What are the unique pressures that come with social media for girls? How can parents help give them a “learners permit” for online life? How do we think about our own relationships with social media and how it affects our kids?
On this week’s episode, START co-founder Krista Boan sits down with Amanda Mozea to talk about these questions and more. Amanda is the Education Outreach Manager of Media Girls (www.mediagirls.org), where she and her team work to equip parents and girls to better understand the risks and rewards of online life.
Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.
Screen Sanity is Executive Produced by Krista Boan and START.
It is produced and edited by Mike Cosper for Cosper Productions.
Krista Boan: [00:00:00] Hey everyone. Welcome to the Screen Sanity Podcast. I’m your host, Krista Boan, co-founder of Start, where we help families raise happy and healthy kids in a world that is increasingly digital. We’ve had hundreds of conversations with parents everywhere, who share that the number one battleground in their homes is screen time. And, while we’ve learned that there is no easy button when it comes to parenting today’s kids, there’s also an unbelievable movement of parents who are stepping into the arena and fighting for their kid’s hearts. Each episode, our guests’ll help us dive into some of the tensions families are facing and walk us through some of the conversations you’ll wanna have to prepare your kids for the road ahead. Welcome to Screen Sanity.
Hey guys, we are are so glad you’re joining us today. You know, if you have been listening along at Screen Sanity, you are catching on that at start, we are passionate about helping families prepare their children for the digital world. We often actually say that were kinda like a driver’s ed, where we encourage, uh, a gradual path of introducing new devices and apps to a kids through a process that includes something that we kind of liken to a learner’s permit. And that’s a season where, you know, parents sit in the passenger’s seat, while their kiddo is behind the wheel, learning about the hazards that they might encounter on the online world road. And acting as a coach and equipping them through real-time conversations about some of the challenges in digital spaces like social media. And I just wanted to pause really quick and share that if you are a parent who is just smack dab in the middle of the grind of that learner’s permit season, today’s episode is for you. And even more specifically, if you have a daughter who is active on social media like Instagram and you’re finding it tough to stay engaged, this is gonna be good.
The truth is that this season can be exhausting and draining for parents, but one of the greatest challenges isn’t just that we are tired, although we are. We want to mentor and guide our kids in the digital world, but the fact is, we did not grow up in it. And in many ways, we are just figuring it out ourselves. And, you know, I’ve caught myself struggling, whether it’s just going in to check for a status update from a friend and then accidentally finding myself scrolling an hour later or whether it’s finding myself comparing my home or my life to that of my friends. Or, you know, I could go on. But, I’m still on a path of learning and recognizing the ways that social media can be used for good or harm in my own life. And so, as I wanna have helpful conversations with my kids about how to prepare for the world of social media, in many ways, I’m just trying to figure out to think critically about it myself.
Enter our guest today, Amanda Mozea, who is from Media Girls, which is a non-profit organization that is on mission to help girls like me navigate social media, teaching them to think critically about its impact on their well-being. In addition to being an incredible mentor for girls, Amanda is a graduate of Harvard College, an avid fan of the blues, travel and food from all corners of the globe. Amanda, welcome to the Screen Sanity Podcast.
Amanda Mozea: [00:03:37] Thank you so much for having me.
Krista Boan: [00:03:41] Yes. So you are serving as the Educational Outreach Director for Media Girls. Will you tell us a little bit about yourself? Take us on a journey of how you ended up in this role, maybe what sparked your passion for this issue?
Amanda Mozea: [00:03:54] Yeah. Well, [laughs], it’s, let me take you on, let me take you on a journey, let me tell you the story [laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:04:04] Yes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:04:05] So, I’m, I’m from a small town in Massachusetts and I was the only black girl in my graduating high school class and so I felt very, kind of, alone and isolated all throughout middle school, high school, as soon as I really became aware that I was very different from my classmates. And, so when I got to college, I really wanted to help young girls, like the young girl I had been, really, kind of lean into their power and know who they were and not minimize themselves.
