One thing that gets me during the summertime is how much the kids are on their devices. I feel like the kids are on their devices SO much more than usual. Do you notice this too?
It’s really concerning, especially when they’re using apps and communicating with other people like Instagram and Facebook. It’s scary to think about the things that some of the kids may be exposed to.
So how can we keep our kids safe online?
How can we do better about monitoring what they’re consuming?
How can we make sure that they are not being bullied or not getting into content that may be getting them depressed or causing them other mental health issues?
These are all questions that I know you have and have the answers to, thanks to my guest, Cathy. If you’re like me and you want to keep your child safe online this summer, this episode is for you.
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Known as TikTok’s Mom Friend, media personality and safety content creator, Cathy Pedrayes makes safety and cybersecurity accessible through her social media accounts and television appearances. Dressed in her now-signature blue dress and family pearls, she has millions of followers on Tik Tok and hundreds of thousands on Instagram. Her safety tips have landed her features on Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, Today Parents, and more.
Connect with Cathy
- Website: https://www.momfriendguide.com
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CathyPedrayesTV
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/cathypedrayes
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CathyPedrayes
- TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/cathypedrayes
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Transcript of this episode
Toni-Ann Mayembe 0:00
So it’s summertime. And I know for me, I feel like the kids are on their devices and on their phone a lot more than usual. And it is really concerning, especially when they’re using apps in social media apps in particular, that may expose them to things that you’re not ready for them to see or hear about. So how can we keep our kids safe online? How can we do better about monitoring what they’re consuming? How can we make sure that they are not being bullied or not getting into content that may be getting them depressed or causing them other mental health issues? Those are all questions that I know that I have had, especially with my oldest starting to use his phone and starting to get into other apps hear a lot more. So I have brought on my guests, Kathy to help with answering these questions. So if you’re like me, and you want to keep your child safe online this summer, this episode is for you. So stay tuned. You are listening to the real happy mom podcast, the weekly podcast for busy working moms to get inspiration, encouragement and practical tips for this journey called motherhood. My name is Toni-Ann and you are listening to Episode 189. All right, today, we got Kathy on the podcast. I’m really excited about our topic today and really excited that you are here to join me. So welcome to the podcast. Oh my gosh, thanks
so much for having me. Yes, yes,
Toni-Ann Mayembe 1:39
Cathy, you are kind of a big deal. You know, like, a lot of people know you I was just talking about everybody wants to be famous. Like you’re kind of for real famous to me, at least to me. So, reason. Yes. I gather you share with us a little bit about you and what you do before we jump into our topic for today.
Yeah, so I guess you could call me an influencer. Now it feels really weird saying, but it just kind of happened organically. So you know, pandemic, everybody’s bored. You start posting things online kind of thing. And that’s exactly what happened with me. And through doing that I fell into this safety and kind of cybersecurity niche. And it happened very organically, you know, I was posting videos, the community was like giving me responses, you know, on on tick tock, mainly at this point. And, and I realized that I really do have a unique perspective on this not just as you know, somebody in like a family unit who, you know, has younger children in their family that they worry about, but also I used to work on national television. And so I was exposed to a lot of the risks that happen when we share too much information on our digital platforms. And so I realized that I actually do have a unique perspective. And I started posting more and more and yeah, and then it grew to like millions of followers and hundreds of millions of views. And it’s odd, because I mean, safety is not a sexy topic. Apparently, people are interested in that’s good. That’s important.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 3:08
Yes, it is very, very important, especially right now. We’re in the middle of the summer here on kids are on summer vacation. And definitely security is a big thing, especially cybersecurity. So I’m so glad to talk to you about all of this. But let’s start by talking about some online safety. Like how can we do better about keeping our kids safe online? Especially in that, now that it seems like every kid has a cell phone or a tablet or both?
