Let's K12 Better

Let’s Talk About Empowering Digital Leaders with Jennifer Casa-Todd

April 27, 2022 Mom Of All Capes Season 3 Episode 6
Let’s Talk About Empowering Digital Leaders with Jennifer Casa-Todd
Let's K12 Better
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Let's K12 Better
Let’s Talk About Empowering Digital Leaders with Jennifer Casa-Todd
Apr 27, 2022 Season 3 Episode 6
Mom Of All Capes

Social media isn’t going anywhere. And neither is technology. So how do we help kids learn leadership skills and interpersonal skills so they can have successful social media experiences

In this episode, we sat down with Jennifer Casa-Todd teacher-librarian, author, and co-founder of the Global Education Student Chat to discuss how parents and educators can support young people as they explore the digital space.

Connect on Social Media:

Check out Jennifer Casa-Todd’s books and other publications on her website or via her linktr.ee!

Learn more about student voice and how to support student leadership on social media on the #GlobalEdSsChat website: https://globaledsschat.com/ 

Send us your community letters!
Are you saddled with a troubling situation? Curious to hear what we think about a certain issue? Send us your questions! Your query may end up on the Let’s K12 Better podcast in our community letters section.  Send your celebrations and questions to this form or email us: LetsK12Better@gmail.com

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter: https://bit.ly/LetsK12BetterMail
*Love our podcast? Rate. Review. Share!

Music written and produced by Garvey Mortley

The Let’s K12Better podcast is written and produced by Amber Coleman-Mortley, Garvey Mortley, Naima Mortley, and Sofia Mortley.

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Social media isn’t going anywhere. And neither is technology. So how do we help kids learn leadership skills and interpersonal skills so they can have successful social media experiences

In this episode, we sat down with Jennifer Casa-Todd teacher-librarian, author, and co-founder of the Global Education Student Chat to discuss how parents and educators can support young people as they explore the digital space.

Connect on Social Media:

Check out Jennifer Casa-Todd’s books and other publications on her website or via her linktr.ee!

Learn more about student voice and how to support student leadership on social media on the #GlobalEdSsChat website: https://globaledsschat.com/ 

Send us your community letters!
Are you saddled with a troubling situation? Curious to hear what we think about a certain issue? Send us your questions! Your query may end up on the Let’s K12 Better podcast in our community letters section.  Send your celebrations and questions to this form or email us: LetsK12Better@gmail.com

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter: https://bit.ly/LetsK12BetterMail
*Love our podcast? Rate. Review. Share!

Music written and produced by Garvey Mortley

The Let’s K12Better podcast is written and produced by Amber Coleman-Mortley, Garvey Mortley, Naima Mortley, and Sofia Mortley.

Support the Show.

Let’s Talk About Empowering Digital Leaders with Jennifer Casa-Todd

student voice, digital citizenship, parenting with tech, digital leadership, social media, digital media, parenting tips, K12 education, students, technology 

Amber Coleman-Mortley 
Garvey Mortley 
Naima Mortley 
Sofia Mortley 
Jennifer Casa-Todd


Amber Coleman-Mortley  00:07

Hi! Welcome to the Let’s K12 Better podcast. This podcast is a project between me, MomOfAllCapes, and my kids.

Group  00:19


Garvey  00:23

In our podcast, we will cover a variety of subjects involving K12 education and family life.

Sofia  00:28

We will talk about the ways that parents, kids, and educators can improve K12 Education and family life.

Naima  00:35

Hit subscribe to get alerts when new episodes drop and follow us on social media at let's K 12 better 

Sofia  00:52

Let’s jump into Season 3, Episode 6 of the LetsK12Better Podcast  

Garvey  01:00

In this episode, we sat down with teacher-librarian, author, and co-founder of the Global Education Student Chat, Jennifer Casa-Todd. 

Sofia  01:10

Jennifer Casa-Todd believes that adults should model and teach kids how to use technology and social media. This learning is collaborative between adults and students and should empower young people to be a positive influence on others. 

Naima  01:30

We're delighted to have Jennifer Casa-Todd, teacher, librarian, author and co-founder of the global education student chat.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  01:40

Alright, yes. Welcome to the podcast. Jen, we are so excited to have you.

Jennifer Casa-Todd  01:46

So I am super excited to be with you all. Thank you.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  01:51

Yes. Alright. So this is going to be a really amazing episode and interview love the topic that you are going to be covering and sharing with everyone. Also shout out to the episode that we did together on your Social LEADia podcast. So we will make sure that we link that in the show notes as well. What, whaaaat!?

