Kids’ brains are still undeveloped when they get access to the internet, so they lack the frontal lobe function to make safe, intelligent decisions on their own. Yet most parents don’t teach them about the internet first, so they don’t know what to expect when going online. In the fourth and final episode of a series with Dr. Lisa Strohman, she and the Amens help you to prepare your kids to navigate the internet responsibly and help them understand the importance of maintaining privacy.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
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Tana Amen: Welcome back. We are still here with dr Lisa Strohman, and she is just so fascinating. So Lisa, you're an attorney, you're an expert on internet crimes. You worked for the FBI and we were just having this great conversation on kids. And our last episode was on predators and how you can prepare your kids. I love how we ended it. It was talking about preparing kids for the real world, sort of what's going to happen as they enter into junior high, and even sometimes, earlier; what they're going to encounter with other kids, what they're going to see on their phones. And that's something we were talking about. How can parents initiate this conversation?
Tana Amen: Now, I'm a trauma nurse, I'm pretty intense. So I threw my kid into the deep end pretty fast and pulled up crazy articles and pictures and made her watch sex trafficking documentaries and scared her half to death. But that's probably not what you're going to recommend. How would recommend [inaudible 00:01:48]?
Dr Lisa Strohman: Well, I think that there is probably like the Goldilocks zone maybe, where you could be in the middle and it's just right. I think that when you look at what kids are doing, I think that you can see that they live in this kind of secret world now in their devices. And so, you have to really, to me, love them enough to have an expectation that they're going to go down rabbit holes that will uncover things that you don't want them to see. And that's the most important part as a parent. It's the sex talk that most of us never got because our parents just had no idea how to have it. And then we handed it over to the schools and they did an awful job trying to figure out what it was and the messaging that they gave and not taking into consideration the developmental issues, where the kids are, what their needs are.
Dr Lisa Strohman: So I think that with technology, understanding that developmentally they're immature, right? They don't have full frontal lobe executive function, the ability to weigh right from wrong, long-term and short-term decisions. And then you hand them this magical access into the internet that allows them to just kind of traipse along. And so, I tell parents, one of the things that I would say is, for you to really recognize that giving them access, whether it's a personal device or a home computer or whatever, it is literally like dropping them off on a street, a stream street that you've never been on and hoping that they don't walk down the street and find somebody bad.
Dr Lisa Strohman: And so, if you're not comfortable with that as a parent, you have to have a conversation and you have to literally describe and create a child, whatever your child's age is, but a description of what that world is like. So if your daughter's going, say to Miami, and you know there's heavy trafficking and there's a lot of prostitution and things that are happening that's going to be in front of her, Vegas comes to mind, having been there multiple times for first sporting events with my kids, you better have that conversation before you get there. Because you don't have choice once it's in front of you.
Dr Lisa Strohman: And so, that's curiosity with kids. And so, that's one of the things that I think you need to take into consideration as a parent.
Tana Amen: Yeah. No, my daughter, after she got done threatening to call Child Protective Services for me making her listen to all of this stuff and scare her half to death, she's like, "I don't think you're supposed to be traumatizing me. I need therapy." But the reason that I did that was, maybe you can answer whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, because we travel a lot internationally, number one, and she goes with us. That's a big thing. But also, I didn't trust the fact that just because we're monitoring her phone, I know most parents aren't monitoring their phones. I know parents who buy alcohol for parties. So based on that fact alone, it doesn't matter how much I monitor her phone. When she's with her friends, their phones are not monitored. Okay?
Tana Amen: So rather than just relying on phone monitoring, I wanted to rely on is my daughter's smart enough when she sees something for it to trigger, Oh, this isn't good, this is scary, this is not a good thing. And so, I needed to instill that in her. I wanted that voice in her to sort of wake up and go, [inaudible 00:05:05] not nice, honey. The world is not a fairy tale. There's no Prince Charming at the end of that road. So I wanted to be sure that when I'm not there to monitor her, that she can still see the truth.
Dr Lisa Strohman: Perfect. I mean, that's the Goldilocks area. I mean, that's empowering children. And my mission and passion has always been we empower our kids to understand the rules. So if they don't understand, say they're going on specifically, one of my hot buttons is the live streaming apps. And TikTok is another really great example. TikTok used to be musical.ly. Musical.ly was highly, highly trafficked with predators and people on there that go in there, they look at these videos, they identify themselves, they create fake accounts, they start messaging with the kids. And again, it's like picking off the week's zebra in the pack because it's playing upon their vulnerability to need that attention, to want to know that they're good. And again, we've taught them what a good zebra looks like, right?
