scared that kids were going to get kidnapped. I always tell parents, “If your kid is in sixth grade, you say, ‘Go outside and play,’ and they go outside on a Saturday afternoon, who’s out in the street? Nobody because they’re at a tournament. They’re doing all these other things. There’s nobody out on the street anymore.” We have forced your generation to hang out on their devices. COVID hit, and then you can’t see your friends. You can’t go to school. We forced you to hang out there.

It’s stuck there.

I also tell parents that I don’t do an age because they always say, “What age should I give them?” I’m like, “I don’t think it’s an age.” I agree with what you said. I tell them that in my experience, I don’t think most girls are ready for social media at least high school with a good track record of maturity, impulse control, handling their friendship issues in person well, and not being embroiled with a lot of drama.

If they can show you a long and good track record, then they’re telling you, “I can handle the phone.” It’s going to intensify on the phone or those social media sites. If I can’t handle it without that, it’s going to blow up. I’m not sure what you think about that. There are a lot of phones. There are all kinds of technology. You can have a phone. Parents are like, “They only need it for their safety.” I’m like, “You don’t but if you did, give them one of those flip phones.”

I want a flip phone so bad.

That’s what they used to take pictures.

They’re the same thing. You can only call three numbers. You can’t get internet and all that.

It’s like texting and calling.

There are stepping stones. Is there any last piece of advice before we close down? You’ve given parents a lot to think about, talk to their daughters and/or sons about, and hopefully open up some conversations. There are a lot of assumptions that go back and forth. Adults are guilty of some of the misuse of devices, phones, and social media. Anne and I will go out to dinner or someplace and see a family with three kids and their parents, and everybody has some device. The kids have these pads. Everybody is on stuff. You walk to the airport and the kids are like this. You can’t go into a car anymore if that kid is carrying a TV in the car.

It makes me think of WALL-E.

When I have kids, I don’t want to get them iPads or anything. It’s because of me babysitting too. I see it. They get so addicted so quickly. At this point, when I have kids, I don’t want them to have any electronics because I don’t want it to be like that.

I also don’t want them to resent me for not giving them phones.

There’s a hard choice to make.

Thank you so much for being open and honest in giving these parents some food for thought. As always, I’ll be back here with a brand-new topic and episode. Feel free to pass these on. I will be back here. Thanks so much for stopping by.


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