Jennifer Casa-Todd  02:14

Woo Woot! 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  02:16

So we're gonna get started. So letting our folks get to know you with our first question from Sofia. Sofia, you want to take us away?

Sofia  02:25

Yeah. Let's start by having our listeners get to know you. You're an author, educator, and student voice advocate. Can you tell us a bit about your journey and what drew you to elevating student voice?

Jennifer Casa-Todd  02:38

Thank you, Sofia. So I've been teaching for many, many years I've been teaching for 30 years and I've always been drawn to students. Obviously when you choose to be a teacher that's why. But I I can't honestly say that I was a student voice advocate, um, for all of those 30 years of teaching. I think that that really has come to me later in my career when I started to recognize that when I let go of control and when I listened to what students had to say it was kind of an amazing thing. And so the more I listened to students the more I gave them voice both in my classroom... and then sort of in my journey as I became an author I started to see some of the great work that students were doing on and offline that some teachers, some adults just weren't paying attention to. Because we're so used to saying "kids these days" in a negative way. But when I started to realize how many truly awesome students there were out there, it just, it just became natural for me to want to continue to amplify the voices of students hear what they're doing; shine a light on their awesomeness so that they can be mentors for other students; and and really I think that has led to to all the things that I'm doing right now with Global Ed Student Chat and the books that I've published and the work that I continue to do.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  04:03

That's really amazing. And just in like listening to students and providing them opportunities to lead and connect, you know, can you touch upon, not every student has all the skills or, you know, all the know-how to use their voice, right? And especially using their voice in a digital space. So can you talk a little bit about like, how you weave in digital citizenship and digital leadership as you provide young people with mentorship and training?

Jennifer Casa-Todd  04:35

For sure. So one of the things I feel like we don't do well, I think we're getting way better at it, is when we talk about digital citizenship, I think as adults, we spend an awful lot of time telling kids what not to do. I think it's just we're fearful for kids. We want to keep them safe and so we but we spend so much time on what not to do that we don't often give them opportunities to connect with others. To find out the difference between good strangers and bad strangers, you know, and to recognize that they can indeed use technology to make the world a better place. And so whenever I can, in classes, I ensure that I help kids to see that. 

Jennifer Casa-Todd  05:23

There were some amazing resources from Common Sense Media from ISTE. I bring those into my practice as a teacher librarian. But, but really, it's about listening to kids what they're doing, not focusing on what they can't do all the time, and giving them opportunities to build those skills together. So one of the things I advocate for a great deal is a class account in a school, for example, so especially teachers who have really young kids, they say, "Well, I mean, I'm bound by all these privacy laws, how am I supposed to do this?" And the reality is that kids are online in great, great numbers at younger ages. And so when we teach as if social media doesn't exist, we're not really  helping to support our kids. We're not helping to support them with all of the social-emotional, things that come with that. We're not helping to help them, you know, learn how to constructively have conversations. I'm not suggesting we go to, you know, social media immediately to do this, but really helping kids to scaffold what constructive conversations look like first in the classroom, then using a class account, to have those conversations and then so that they can move towards using social media and technology independently, you know, in in constructive ways.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  06:48

Yeah. Because the goal ultimately, is to release them in the wild, right, at an appropriate time, so that they, they can thrive because the digital space is not going away anytime soon. So I just love how you're positioning these experiences. These are social emotional learning and civic skills, but in the digital space. And, you know, again, providing the scaffolding for the experiences through class accounts, like you mentioned, and collaborative learning are super awesome. So let's talk a little bit more about the ways that you're tangibly doing this providing people with an awesome example to follow. Garvey, you have our next question. 

Garvey  07:33

You are the co founder of the Global Education Student Chat. Can you talk about what this opportunity is, and the motivation behind starting this Twitter chat?

Jennifer Casa-Todd  07:44

Thank you, Garvey. I love your question. And I'm a student voice advocate. So I'm going to turn the question around to you for one minute before I answer, because you were one of the Global Ed Student Chat leaders. And my wondering to you is, what opportunity did the Global Ed Student Chat provide you with, that you found useful?

