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Giving Your Kids More Freedom Online

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Carrots&Cake listened to the top Online Screen Time podcasts by TVO & summarized the key takeaways. Carrots&Cake independently created these podcast notes and did not have any affiliation with the Screen Time podcast.

Key Individuals

  • Evelyn Dweck - A legal academic
  • Sonya Livingston - Social psychologist at  London School of Economics, director of the Digital Futures Commission.
  • Valerie Steves - A professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa.

Key Takeaways

  • Many parents do not understand the world their kids live in, and some of the fears and tensions that come from that
  • As we use more devices, whether it be a peloton or a Fitbit, we are forced to be more social and connect with others. This, in turn, results in users dealing with negative content.


  • Helena has a 14-year-old daughter Scarlett, who has spent a lot of time trying to educate her parents about what she's doing online. She states it’s a space where she feels comfortable connecting with people that are always there to have a conversation. It makes her feel connected.
  • Kids understand these spaces, while most parents are scared of them as they don’t understand.

Navigation of the online world for parents

  • Assessing harm and risk is difficult at any given time. But it's really difficult for parents in online spaces where they don't always understand what's going on. They don't know how tools are being used. Parents don't know if their kids are subjected to acute or systemic harm and how they should respond.
  • There are two parts to this question. On the one hand, is your child safe in these spaces that you have no reference for? And on the other hand, are parents worrying too much? At what point do parents just let go?

Sonya Livingston

  • In Europe, parents believe children should be independent to figure things out for themselves. While in North America, parents feel they have the right to know everything their child is up to. This includes their phone activity until the child leaves home or proves themselves to be independent.
  • If Parents can stand back and give their child a bit more leeway apart from the paradoxes, they'll have a stronger and more resilient child. A lot of the worst risks parents assume are incredibly rare.

Valerie Steves

  • Valerie makes the argument that this entire discussion is a distraction from the broader problems kids actually face online.
  • Companies made a very conscious choice to stop talking about privacy and start talking about security.
  • Your child could be talking to a stranger online, and companies very conveniently come and say don't worry, parents, we will watch your child. We've got this.
  • These Social media companies purposely inject a child's social environment with highly stereotypical mediatized images to manipulate them for commercial purposes. They are trying to create an ideology where certain behavior is preferred and how kids should behave so that they can fit in with the majority.
  • Whether there is anything that parents can do to make things a little bit better and a little safer, she had a piece of advice that's pretty simple. Don't be a hypocrite.
  • Kids don't really hear the words you say. They watch your actions and the way you live. In other words, kids pick up on the screen time habits from their parents, so if you want to see a change in your child, start by implementing them yourself.

Also Read: The Science Behind Carrots&Cake

To learn more about screen time and its impact on your child's brain development, listen to the full podcast here by Screen Time.

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Jack Newenham
Latest posts by Jack Newenham (see all)

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