Yeah, so I know that sometimes when advice is coming from the parents, it sometimes isn’t always received the same way as if it’s coming from a stranger on the internet, which is kind of where I come into play. But I it’s funny, because I always think before I post the video, like would moms approve of this? But from a parenting perspective, you know, it’s very important, familiar with the apps that your kids are on, right? I know, it’s hard, I know that there’s a little bit of a learning curve. I also hate, you know, downloading a new app and trying to figure out how to use it. But at the bare minimum, Go into all the apps, whatever they’re on, go into the settings and look through what kinds of settings are there. So a lot of times you can filter out keywords that are related to bully. You can also filter out keywords that can be predatory or you know, that can be related to scams, hackers trying to hack your kids account, that kind of thing. cryptocurrency is a very big scam happening right now that’s specifically affecting young people, young people. So you know, that kind of thing. Also very important is to set up a two factor authentication on all of their accounts. I know it depends how old your kids are. The older ones can remember their passwords, the younger ones tend to always forget and like you’re getting a new password every week. But very important to set up the two factor authentication because that prevents a hacker from getting into their account. And the reason why that’s important isn’t just because nobody wants to have their account hacked with all their pictures loss and things like that, yes, that’s all very important too. But a lot of times kids share private photos that they save in their drafts. They’re not posting them publicly, it’s in their drafts, it’s in their Snapchat, like private camera roll. It’s, uh, you know, their Instagram Drafts, things like that. And so what happens is, if a hacker gets access to these accounts, and there are photos that you know, could be revealing, and they feel like posting it, they can and do, and it’s happened to like, they happen at a friend’s school, a middle schooler. So you know, it’s very important to not just go through the settings, make sure that everything is like locked down from that perspective. And then, of course, talk to your kids about, listen, we don’t own these apps, do not put anything on these apps that you don’t want one day being public. And I know it’s hard for them to grasp that concept. But if you share stories of things that you know, have happened to other kids and stuff like that, sometimes it helps them kind of make those connections. And and then, I mean, you have to do like social media audit audits, I do it with my sister, she’s a teen. And I go through the accounts that are following her and the accounts that she’s following. And I’m like, Listen, why are you following this account? It’s clearly a fake one. Why do I think it’s fake? Why don’t you know, let’s talk about some of these red flags. And I know, sometimes it can be hard to identify those red flags. That’s why I’m here. You know, like, my social media pages talks about this stuff on a regular basis. And then I have a book that just came out in April, talking about I mean, there’s a lot of topics in it. But one of the chapters focuses on like red flags, with scams and things like that. So that way, you know what to talk to your kids about?
Toni-Ann Mayembe 6:39
Yeah, yeah, you brought up a lot of really good things. I love all these. No, no, no, it’s perfect. It’s perfect. I love how super practical it is, as far as you know, going into settings, setting up two factor authentication, like that is definitely something tactical that I could get started doing. But you brought up something as far as red flags, and you brought up one of them as far as accounts that are not actually legitimate. What are some other red flags that you would say as parents that we need to look out for when our kids are starting to use some of these apps?
So, you know, one of the things and I’m talking about this from personal experience, because I have a sister who’s you know, 17, and we’ve been struggling with her, you know, social media, who is she talking to these kinds of things, and that’s why with her, we’ve had to be really, really hands on. Even though you know, I also have a 12 year old niece, so I don’t have to be as hands on with because she’s very mature. And she makes great decisions. And she knows that, you know, on social media, I’m only allowed to be friends with friends that I know, in my real life, friends that I know, from my real school, but my sister on the other hand, friends, anybody and everybody on the internet. And so a couple of things that, you know, we looked out for a couple of red flags, we’re spending way too much time in their room, like she would come home, whatever school gets out, three, four o’clock, whatever it was, and she would just stay there until the next night. And we’re like, what are you doing in there? There’s no television, there’s no you know, the computers downstairs, what are you doing in your room all day. And we found out that she had like, snuck in a device that a friend had given her you know, so these kinds of things. So I feel like when you when you know, your child, right, you spend time with them, and you start noticing a difference in behavior, whether that’s spending too much time in their room, whether that’s, you know, it’s sort of like a lower aspect, you know, they’re just their energy isn’t the same. Think about what it is that they could be consuming on social media, oftentimes, it does go back to social media. And even if even if your kid isn’t showing any warning signs, one really good thing to do is just to go in their app and swipe through. Just like through the social media app, whether it’s tick tock that’s called the for you page, swipe through that if it’s Instagram, swipe through the discovery page, or the feed, whatever it is, because the algorithm will know your kid better than you do. And it will pinpoint them in five minutes. They don’t know exists less than five minutes, five seconds, they don’t know exactly what your kid is into. And so if you think my kid isn’t into substances, my kid isn’t into, you know, sexy dances or whatever. And you open that app. And that’s all you’re seeing. I got news for you. They are and so that’s a time to you know, open up the conversation.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 9:20
Oh, my goodness, yes, yes, yes. Because it’s funny you say that about the feed because my feed knows me like, a little too. Well, I can imagine what it looks like for those kids.
Yeah, and sometimes I’m like listen, yes, I like this content but I also want to see the kittens and the recipes I can you open it up a little bit but they don’t they once you’re like in once they pinpoint you, they just keep feeding you the same content. So if you’re already feeling you know, like a little bit depressed or whatever, it’ll keep showing you this kind of like darker, darker stuff. And it’s hard to get out of it. And so that’s why you know, it’s important for to parent for parents to be supervising it and I know it’s it’s an extra thing. It’s a thing We didn’t have to do, you know, 2050 years ago, but but now it’s just as important as like checking their homework.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 10:06
Yes, definitely. Now you brought up, you know, actually physically going through the apps in looking and seeing what’s going on and settings. Now, you kind of mentioned a little bit about conversations. So talk to us a little bit about some of the conversations that we can have with our kids in particular this summer so that we make sure that we keep them safe.