Garvey  08:06

Well, um, I guess, the opportunity to learn how to communicate with others better and get my point across on large panels. Um, well, not large panels, but panels with other people who are also speaking on the same topic. Sometimes it can be challenging when you have an answer, and you're not sure somebody else is going to answer. And so yeah, it's given me the opportunity to learn how to connect with others better. And it's also given me the opportunity to speak on higher panels with more efficiency.

Jennifer Casa-Todd  08:41

Okay, awesome. Thank you. And I just say we loved having you on panel and listening to your perspective. So for those of you that don't know what the Global Education Student Chat is, it's a student led Twitter chat that connects K to 12 students around the world to discuss topics and questions related to character, education, social justice, and citizenship. We try to create opportunities for students to network with others to gain perspective, to build relationships with peers in a literacy, rich learning environment, as well as experience social media as a powerful platform for learning. 

Jennifer Casa-Todd  09:15

And so what I love about this is we continually have some really, really inspiring students on panel from from different places around the world who bring in different perspectives. And so it works on a variety of levels. I know for me, I have learned so much from the students, because once a month at night, we get together and we actually create chat questions. And helping kids to create discussion questions is harder than you think. But it's also a really important skill, right? In an information age, where kids... where we have so much information, actually creating questions is important. So I feel like we we do that with our student leaders. And then we pose those questions once a month at 1pm Eastern Time. We pose these questions that the kids came up with to each other, they answer the questions. And then we invite classes from around the world to participate via either the YouTube channel or Twitter in order to participate in the conversation. And what we have seen, what I have seen over the years has been really, really neat, because, first of all, I've seen such incredible growth in the student leaders themselves. And when we talk about digital leadership skills, there's one student in particular that I think of, let's call him "Ned", his Twitter account was really a hot mess. When he first started to, when he was on our panel. He had really, he was so articulate, like such a great member of our team. But social media, like just no concept, right had no concept of audience or, or anything, or tone or anything, it was like he was on Twitter as if he was talking to his friends. Your kids are very lucky because they have you as a mentor. Not all students have caring adult mentors who are showing them, uh, you know, the way. And so this student we had to say, you know, look, there are kids that are going to be now looking at your Twitter account, because of what you're saying, and because you're on the chat. And so once we had this conversation, and we talked a little bit about, you know, how might you use your Twitter account a different way? When I did my master's research last year, two years ago, I did a deep dive into the Global Ed Student Chat just to see what impact adult mentorship and peer mentorship had on students using social media. And Ned's example was fascinating to me, because he was only on the team for four months. But four years later, his Twitter account was still very, very professional. And to me, that's a win, right? 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  11:58

That's a huge win. 

Jennifer Casa-Todd  11:59

Right, there are so many levels at work here. There aren't, there aren't as many, I would love to say that there are a lot of really great role models for kids. There are. Like there are some incredible role models out there for kids that, you know, I love to hear about when a student finds someone that they you know, either a TikTok influencer or an Instagram or anyone a YouTuber who they admire. I'd love to hear more about it, what is it that you admire about them? So the Global Ed Student Chat, really is an opportunity for us to shine a light on what it could be like, right on on student leaders. And so I'm so proud of the initiative. I feel like it should be way bigger than it actually is. But I'm actually presenting on about it, both at Spring CUE and at ISTE this year, along with Michael Drezek. The co founder, Leigh Cassell won't be there but we're hoping to have some of our students on board. But essentially, that's what it is, it's an opportunity for kids to see other kids engaging in conversations around topics that are important to them. And using social media as a platform for not just posting what they had for breakfast or you know, being mean to one another, but to really post something positive and productive. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  13:18

I love that. You know, because you're right kids do, young people need like, valuable insight into social media is not just a stream of consciousness. And being your authentic self, you know, doesn't mean that you share every bit of information about your everything that you've ever thought ever. So, you know, just really love the work that you all are doing to help these young people. I don't know, like work on in a marketing way I would say work on your brand, but also put your position yourself out in the world the way that you'd want to. You know, I just want to say Jen, I thought this was a great opportunity for Garvey, especially during virtual learning. She still goes to virtual school, but you know, to connect with young people during a time when school was not fostering those connections. So I just want to say that I really appreciate the experience that she has as a parent right, who was looking on the outside and hopefully, hopefully maybe Naima will join you know...

