Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.
I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's March 30th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.
Have you ever looked up something on the internet and been surprised by the results you saw, and I'm not talking about results that were off by just a little bit, I mean, results that were in a whole other category of what you meant to look for?
Well, my guess is that the humans you were raising have already had this experience more times than they are willing to talk about. And many times it can be hard to find truth as the soil in these conversations.
"The one common experience of all humanity is the challenge of problems." -Richard Buckminster Fuller
Here's a problem I struggle with while I'm creating these shows, I wanted to start off this section with a story about my son Wyattnd then I got stuck on the use of the word, my versus our, because it's our son, my wife and myself, but I'm the one making the podcast.
So I'm going to say my, but just so we're clear, I did not raise him alone. My wife and I have been partners since day one, and I would actually give her credit for most of his general awesomeness, but I'm moving forward saying my, okay.
When my son Wyatt was in fifth grade, a friend of his told him to look up something on the internet. You can see how this might not go well... (SFX: Typing and reaction - huh?). And by some strange coincidence, I came into his room shortly after he had actually gone online and taken a look, I needed his computer to test out the speed of a new wifi router I was setting up, but as soon as I asked to look at his computer, the look on his face told me everything I needed to know.
He quickly started problem solving, or really just dodging the question, and then he moved into complicated explanations and I honestly had no idea what he was talking about, but his reaction to such a simple question made me realize that I would need to wait on the speed test I was hoping to complete. We had a long talk about the internet and what you might discover that you wish you hadn't.
And that conversation led to many more over the years and helped us find a place of mutual understanding that a computer or a smartphone is a tool. And it should be used with all the thought and care of something like a sharp knife or an ax.
So how do we, as people responsible for raising humans ready for anything deal with this? Most people know at this point that a browser has history and then it can be erased, and even if you're a tech savvy parent, it can just become a cat and mouse game of who knows more about what. So does this mean that you're failing as a parent if you're not a hundred percent sure that you know, everything your kids are doing online? I don't think so. I think that humans are remarkably creative problem solvers who will adapt to the way the world works.
My wife and I talk about this a lot. We're the ones responsible for the world our children are living in, the choices we have made ourselves and the choices that others around us have made from the local PTA and school board to the governments at the national level to every company who's trying to sell us something.
And when they searched the wide open world, the web. They're just trying to navigate the world as it is, whether it's Tik ToK or YouTube or Discord, wherever it is, they're just navigating the world. As it's been built. This is not to say that we should not be actively working with them to prevent the real harm that can occur, but I do think it means that our jobs as people raising humans is not going to get easier anytime soon.
So what's the takeaway? (VO: Shouldn't we just take away all the smartphones?)
How can you Can you help the humans you are raising understand that the world of information made available by the connected world we live in can serve them in both amazing and scary ways, depending on how they use the technology. The way I've approached this is to be honest with them about what's out there and share my own views on why they should avoid many areas of the web at all costs. There are most likely more things on the web that I do not want to see than ones that I actually do. Should there be limits? Absolutely. But can we control what is available to them? Not as much. Once again, it comes back to building a foundation of trust and goodwill to help them learn to problem solve in the best way possible, while keeping them as far away as we can from those places that we would never venture.
I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today, hydrate and remember, there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go with curiosity as our map and the willingness to problem solve, we can be ready for it.
So, good luck. You got this. I'm rooting for you.