Yeah, this this is a hard one, because again, coming from parents, sometimes it’s what I think is very important is keeping the conversations brief. Right? Not that like authoritarian, two hour diatribe of why safety is important. And whatever, they tune you out, right. So just like real quick, you know, oh, look at this video I saw, for example, like sharing one of my videos or something. Look at this video I found on Tik Tok. How interesting, and then talk about it kind of thing. But briefly, you know, it can be on your ride to school like, oh, anything interesting happening on social media? Have any of your friends accounts been hacked? Have you seen any of your friends get scammed? What do you think about that, you know, that kind of stuff. And then the other part of that conversation can also be and again, this is, you know, it doesn’t have to be every day, but every week or every other week, you’re kind of talking about these things. Because if it’s just once, nobody’s gonna retain any of that. But the other thing is, you know, when they’re talking to strangers, and you know, in your presence at the grocery store, at the restaurant, whatever it is that they’re talking to strangers, and you talk to strangers to write every day, talk to your kids about why did it feel safe to talk to a stranger in that instance? You know, what was it about that person that made you feel comfortable? versus, you know, maybe other reasons? Like what what could happen that would make you seem uncomfortable with the, you know, just so that they get familiar of like, what are things I should look out for? What are things that you know, and that’s not to say that everybody that you feel comfortable with is great, but you know, just to get familiar with what it looks like to be aware, and that’s in your physical world, and in your digital world. And these really are skills that we have to learn. None of this is common sense. One of the biggest things I get on my social media pages is like, oh, it’s common sense, or whatever. And I’m like, No, literally, when we were born, we couldn’t even hold our heads up. None of this is common sense.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 12:17
Definitely, I totally get that one. Now, you brought up something here, I wanted to circle back to, and you’re talking about the conversations as far as keeping them brief, and you know, asking questions to get them engaged. But specifically, when it comes to kids that are that you probably noticed that going through their apps and seeing that some things may be inappropriate, how would you suggest that you know, starting to address those particular things that you’re not really happy with, that you’re seeing on their feeds and whatnot?
Right? Yeah, and this, this could be a tough one as well, because we’re you like sneakily looking through it, ideally. Ideally, you have a relationship with your child, where you can have an open conversation of, hey, look, mom and dad or whoever, auntie, whoever is going to be phone comes home, you know, it’s downstairs, when it’s being charged, or it’s in the kitchen when it’s being charged. And we’re going to check every night. And so ideally, you have that kind of open conversation of, hey, if you see anything weird on social media, I want to know about it, I want to be able to help you, like know that you can rely on me, if anybody has ever threatening you, if anybody ever makes you feel less than or whatever it is, I am here to help you. And so ideally, you have that relationship with them and they listen. But that’s not always the case. Right? Especially when they get into the teenage years. And so then you kind of have to like work it out of them sometimes and and oftentimes what I’ve done is I use examples from other kids right things that you use and see and news things that you see you know, other videos, things like that, something that they can hopefully relate to. And then sometimes if I’m really trying to get somebody to admit something, a child not an adult, I’ll say I had a dream I had a dream with some signs or something and I’ll you know, I’ll already know the information but I’ll just kind of make a loot like I had a dream that you were friends with this person with a letter whatever you know that kind of thing and then see what their reaction is. I’ve done it and it does work. I don’t know the psychology behind it but it has worked with my sister who befriends everybody on the internet but also hides everything everything I mean it doesn’t matter if it’s a juice box. She hides every so these are some of the tactics that we’ve had to had to employ.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 14:41
You know what I like it I like it. I’m definitely going to try that one because I have not used that I had a dream because I have a little sneaky one myself who likes to hide things but the thing with him I think the reason why I haven’t had to use that tactic is he is a terrible liar. Like you look at him you immediately You know, he’s lying. So that’s why I can’t easily sift information out of him. But that little one, I gotta watch him.