Dr Lisa Strohman: We teach them if somebody's nice to you, and so, they're very trained to go into these platforms and pull that data and do that stuff. So I think it's really important to teach them the realities of it and to understand what the rules are. Because we would never sit down and play, say Monopoly. And if the three of us sat down and I was like, "Let's play," we all pretty much understand we all get the $200 when we pass GO, and we all get a certain amount when we start. But if I told you I get $2,000 every time I pass GO and you guys only get $200, you would say I'm not going to play. So one of the things that I'm very strongly an advocate of and what I do anytime I go and talk to families or kids, is teach them the rules.
Dr Lisa Strohman: I pull the privacy policies off of these apps. And I go through them and I highlight those areas, I put it in a slide show, I go through and I talk about it. And I was like, "Here's what this means." And I basically take the legalese, because nobody's reading the 23 pages of agreements that we're downloading, and I translate it for kids depending on whatever age they are. And I was just like, "Here's what they do. They own your content. They can redistribute it at any time. If you think it's cool to work at the FBI or I've done some cool stuff in my life, I'm pretty sure had I been on TikTok when I was 12 or 13, I wouldn't have had that opportunity. Right? Because I can't control that data once I give it to them."
Dr Lisa Strohman: And then I teach them how do you pull it back? How do you clean that up? And so for parents, it's monitoring is part of it, but you do have to go in and you have to be honest with your kids, and you have to trust them. They're good. Kids want to be good, and they want you to be happy with them. They ultimately do. But they don't recognize the difference between right and wrong if we don't tell them.
Tana Amen: Right. One thing I tell Chloe is I trust you're not [inaudible 00:08:00] so let me [inaudible 00:08:01] why I'm nervous. And so, I trust that you will do the right thing, but you could end up doing the wrong thing, not even knowing it.
Dr Daniel Amen: Is this what Digital Citizen Academy does?
Dr Lisa Strohman: It's 100% why I founded it was, how do I take this from family to family, kid to kid, and how do I create a scalable model that allows families and kids to take back the control and to understand what those rules are? I think that is so important.
Tana Amen: [inaudible 00:08:36] just mentioned that you take that 23 pages, you boil it down to something that a kid will understand. Do you have something like that in a book or in a slide show? I would love to see that. [crosstalk 00:08:49] Yeah, do you have that written anywhere?
Dr Lisa Strohman: I'm trying to think. We just finished the copy on our second book. I don't know if I have an image of it in there. For sure, one of my webinars has it. And so, we're trying, I'm playing catch up of I've avoided putting a lot of stuff on on platforms and things like that. But I'm starting to figure out how do I create this in a sustainable ongoing mechanism? So creating a YouTube channel, how do I put these little tidbits out? I just found out from another app, some of the things that they were doing and going on there and checking ages and how they're live streaming and how they're sharing content and data and they're monetizing it through these microtransactions. So of course, the minute I popped in to do a webinar, there was an underage kid on there and she was getting gummy or they create these silly stickers, and they're worth money through PayPal. And so, she's literally becoming this online prostitute for unknown people.
Dr Lisa Strohman: And I can tell she's in a room hiding behind a door and talking very quietly because she doesn't want her parents to know. So how do I alert people, because they come out every day. So that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to figure out a way to get that information out on a regular basis. Because to me, catching those people and unveiling the truth behind it, we have to do it together because otherwise it's never going to stop, and we're going to lose all of our kids to this really unfair, addictive potential that these platforms are giving.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, we need your work more than ever before. So thank you for being with us and for people who want to learn more, dcakids.org. They can learn more. And also, and I'll have you spell it, is it drlisastrohman.com? They can find out more about your practice and so on?
Dr Lisa Strohman: Yes. Yes.
Dr Daniel Amen: So spell that for everybody.
Dr Lisa Strohman: Doctor D-R L-I-S-A S-T-R-O-H-M-A-N.
Dr Daniel Amen: Great. Thank you, Lisa. What a joy to see you again.
Tana Amen: Good. Thank you so much. That was so interesting as always.
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