Jennifer Casa-Todd  14:22

We would love that, Naima! We would love that and we loved, loved having her. We really really did. And you know we right now we have a student named Namya from India and another young girl Maddie from Alaska. And my goodness I... you sometimes forget when you're not connecting to others, and this is the other thing about so we know that social media creates filter bubbles, right? That you could sometimes go through like weeks months, never ever having your perspective interrupted. Right? And and yet these these students interrupt my perspective all the time, simply because they're from a different part of the world than I am. They don't have the same holidays. Um, that's like the very basic level, right. But we were talking about climate action, for example, Maddie talked very personally about how climate is impacting salmon and in her part of the world, and how devastating that has been for her community. And those are the kinds of things that we need to hear from one another, because social media and technology, they are powerful places for us to learn about one another, if only we take advantage of them.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  15:35

So you've already covered essentially, the question I was going to ask you about, like goals that you have for this experience, like fostering connection, and helping students cultivate the skills necessary to thrive in the digital space. But are there any other hopes or goals or expectations or dreams that you have for your students, and even educators for the Global Education Student Chat?

Jennifer Casa-Todd  16:01

I think, I think for me, I really wish that educators would embrace this opportunity more, I'm one of the things that frustrates me, I'm a teacher librarian now. So I'm not in the classroom. And I don't have, you know, I don't have exams, and I don't have to cover things as rigidly as some teachers do. And I totally get the constraints of time. But I do feel like some days, we need to just think about what our kids need to know and understand and be able to do when they graduate into this world. And take advantage of something like the Global Ed Student Chat once a month and get their kids involved. You know, that it can be a wonderful opportunity for kids. And that when we look at our curriculum, a little bit more openly and flexibly, I mean you could  apply the various topics. Like for example, last month, Garvey was a guest panelist, it was a really powerful conversation about Black History Month, you know.  Any teacher could have stopped and utilized that opportunity to have important conversations with their own students. 

Jennifer Casa-Todd  17:19

I think that the the opportunities for students and our student panels, they're there. But I just really, really would hope that educators would just embrace more flexibly, an opportunity like this, that's safe, right? Like we've never had an issue. And I know that that educators are sometimes fearful. And I know that timing can be a constraint. But we also have, you know, Flipgrid opportunities where you can take these same ideas, watch these kids, listen to these kids, and respond to them in a way that's more comfortable for you for you know, if you're not comfortable on Twitter, or you don't have a Twitter account, or YouTube is blocked. But I really, really, really hope that this gains way more momentum, the momentum I think it deserves.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  18:06

That's awesome. So awesome. So as we talk about, you know, educators so many ways to connect, and participate and engage with this growing community of students who are learning and leading in the digital space. Let's talk a little bit to parents and caregivers. Right. So I'm going to hand the mic over to Naima for our next question.

Naima  18:30

You’ve written Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership; and Raising Digital Leaders: Practical Advice for Families Navigating Today’s Technology. Our audience includes parents, educators, and students; what advice do you have for parents and caregivers when it comes to social media usage and digital citizenship?

Jennifer Casa-Todd  18:55

Thank you Naima. First of all, I want to say thank you so much, Amber, for lending your voice to the book. It was really, really important to me to shine a light on different parent perspectives. And I felt so honored that you shared a chapter of vignette it was. Yes, thank you. That was awesome. 

Jennifer Casa-Todd  19:16

So the advice that I have, I think it goes back to the advice I said before social media exists in our world. And I am afraid of it in many, many ways. But I also think that we need to acknowledge that it exists. We need to figure out a way, Merve Lapus who writes, the foreword says, "We want our kids to use technology, not let it use us". And so for me, it is absolutely essential that we of course, limit our kids use of social media. But more importantly, we have ongoing conversations with our kids about what they're viewing about what they're posting about. what they're seeing about what you know about what that world looks like. That, you know, in some of my research, something that really struck me was that parental restriction is not as effective as parental involvement. And that is huge. And so I would say the same in a classroom where you can have really frank conversations about things that are happening or embed, you know, pop culture or social media into the context of your classroom. Not only are you going to have a more authentic, authentic conversations, but you're also going to learn so much about what your kids value and that goes for for parents and educators. 

Jennifer Casa-Todd  20:42

"We Got This" by Cornelius Minor, I love that book. And this is for the educators in the room. He does class meetings in a way that I really had never thought of them before. His class meetings are: you bring in an example, from your life. My nephew is addicted to Roblox. And, you know, every time I look at him, he's playing Roblox, if you kind of suspect that your kids are playing a lot of Roblox and your grade five class, and that when the kids are giving him advice, right in this class meeting, that he really understands where they're coming from. Some of the examples he uses later on, might come from Roblox, but it really helps him to develop a connection with them and figure out how he might support them. And so I would say it's the same as a parent. Right? parental involvement means being interested in what your kids are interested in. 

