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Holiday Safety With Hannah George

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2022 12:00 pm

Holiday Safety With Hannah George

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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December 31, 2022 12:00 pm


In today's episode the ladies of Lantern Rescue speak with Hannah George of Filter First about ways on how to protect our children during this holiday season.

A warning: this program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised.

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Thank you so much for joining us today on Lantern Rescue. Last week, you guys stepped into a little glance at just our encouragement for those of you that are heading into the holidays and maybe some things to watch out for when it comes to healthy boundaries for your children. Today, we have Hannah George with us from Filter First. And you know, this is a perfect segue from what we were speaking about last week. So often we end up on the back end of social media gone wrong.

And it's not very often that we get to be on the preventative side of that. So today, Hannah George is gonna be talking to us a little bit about her organization Filter First and how that is just interesting. And how it's impacting our youth in a really awesome way. So Hannah, we're so excited to have you.

Thank you so much for having me. Absolutely. So if you will tell our listeners a little bit about Filter First and maybe what was the heart behind beginning your organization?

Got it. So in a nutshell, Filter First is we created this organization in this curriculum designed for a small group and classroom settings, just like you said, as a preventative to some of the negative impacts for our students. We're seeing the use and over misuse, honestly, undisciplined use of social media and smartphones have on our teens. We're probably in one of the worst mental health crises we've ever seen. Not to mention the rise in things like extortion, kids getting into horrible situations online, sharing horrible images, getting exposed to content too early in age. There's a vast and wide reach of what's happening to our children when it comes to access to social media and smartphones. And so we kind of just jumped into this space in hopes to, like you said, prevent some of that. So we created some content that gives kids healthy boundaries with the whole goal to kind of say, you know what? Social media is here.

Phones are here. It's not going anywhere. Now, while we will continue to advocate for delayed entry to get these kids through some pretty crucial developmental stages in their brains, honestly. What we do have to understand is that it's not going anywhere. And so we have to prepare these kids for what they're going to encounter.

I guess kind of the heart behind where we got started and how we got started was a little selfish in truth, if I'm going to be honest. It started about six years ago when my oldest daughter, who is now a senior, was entering middle school. And we were having those conversations, like every parent does, around phones. When do you get a phone? I really want Instagram.

I really want TikTok. All those things, you know. And back then, we didn't have the data. We didn't have any of this hardcore evidence of impact. But at the time, I just had a really bad feeling about it. And so I decided to wait.

I decided to push. And my sweet little kids were the only middle schoolers that walked in with flip phones. And they still giggle and laugh about it.

But now they can say thanks. It was a good choice. So even though I made that decision for my kids, I guess kind of what I realized was that even if I am making those decisions for my children, the truth is no one else was. And so what I was essentially doing was making my kid the only one that didn't have this device and didn't have access and wasn't on their phone. And there was a really kind of pivotal moment for me walking into, I think it was a youth group activity. And seeing my sweet kids who didn't have phones, you know, that access the Internet at all in this group of kids that were all on their phones.

And so there was my kid just kind of peeking over the shoulder of another kid trying to see what they were doing. And I just kind of realized that if I really wanted to create a different experience for my children, I was going to have to get some more people on board with this. And so that's kind of how it was born. And we decided, you know, we're going to change things for real.

We have to change things for everyone. And so that's kind of that's the story behind it was wanting a different experience for my children. You know, I think you touched on some things that coming from the parent perspective, it is hard. You know, I have two young kids, too.

And so the idea of me and my husband have already had those discussions were like, we're bringing in the dinosaur flute bones, no internet access, you know, we're bringing those ideas to the table. But you're right, at the end of the day, it's really easy, easy for us to, you know, keep our children from what we think they're doing, like the worst case scenario, right, by not handing them a phone, when really, we just end up behind, behind the times and so many levels. And then we end up creating this exclusion piece for them, you know, and, and that can be that can create its own set of emotional and destructive thoughts and, you know, and beginnings and to be honest, being in the classroom as a teacher in a high school setting, you know, I saw the kids of those parents that did not give them cell phones and things like that. And, you know, to that choice is that's every parent's individual choice to make, but I watched the same kids log on to their friend beside them phone and have their own Instagram account.

