013: Cyber-Parenting [with guest Mandy Majors, Founder of nextTalk]
Mandy Majors and I discuss pornography, popular apps and programs that kids use, and how to establish open communication with your child to ensure their online safety.
Mandy’s parents divorced when she was three. After overcoming many bad teenage decisions, she graduated from Indiana University with a BA in political science and criminal justice and a minor in psychology. Mandy has now been happily married to her husband, Matt, for 18 years, and they’re raising two kids (ages 13 and 10) in a quaint little Texas community. Mandy has worked in the legal field for more than 20 years. For the past 12 years, Mandy has also volunteered at her home church.
This whole nextTalk adventure started in 2013 when Mandy’s older child—then 9 years old—asked a highly sexualized question. She didn’t know “this” existed until college. Mandy discovered that another fourth grade child had watched a pornographic video on his own phone and shared specific details with her daughter. This was a lightbulb moment because her daughter didn’t have a phone, and Mandy thought she was protected. She wasn’t. That question set Mandy on a new path. She created a moms’ group that grew from 20 to 200 within three short semesters. At the same time, her online group exploded to more than 1,600 moms from all over the world. And this with no marketing—just word of mouth! Mandy was then asked to speak on television and radio.
As Mandy continued on this journey, she recognized we’re in unchartered territory. Parenting has undergone a seismic shift in this new digital era forcing us to address issues previous generations never encountered. Cyberparenting isn’t only about rules and restrictions; it’s about relationship. She discovered the key is a simple solution—open communication. But the process of achieving such a rapport is complicated and time consuming. Parents need to begin relationship-building early, even before their children’s tween years hit. Mandy often continues to mess up as a parent, but she is finding valuable lessons in those mistakes. She’s awake and alert now, ready to face the complicated questions we face today that are caused by early online exposure. Mandy explores all these issues (including, but not limited to: transgender, sexuality, social media, sex, cyberbullying, suicide, addiction, etc.) and shares personal stories/conversation starters in her book, TALK: A Practical Approach to Cyberparenting and Open Communication, available here.
Mandy’s time is split between researching, team building, speaking, writing and talking to her family about everything. And she’s completely addicted to Diet Coke.
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