Jennifer Casa-Todd  21:40

I remember when my kids were in, my daughter did synchronized swimming, like... Ah, I didn't even know what it is. Like, I spent hours, like sewing sequins on this crazy headpiece and on these bathing suits and go into watch really bad routines. But I did it because that's where my kids were. So if my kids are going to be on a game, then my recommendation is you need to be involved in that game. Play with them. You know, what are some of the things that they're doing on there, that's what parental involvement is, it's, it's really about showing interest, making sure that your kids know that you have their back if something goes wrong. That they're not afraid to share with you some of the things that they see. Now, inevitably, I mean, teens, adolescence is all about pulling away from your family and moving towards peer, but you really want to ensure that you have a strong foundation of trust, and love and support and tough conversations with your kids. You know, if you are saying "No, we're not doing TikTok right now, this is how I'm feeling." Make sure that you know, it's an ongoing, like it's an open dialogue, and that maybe you revisit it, or maybe you put TikTok on a family iPad and, and do that together, so that they're not missing out on some of those social connections that other kids are having, but you're still helping them to be safe. You know, being involved means figuring out what the parental controls and settings are on a lot of the devices. I know that I've been using, I created a Raising Digital Leaders Instagram account where right, I'm trying to share some of that connecting with other parents recognizing that you're not alone, that if you're experiencing this chances are mom down the road is experiencing this too. It truly does take a village to raise a child. So that those are just a few things that come to mind.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  23:42

Yes, yeah, no love all of that. You know, it requires a ton of vulnerability. I will say speaking from personal experience, I do not play Roblox I do not play a lot of the games that my kids play. But I definitely ask them all kinds of questions about the mechanics of the game. And, you know, what are the goals? And what are you trying to achieve during your, you know, hour to two hours that you're on the platform? And, you know, how do you interact with other people? If this is like, you know, a game where I'm allowing you to play online with others, right? So what, what's going on where you're interacting with someone across the world? So I think you're absolutely right. You know, there are ways for parents to connect, especially if it's not your thing or your jam, you know, involving yourself in some way that shows your kids that you care is it goes a long, long, long way. And I'm speaking from personal experience, so thank you for that, Jen. And I also want to make sure that everyone heard the parental restriction is not as beneficial as parental involvement. I just love that so much. And so thank you, thank you. Thank you for bringing that up. Um, oh my goodness, we have covered so much in such a short period of time, and I am thoroughly impressed with how much we've covered. I just want to ask you before we go, you know, like, Where can people find you, and also what else you'd like to share with our listeners for them to take away with, from from, from you?

Jennifer Casa-Todd  25:22

Thank you so much. First of all, I just want to say thank you to your crew. I'm so grateful for being here. I just love, love the work that you do. I love the fact that you do this podcast together. Such a fan of that, so awesome. People can find me I blog, I have not blogged I gotta tell you a COVID has really stumped me. I have not logged in a long time. But I used to blog really regularly. And I really hope to get back to it at some point. But wwww.jcasatodd.com is where you are going to find my blogs, blog posts, more information about my books. I'm also on Twitter @JCasaTodd, I'm on Instagram @JCasaTodd and my Raising Digital Leaders account on Instagram. I just opened it. And I'm really enjoying sort of that sharing with the parent community. That's been a lot of fun. I'm also the author of a book called "Aubrey Bright In Stories That Connect Us". And I that was my first foray Edu Match publisher and founder Sarah Thomas, who I think you know, Amber took a chance on our book. And she is amazing. And we're now writing our second book called "Aubrey Bright And The Games We Play". And that really is a story about Aubrey again, who is you know, dealing with friendship. And her brother playing online and her friends playing online and some of the the issues that arise there. So we're really excited about that. And one of the really exciting things about that project is that one of my former students Sahar Fermani, she always had this dream of publishing a children's book, like she's an artist. And she used to come into the library and doodle all the time. And I like I loved her artwork. And we were in the car one day going down to graduation. And I said to her, you know, one day, I'd like to write a children's book, and she said, "Oh, my gosh, one day, I would love to illustrate a children's book". And so, you know, being the student voice advocate than I am, I'm like, well, let's have it, let's make it happen. And so she is the one who illustrated our first Aubrey Bright book. And she's illustrating the second one. So that is the project that I'm working on right now. I'm very excited. I'm also working with a young woman, a student in California. Her name is Karen Pham, just brilliant, brilliant young woman who is also writing a book and I'm help mentoring her a little bit on that. So. And then, of course, I'd love to work with the students in my own building, too. So. And that's where it's at friends, really, in the world of education, listening to students and shining a light on the good that they're doing will help to dispel some of the negativity around kids these days.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  28:33