And now mom and dad don't know about it, you know, exactly. So there's just as much to be concerned about there, you know, they're they are finding ways to do it either way. And I think that that the concept behind what you guys are doing is preparing them on how to use it in a way that is going to not be so harmful and destructive, you know, because we're all aware of the reality of social media, even as adults, it is destructive, you know, to if we're not careful, but it also has purpose, right?

Like if your youth pastor is saying, Hey, everybody, grab your phone out and let's research, you know, this Bible verse, right? Like, there's, there's, there's great applications to it. It's just teaching them and encouraging them how to use it the correct way. So I love that that's a piece of what, what you guys are doing. And that's the heart behind what you're doing, because sometimes we just feel like we're trying to catch up. And this at least kind of becomes that, that point of, hey, we see where you're at, and we're going to meet you there instead of dragging you back to where we grew up in the dinosaur flip-flop age, you know, exactly.

Yes. And, you know, it's all about balance, right? And knowing your own child, like you said, this isn't like a one size fits all scenario. And I think the biggest thing that we've realized in coming into this space is, is that teenagers use social media differently than we do. And when you bring, you know, that shame into it, when you cut, when you're speaking with teenagers, and kind of shame them for being on their phone, shame them for being on their phone. You know, shame them for being on social media that doesn't really work.

That just makes them not want to listen to what you have to say. So we're kind of having to, you know, figure out a way to get kids to listen. That's the most important thing is to get them to listen and to empower them to want something different for themselves. And so our whole goal with this is to create a movement within teens. In that community setting, that's why classrooms, small groups, youth groups, youth organizations, like having that accountability, having that community, having that support system that is going to say, hey, look, man, get off your phone, like we're playing basketball, get over here. We gave them, we give lots of funny little sayings like disconnect to connect or hang out to hang out.

You know, that's the whole thing is trying to give, bring a little bit of light, catchy relevance to this space. Give them tools, give them, give them education, give them a why. Help them understand because rules without explanation for teenagers, they're just going to rebel against. We want to see them create healthy boundaries. We want to see them have healthier relationships with technology because we see technology at Filter First as just a neutral entity.

Technology in and of itself is not evil, but how we use it will make it so. And so getting kids to realize that this is a tool, it can benefit you or it can harm you all based on how you choose to use it. So let me ask, I know you mentioned classroom settings. So how well has this been received in the classroom setting? And is this something that you guys are hoping to see pushed out maybe into different school systems?

And what are you, you know, where are you kind of headed in that route? Yes, I mean, it's going very well. Well, as well as any online safety and digital well-being class, you know, middle school students, the fact that they're not tuning us out and that they're listening and that they're taking stuff away. I think just like in any, you know, nonprofit organization with a mission, if you help one kid, right, that's making a difference. But we are seeing kids walk away. I mean, I never have a moment, you know, during a course where one kid's not, oh, I went home and changed my privacy settings today or turned off my location sharing on Snapchat or whatever it might be. They are all at whatever what every kid or every class will have at least one student that makes a really positive change, sets app limits on their on their social media apps, turns off their notifications. So they're only picking up their phone when they want to pick up their phone. It's little changes that make a huge difference. Like if you go into the screen time setting on your phone, on your iPhone, you will see that your daily pickups directly correlate to your notifications.

I mean, they're essentially the same number. And so getting kids to realize that just turning off your notifications just so you're not getting I mean, there was one time I spoke to a bunch of high school students and I you know, we always look at our screen time. It's part of what we do just to kind of like, oh, gosh, wow, look at that. You know, three hours yesterday on Snapchat, you know? And so getting them to take a hard look at those things. But one student, it was one p.m.