You know what something to add to that a lot of times parents and my mom is definitely guilty of this right? That it’s like the if you’re truthful, the punishment isn’t going to be as bad kind of thing. That’s what we tell the kids, but then they’re truthful, and then the punishment is as bad. So we’re actually like, reinforcing the opposite. And of course, you know, it depends if the, if the child has stolen money out of your wallet, there needs to be a punishment, right? Like, but it’s just if you tell me, it’s not going to be worse, you know, so maybe if you were going to be grounded for a week, because you were honest, you’re grounded for three days or something like that. But that’s really important. Because sometimes, you know, these kinds of behaviors can be reinforcing this kind of negative stuff that we don’t want with our kids. And obviously, we’re trying to, you know, raise them to be the best like citizens that they can be. But we might inadvertently be reinforcing bad behaviors if we’re not, if we’re like, over punishing kind of thing and not encouraging that truthful, good behavior.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 16:05
Yeah, I totally get that one. Definitely. Because I know I’ve been guilty of that one, too. So I like that. Yeah, no, no, you brought up a couple of things. As far as monitoring, I was just wondering if you had any other things that come to mind, whether it be apps or other ways that we can best monitor the kids online. Because I think that especially now, like I said, with the summertime, you know, as mom’s spirit were busy with work, and all the things and so I don’t know, if there’s a easy simplified way that you have found that it’s easy to monitor the kids during the summertime.
So apps that give parents access, oftentimes, that comes through the device itself. Like for example, there are cell phones that look like iPhones, one of the companies is called Cyberdyne, that I know of that I haven’t used it myself, but I, you know, just kind of browse on the on on their website. And this kind of device, it’s really meant for kids who are just starting to use a cell phone. But basically, it allows parents to monitor what they’re doing on the phone and also be able to shut it off at a certain time so that they don’t have access. Now, if you’re buying, you know, the same phone that everybody else has the family iPhone, or Android or whatever, they’re there becomes an issue where these companies don’t want to give parents too much access, because then there’s a privacy issue. And then the other thing is that not all parents are good parents, right. So like, it becomes kind of scary. So but there is like with iPhone, because I’m an iPhone user. So I could speak to that. There’s like family sharing this, actually, this is relatively new, I’m pretty sure they initiated this this year. But basically, you can set up your child’s phone as being in a family plan. And this is all in your in the settings, where you add their Apple ID and everything as a child in your family. And to do this apple walks you through I forget the exact, you know, the exact breakdown. But basically, Apple walks you through things that you can set on their device. And one of them is to allow the phone to monitor any incoming messages for anything that might be inappropriate. So it won’t tell you, hey, parent child is receiving inappropriate messages, but it’ll tell the child we’ve identified sensitive content, or is this message offensive to you, like, here’s some resources where you can help. So it gives them it gives Apple access to just kind of use, you know, artificial intelligence to pinpoint, for example, like graphic images that you probably wouldn’t want your child receiving. And it allows them before seeing it, it gives them a step of like reflection, like, Hey, is it something I really want to partake in? You know, just, it just gives them an extra step? And then, you know, ideally, parents might hopefully find out later, but apples not gonna tell you.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 18:56
Got it. Got it. Okay. Well, I definitely played around with some of the family like monitoring settings, and I have found them helpful. So I’m glad that you brought up the one on iPhone, and I know that there’s one. I use the one with Google for my son’s Android device. So that one is helpful too, as well. So if
Yeah, and there are there are some extra apps, you know, like, like 360s, like a popular like location sharing app, obviously, you could share location through the phone as well. Even WhatsApp if you have like a family WhatsApp chat group, you could share location through WhatsApp as well. So there are other apps. The thing is that, you know, kids can also like turn it on and off. So it’s out there. Obviously, it’s it’s great if your kid uses it and doesn’t turn it off every time they go to school, but they they can. So that’s the tough part.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 19:47
Gotcha. Gotcha. Well, Kathy, this has been really, really good. I’m feeling good. Now that we’ve got this information. I’m hoping mom’s that you’re listening that you’re feeling good too as well. So I know that You said that you have some other resources as far as your book and definitely on your social media. So tell us where we can find you online and get access to that book that you mentioned.
Yeah, so super easy on every plot form. I’m Cathy dryers and it’s Kathy with a seat. So if you just type in tacky and then the first letter P I should be the first one that pops up. And so whether it’s Instagram or Tiktok, or Twitter or Facebook, whatever it is, I have a link in the bio that has that leads to my book. My book is in Amazon it’s in Barnes and Nobles it’s an indie bookshops it’s in target you know, it’s all over the place. And it’s called the mom friend guide to everyday safety and security tips from the practical one and your squad but if you just type in Kathy P is for drives might be a little harder, you will find it you can’t miss
Toni-Ann Mayembe 20:45
it. Perfect. And I’ll be sure to include all those links in the show notes. So definitely check that out too, as well. So, Kathy, thank you again for coming on. This has been super good and I’m so glad that we are able to talk.
Yes, of course me too. If anyone has questions by the way. My DMS are always open.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 21:03
Now that does it for this episode of The Real happy mom podcast to find the links in Show Notes head on over to Real happy mom.com/take care
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