Yes to all of those things. Well, we will make sure that we link all of this awesomeness in the show notes so that folks can find you so that folks can, you know, connect with you ask you questions, if they have questions about anything. So we will make sure everyone has access to that. Gang, what do we say? 

Group  29:02


Jennifer Casa-Todd  29:02

You're awesome.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  29:04

Thank you so very, very much, Jen. Oh, my God, always a pleasure to connect with you. It's so great to have you on with us. Thank you for for being with us.

Jennifer Casa-Todd  29:13

Likewise, bye everyone. Thank you.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  29:20

We encourage you to have an ongoing conversation with the young people in your life. Talk to them about their social media usage and digital media consumption. Jen said something really important to us during our conversation. She said, "when we teach as if social media doesn't exist, we're not helping to support our kids." The reality is social media isn't going anywhere. And neither is technology. What we need to do as the adults is help kids understand how those soft interpersonal skills that they're using in person, translate for their success in the digital space.

Naima  30:03

If you enjoyed this conversation and you want to learn more, we encourage you to check out Jennifer Casa-Todd and her work. We've linked everything you need in the show notes.

Garvey  30:20

What’s on your mind? Do you have a question, an issue, or a celebration to share? Send it to us and we’ll discuss it.  Share what’s on your mind… the link is in the description, or send your questions to LetsK12Better@gmail.com. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  30:39

Alright, we are getting questions in for our community letters. Thank you all so much for sending in your letters to us or what's on your mind. We really appreciate it. Don't forget that you can email us or you can use the form in the show notes to send what's on your mind and we'll discuss it. Obviously, everything's anonymous. We don't put you out there. So, yes to that. So this question comes from a parent and fitting it's about technology, goes great with this episode. So our parents says, "I'm in need of some advice. When it comes to technology. My daughter is nine and she really wants a cell phone. Her friends have phones, and they also have social media. How I don't know me neither me neither parent. I don't want her to feel bad or feel like she's going to be made fun of but I also think nine is a little young for a smartphone. Please share your thoughts. Thanks!" Okay. Alright. So, um, Garvey, we're gonna let you go first on this one.

Garvey  31:51

So when I was nine, actually I really wanted a phone too. I remember, like, I asked my mom all the time, like, can I please have a phone, I didn't get my first phone till I was 11. So if she thinks if you like the parent thing similar to my mom, like she has a ways to go till she even gets a phone. And I only got it because I was going to middle school. So I would say like, pace her if she doesn't already have an iPad. Like I think an iPad will be better for her age. Especially since like, you can still do most of the stuff you can do on a phone or an iPad, except you just can't take it up the house that often. So I would say like as the parent, and iPads probably I don't know how much they cost they probably cost around the same amount or if you get out they don't want it's less so yeah, I would say just pace her was an iPad first. And talk to her about the social media part, especially since like social media at nine, it's not good, especially like Instagram, like they have a lot of body dysmorphia sort of stuff. And she could develop like an eating disorder at a young age and stuff like that, and self hate herself at a young age. So I just think, yeah, give her an iPad. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  32:59

I really appreciate all of the, like elements that you've wrapped up in here. Like you know what you're doing. Okay! 

Garvey  33:08


Amber Coleman-Mortley  33:08

Have you like maybe I'm a good parent, sometimes, maybe? No, but thank you so much for your contribution. Hopefully it helps this parent. 

Garvey  33:19

Oh yeh you welcome... don't laugh at me.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  33:25

Alright, Sofia. We have a nine year old who wants a phone and wants social media? What advice do you have for them? And their parent?