I swear it was one p.m. And he had already had over 900 notifications that day. And that is just simply distraction. That's it. You know, that is only distraction. That's them trying to learn in class. That's them trying to have a normal conversation with a friend and be present. So just getting them to turn off some of those notifications that so they're not getting buzzed all the time.

So we're advocating for small changes that have a big impact. Absolutely. That's kind of it with students. If we can get them to walk away and willingly set an hour limit on TikTok and just so it prompts them to know, hey, I've been on here for an hour. Put it down.

It's not something that's supposed to like, you know, like shake like again, bring shame here. And like, oh, I get kicked off. You know, it's supposed to be a reminder. I need reminders of our phones and be scrolling for 25 minutes. And we didn't even realize that just because of the design of these apps and the algorithms that are literally completely calculated to keep us engaged on screen is not possible. And it's crazy. And, you know, those are things that we comprehend and understand as adults and still fall into it.

You know what I mean? The algorithms, like you said, they know that we have a 26 second attention span. Right. And so when those real scroll, they're scrolling through every, you know, 26 seconds or so.

And we're setting that time limit. But those are things that knowingly we know it can still get caught up in an hour of sitting there scrolling as adults. And then you put that on children who don't have the knowledge base and understanding, hey, there's people that are, you know, creating this content in this way to keep you sucked in. They don't they don't have those clear understandings of those boundaries. So I love that you guys bring that to them.

And then the thing like with location settings. I mean, that is huge. And we're hearing a lot more about it now. I think parents are are kind of becoming more aware of what that means. But there's so much terminology and technology that it is hard as parents to keep up with it. You know, but our kids, they know it. They understand it. They're in it, you know, on so many levels that we don't even understand. So I think your course is honestly just as encouraging for for those parents that are out there that don't understand the lingo and don't understand, you know, where they can find that that time span that they've been on. The kids have been on the phone or they've even been on their phone. It's a reality check for both adults and in youth.

So I love that. For those of you that are listening in the meantime, if you'll take a moment to check out lantern rescue dot org or get plugged into our social media for prayer needs and newsletter updates. So you can join us in the fight against human trafficking right back. Terrorism and human trafficking as a nonprofit charity, they offer services free of charge to their host nations.

Human trafficking is grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated one hundred and fifty billion dollars in annual activity. Lantern Rescue was developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor, slavery and facilitates holistic aftercare services. They're gearing up for operations right now, and you can go to lantern rescue dot org to see how you can support them financially.

All right, guys, welcome back to Lantern Rescue. Today's episode, we have Hannah George with us from Filter First. And, wow, she has just blown us away with some of the information regarding social media and our children and and really what Filter First is doing to ensure that safety, really designed to really achieve that healthy relationship for our young people in technology. So, Hannah, I'm going to let you step in and kind of tell us a little bit about what our listeners, whether they be parents or grandparents or even teachers in the classroom. What are some ways that are tips and tricks that they can take away from Filter First that really allow those boundaries, healthy boundaries to be set for the students and kids that they see? Awesome.

Yes. Well, I honestly kind of want to just lead with the fact that we need to start modeling the behaviors that we want to see in these young kids. We forget, I think, that their relationships with technology are forming long, long before they enter middle school or get their first cell phone. Making parents, grandparents, teenagers or teachers understand that toddlers are watching us on our devices. It's fascinating, if you place a zillion toys on the ground around your little baby toddler and then you put your phone on the ground as well, they will go straight to that device. And I think a lot of it has to do with how much we stare at that device. That reminder of we steer where we stare. And if we're honest, the average adult is spending almost nine to 11 hours a day, like all their waking hours, engaged in a screen in some way and becoming aware of that. And if we're going to come to this younger generation and want to see change and want to see them have healthy relationships with technology, we really need to start modeling those behaviors in ourselves.

That is huge that you say that. Because even sitting in the classroom, I remember getting called out by one of the kids. And I'm sitting there at night really even scrolling.

I was checking emails on it. But they're like, oh, we can't have our phone, but you can have yours. I'm like, well, all right.

I see where that went real fast. But that is something that even in our households, we have those discussions. And honestly, my husband and I have had that same discussion. We just actually had this talk last night. So you're stepping all over my toes with that one. But in good timing, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that's listening in and saying this, but we steal that time from our children that we sit there on our devices at home and it's not fair to them.

And you're right. We are creating those habits within them and those unhealthy boundaries within our children at a very young age. When your kid knows how to swipe through photos or whatever on your phone before the age of three, like they learned it from us. I know my three year old can do more on my phone sometimes I think than I can.

But it's right. You know, setting that phone down and we decided we're sitting it down as soon as we walk in the house each day. There's a little table and we're just going to sit it down there and we can turn it off. Somebody needs to call us. But aside from that, like it just we need to be present.

So that is a great that's a toe stepper. But that was much needed. Thank you. Well, and it's simple stuff. I mean, you you have to kind of say to yourself, right? I am a parent and I want to have good conversations at dinner with my child. Right. My teenager.

I want him to look at me and make eye contact and be engaged. Well, if I want that as a teenager, I have to understand that I can't give my toddler an iPad at the dinner table to keep them from talking to me. Right. These these are small things that we don't think about. Right. So you have to parent with your end goals in mind.

And even though it's hard, it's hard to push through those things and those moments. And it is an easy way to keep children entertained and occupied. We have to think about the long term impacts of those things.

So just kind of developing a technology plan, whatever it might be, just like anything else. Right. We arm our kids with what to do in a situation with their boyfriend when things get hot and heavy.

You know, you have to know what you're going to do before the situation arises. Right. So with us, we can't start parenting this when we're in it. Right.

Otherwise, we will just be putting out fires constantly. So we have to do this with intentionality, just like anything else. And I love I think the biggest thing that I like to do with my kids and with all the youth that I work with is try to change the narrative around being left out.

Right. So saying taking that phrase and saying you're not left out. You have been set apart. We we are called to live different lives.

We are called to look different. And and that means that when it comes to these devices, they're part of our world. They're a part of our lives. It's a part it's a part of our young people's culture.

It's part of the way they connect. But we have to look differently here or otherwise we are not we are not living into our our purpose and the whole point of being lights in this dark space here. So that's another key key part. Change that phrase like move it from being left out to being set apart for God's purpose. That's another huge thing parents can do. And then I guess just like what you and I talked about before this, like moving into this Christmas season when your kids are going to be home, especially your teenagers, middle schoolers, high schoolers, be intentional with that time. And I don't mean you have to entertain them every second of the Christmas holiday. I just mean create spaces where you guys can be together.

I am over Thanksgiving. I got a huge 1000 piece puzzle and I mean, we just worked it and I was four days, you know, sit around over that puzzle. And like even my junior and senior in high school, I mean, just sit around talking, listening to music, working a puzzle together. I know that sounds kind of old school, but it's something that's enjoyable.

Bring out all those silly youth group games like four on the couch and celebrity and mad gab and just give them a reason to want to look up. You know, so that's a big part is like why let me show you what it can be and what you're missing. Yeah, what you're missing instead of shaming you and just like taking your device away and not, you know, not actually wanting to be with you. So giving them spaces and again, just back to modeling, modeling those behaviors.

Yeah, I love that. I think those are key components to it. And you're right. That intentionality, you know, it's been it is easy to go to dinner, especially with young kids and hand them a device and be like, OK, this is a moment of like eating a hot meal, especially for us moms. Right. We just like eating a hot, warm plate of food before the age of, you know, your toddler being four is like unheard of.

I feel like sometimes, you know, so it is tempting. But what we're teaching them is a lot of things. Their voice isn't important or what they have to say is not important.

You know, like and and that it's just easier to not have that that time and discussion. And those are just such important pieces. We know that that children's minds are and their brain is formed at such a young age.