Sofia  33:35

So actually, like, um, what the advice I have is, even though I did have a phone at nine, it wasn't really just to either play games on or do social media. It was like mostly for like, if we're out of the house, right? Um, but like, I think that I agree with what Garvey said that you should like pace your new child like, you should like give them something like a iPad first or like some other electronic. And you should try to like watch them on it and not just let them like go on their own all the time. And like if they're playing online with somebody else, like see who they're playing with or what, who they're talking to.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  34:20

That is awesome advice. So I appreciate your perspective. You did get a phone at nine whereas your sisters didn't, so younger child privilege. So thank you so very much for that. 

Garvey  34:31

Okay, actually what Sofia said just now I really just disagree with it. I think you should actually instead to know what app she has on her iPad or whatever device to get her you don't have to get her an iPad or you know if you just wait till later; if you ever get her device, try to set up some sort of thing where you're like the middleman in between the purchase where you can say yes or no... 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  34:54

Parental Controls. 

Garvey  34:55

Yeah, parental controls. I know Apple has it but maybe you might get her some other device and try to research and look into what other devices have it if you don't want to get her an Apple. But I'm just saying like, you don't want to hawk over her, because then she's gonna think that you don't have her best interests. And she's gonna just think that you don't trust her enough to be on her own. And definitely speaking as a child, myself, who is like trusted with devices, I wouldn't want my parents just looking on what I have all the time. So, yeah, that's what I want to add.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  35:25

Okay, appreciate you adding that in there. Because that's really, really important to make sure that you, the parent knows what's on the phone. And also, it's okay that you disagree with your sister. So I appreciate that too. Thank you.

Garvey  35:37

Yeah, you're welcome.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  35:40

Okay, so I feel like these guys pretty much covered everything, the one thing I would add is, as a parent, having the trust in yourself and in your gut, that you know, what is right for your kid. You know, as you heard, I have one child who didn't get a phone till she was 11. And another child got one at nine. And then, you know, I think Naima got her phone somewhere in the middle, they're nine or 11, or 10... 11. Okay, thank you so much. So she got hers at 11. Right. Now, I do want to preface that Sofia got her phone at nine because it was during the pandemic. And we wanted her to be able to communicate with family, specifically like her dad, when he was away. And so that's why we got the phone. So the phone never left the house and never went to school, it was a way for her to call and feel as if she had a bit of autonomy and freedom during a time where life was just really uncertain. So I do want to preface why she got a phone not to, not to like not to, I guess make an excuse for it or or say that I need permission to feel better about it or not. But just want to preface that. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  36:56

I do want to say that Garvey is right with finding a way to use some other kind of device to help your child learn to navigate technology to get you both in the rhythm of her asking for apps. An iPad is a great way or tablet is a great way of doing that. So I definitely agree with Garvey there. In fact, I would say my kids have had iPads since they were toddlers, right? The first iPad, I think came out in like 2000, the early 2000s 2007 or late 2000s, 2007 - 2008. So they've had an iPad since like, they could sit up. And the reason I felt like you know, it's technology; technology's in our lives forever. They need to learn how to use it even at the very youngest of age. This has been me holding their hand throughout the entirety of their life. And then also me stepping back and providing opportunities for them to show what they've learned and show that I can trust them by giving them freedoms that are scaffolded. Right? That's an educational term that freedoms that are we're providing a little bit of bumper around these opportunities so that students can learn and fail. Without extreme consequences. We're making sure that the learning is leading up to something. So that's more conversations between me and my kids as groups, me and my kids one-on-one, so that they can learn from the mistakes that each other have made. So they don't make those mistakes, too, right. And so we want to as parents just provide as many learning experiences as possible for our kids. I don't think... Y'all are making fun of me, you're like, "everything's a learning experience". It is! Anyway, my kids are making fun of me and I'm not ashamed. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  38:51

Anyway. With your nine year old, I would say, you know, definitely hold your ground. You know, I agree that she does not need a phone per se. But you know, your kid, right? And so maybe use this as an opportunity to say, "Okay, on your 10th birthday, you're gonna get a phone." Right, and let's up to that up to 10. Let's talk about what it means. Social media is a whole other playground. I definitely recommend going back and listening to this episode. Definitely checking out Jennifer Casa-Todd's work. She does have advice for families, raising digital leaders, and how you know, you can help your young person on social media. Obviously with social it's a whole other arena. I would say the longer you can wait to introduce that to your kids, the better. My kids did not get social until way late. Though they watch a YouTube you know, Garvey when did you get Twitter? 