Right. You've got until the age of seven and so much is poured in at that time. And so how much are we missing on pouring in, you know? And so I think that's an important part for those of you that have young children. And then as they get older and our teens are are yearning for that depth of conversation that that happens. But they don't know how to get it right, because so much of their communication is online. And so if we as parents are not filling that gap, then they're going to seek it in other places. And it's like you said before the break, those algorithms are going to fill it and not with what we want them to either. You know, and so.

So taking that intentional time is is powerful. And, you know, you spoke to digital communication. I think that's one of the biggest things that I try to advocate for and make sure parents understand is that we kind of grew up in an age where we were still talking on the phone.

Right. We began to email. But, you know, face to face conversation was a part of growing up right with these kids.

And, you know, this is fascinating. Only seven percent of our communication is actually the words. Did you know that the other words, body language, the other 93 percent of our communication all comes from our tone of voice, our facial expressions, our body language, our posture.

The things that we're doing that cannot be read. And so we are seeing in young people, they are skipping right over learning to communicate. They aren't able to pick up on social cues. They don't understand when their words hurt someone because they're not watching them land. They're just sending them off and into cyberspace and never having to see the response there. So with our young kids doing the formative years that they're communicating digitally and behind screens, there is this huge disparity of their ability to just communicate period and communicate well. To be able to read the room and understand, like, oh, people are people are vibing with my story. They hate my story. Right.

I need to change directions. Like they're just missing out on a lot of that. And that in and of itself makes me like, oh, my goodness, we have to be a little bit more intentional about these conversations. Like this is a ball. I'm going to throw you the question and you got to throw me one back. You know, because sometimes if you do have teens, you know what it feels like to literally just be like an interrogator.

You're not trying to be. But it's just question after question after question that you're asking and asking and asking and getting them to understand that they do need to ask questions. They need to be interested in people and what they have to say. And that's a big part of relationships and communicating that we are just jumping right over and are using these devices too early. Yes. I cannot echo that more. The idea that we are we are missing over those intentional conversations and desire to truly know people, not just what they're, you know, their best 10 percent of their life is on social media, because that's really what it is.

Right. Nobody's putting the down and dirty and the hard times on there. They just want you to see the pretty picture they're painting. And so we buy into that idea that that is life, you know, and and we skip over all of the other pieces. And so I think that is such an important part is the intentionality of knowing other people. And really, that's what drives compassion. You know, is that desire to know people deeply. And so you're right.

We are skipping over that. And what does that say for that generation rising up into leadership in the future? You know, it's and the knowledge to that kids used to when they had a question, they would come to us.

Right. They had a question. They would come to us. Now, where do they go? Straight to Google series.

It's a series straight to Google. So our voice as a parent is very short. And the way it gets quieter and quieter, the older that they get. So we know that. Right. But our kids, our little kids, we have this opportunity to be the gatekeeper for them as far as the information and the knowledge and the truth that we're setting in their minds and hearts. And so we have to be aware that we want them coming to us because the things that they see and encounter in here, I mean, even just stuff, especially like related to what you do at Lantern. Like if a child sees something that they don't understand, like a word, maybe like threesome. Right. And they go Google or threesome and the things that would come up, you know, and that exposure to pornography and those images that they can't erase are in their minds simply because of that access. So it's like you have to understand that, too. So those open lines of communication for you to be able to talk are so important because you want them coming to you for as long as you can. They're going to stop anyway.

It's natural. Right. They're going to stop coming to you. They're going to go to their peers.

They're going to go elsewhere. But we don't want to end it before it's time, before they're ready. And it is a hard battle.

You know, I feel like as a parent, we're fighting for to preserve the innocence of our children. Thank you guys so much. And that's a wrap for today on Lantern Rescue. Be sure to check out our podcast and website and follow us on social media. Thanks so much, guys. Have a great day.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-31 16:00:58 / 2022-12-31 16:12:13 / 11

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