Garvey  39:52

Literall like, just now. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  39:55

Yeah, like what like during the pandemic last year. So yeah, so like when she was 12/13, she got Twitter. And the only reason she got Twitter is because she was in the Global Ed Students Chat. And also she was speaking and so for folks to tag her on social media, and things like that. But she does not have, none of them have Instagram. And none of them have TikTok. We looked at TikTok. And then we realized it's kind of toxic for us, right? We didn't like it. So, you know, I think every family has to make their own decisions about social media, when to introduce it, or whether to introduce it or not. And, again, ongoing conversations, because just because something's working in another groups house doesn't mean that's going to work in your own home.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  40:48

Alright, we've reached the point in our show, where it's almost time to say goodbye. Naima, what do you hope for our listeners until we're with them again?

Naima  40:59

I hope that they have discussions with their kids about, not just technology, but just in general. Lke checking up on them and stuff. I feel like it's important, especially if your kid is going through puberty, because they may not always like be like, talking to you. So they probably would appreciate you just sitting down to have a little chat with them.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  41:24

I feel that I feel that and maybe even a hug sprinkled on top. 

Garvey  41:30


Naima  41:31

Maybe I don't know.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  41:36

Alright. Sofia what do you hope for our listeners until we're with them again?

Sofia  41:41

I hope that like, um... I hope that everybody has like, just a great, like, I hope everybody has a great like week and a great month because as we said, it's it's getting hotter, but it's also really still cold. So if you can, like go take a even a short jog, like a short walk around your neighborhood or even like a drive with your kids, you know, chill out with them if you have time. And like, um, yeah, I think and you should also have a kind of like what Naima said and have a conversation about the things that you're interested in as they get older and the things that like they... Yeah, so I just, yeah,

Amber Coleman-Mortley  42:25

Okay, you said a lot of "Yeahs" and "So's" but I do want to say the vernal equinox is upon us. So get out and walk and run. And then on that walk, run, talk to your kids. Is that what you're saying? Yeah, okay, cool. Cool. Cool. Okay, garvey, what do you hope for our listeners until we're with them again?

Garvey  42:42

So today's my birthday, so I hope everybody

Amber Coleman-Mortley  42:47

It's not your birthday. 

Garvey  42:48

It's my birthday. And I turning, I'm turning 15. And I just hope that everybody in the chat wishes me happy birthday.

Garvey  42:56

I'm just thanking you in advance. And everybody has a great day. I hope everybody's having a good knife, a good life. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  42:56

Do not listen to her. I can't. It's not your birthday. You're not even turning 15. I'm turning your mic off.

Amber Coleman-Mortley  43:06

A good knife? [Laughter] What do you hope for our listeners? 

Garvey  43:11

I just told them. I hope they say Happy Birthday to me! 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  43:14

It's not her birthday. 

Garvey  43:15

It is my birthday!!!

Amber Coleman-Mortley  43:18

Okay, you're done! 

Garvey  43:20


Amber Coleman-Mortley  43:21

Okay, sorry about those shenanigans. Anyway. It's not her birthday. I'm on the mic. Anyway. So I know when I had you. So it's not your birthday. It's not your birthday. It was her birthday before, but it's not today. So anyway, anyway. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  43:47

What I hope for our listeners is that you... One- Happy Allergy Season. Stay strong out here, people, you can probably hear that I'm congested. Again, this episode. So happy allergy season, shout out to the trees doing their thing. The other thing I want to say is just you know, make space for your kids to bring you along on their social media and digital media journey. My kids show me stuff all the time that they think is funny. And even if you don't think it's funny, you know, still connect with them. And like even maybe ask them like, why was that funny? Or I didn't get it, please explain it to me, right? And allow them the opportunity to bring you in on their experiences and what they're doing and, you know, the culture that they're engaging with online. I find that to be just super beneficial. So that is what I hope for our listeners. This is if you're an educator, teacher, a trusted adult, a caregiver, a grandparent, other family member, a friend or mentor, you know, let the young people bring you in to their digital world

Sofia  45:05

Thank you for listening to the Let’s K12 Better Podcast

Garvey  45:08

You made it to the end… Please like, subscribe, and share. 

Amber Coleman-Mortley  45:12

We want to hear from you. Connect with us on social media @LetsK12Better on all social media platforms. Or connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Clubhouse @MomOfAllCapes. The Let’s K12 Better podcast is available on every podcasting platform; so if you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to rate and review our podcast. This is a family project and your feedback helps us grow. Thank you so much for listening. 

Sofia  45:46

See you next time!