When I got my license, I’m five feet seven and I told them that I was 5’6″, so literally making myself small, um, is something that I had been doing for m- my entire life, if I, if I think back, kind of long enough. And that’s not something that I naturally do. I’m very loud [laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:05:29] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:05:29] I was very kind of extroverted and bubbly and so, it’s, it wasn’t natural for me to try to shrink myself, but I had been trying, um, to do that, for so long. And so, I got to college and I was like, I need to make sure the other young girls aren’t doing what I, what I was doing. What I had been doing for so long, so I joined an organization called Strong Women Strong Girls and I was a mentor there for all of my, all of my semesters of college. Um, I was at the same school, same time, same day, um, I would kind of schedule my classes [laughs] around, around mentoring, much to the frustration of my academic advisors.
Krista Boan: [00:06:23] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:06:24] They’re like, your in school for academics, not extra-curriculars. I was like, that’s what you think [laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:06:33] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:06:34] Um, and at the end of that journey, my last semester, I got an email from the then Executive Director of Strong Women Strong Girls, saying, we have a partner organization that’s hiring. It’s Media Girls, I think you’d be a great fit, would you be interested in applying? To which I said, yes absolutely and fast forward two years and here I am [laughs] still.
Krista Boan: [00:07:06] Yeah. Wow. You know, I would love for you to share just a little bit about Media Girls. I wa-, my co-founder Tracy and I were just thrilled when we came across your stuff, um, and learned about the resources that you are creating to equip girls. It, it looks to us like your sweet spot at Media Girls isn’t quite as much about, you know, that preparation of girls for social media, but actually working hand-in-hand with girls who are already emerged in social media and helping them in a hands-on way to recognize how, if they use it well, social media can be a force for good. Is that right?
Amanda Mozea: [00:07:47] Yeah, that’s, that’s definitely correct. So, we’re, we’re working with girls, um, and young women who are typically in middle school. So, our sweet spot is kind of ages 10 to 14, roughly, where girls are either just starting out on social media or are kind of already, they already dove off the deep end and are kind of swimming in it. Um, and our mission is really to teach girls how to think more critically about the media messaging that they are receiving and because they are spending so many hours a day on social media, that’s really kind of what we want to spend a lot of time and focus and energy on.
Uh, honing young people’s skills of understanding, you know, after scrolling for hours and seeing all of these different pictures and videos that have various levels of likes, of comments, of engagement. What does that or how does that shape how you perceive the world? How does that shape how you interact with the world? How does that shape how you structure your online presence? Do you, kind of, act in a way that’s going against what you see or, much more likely are you, kind of, making yourself, contorting yourself to fit into a kind of box of kind of packaged persona that gets the most likes and the most engagement from your online community. So, it’s really getting girls to understand that, to more critically consume media. And then, once they have that kind of foundation, once they really start to really separate their individual self-worth from likes and follows and physical appearance, then we start to them about how, what would this look like if you changed this? What would media look like if you were able to be completely authentic, completely yourself, all of the time? Um, what would your social media look like? And so, it’s done to get girls to take those baby steps to making actionable what they’ve learned with us.
Krista Boan: [00:10:40] You guys talk about it like med- media literacy. Is that the w-, is that the term that you use to describe?
Amanda Mozea: [00:10:47] Yeah. Yup.
Krista Boan: [00:10:47] Yeah. That resonates so much for me as a, you know, 41 year old Gen Xer, who grew up in a world where we learned how to think about what sources we were gonna quote in our work cited, you know, pages of our-
Amanda Mozea: [00:11:01] I know.
Krista Boan: [00:11:01] … resources. And I also was a middle school teacher, English teacher.
Amanda Mozea: [00:11:06] Oh.
Krista Boan: [00:11:06] [inaudible 00:11:08], so I love thinking about, um, and just really have had a passion for this in my heart for so long. What does it look like to think about this whole new world through the lens of literacy? Because, you know, if you think about the word literacy, it means to learn to read. Right?
Amanda Mozea: [00:11:26] I know.
Krista Boan: [00:11:26] So, learning to read is, is not a simple process. It’s not just, it’s not just sounding out and recognizing, you know, the words, phonetically, but also, it’s learning to assign those words meaning and then ultimately allowing the ideas communicated to shape our understanding of the world. So, social media literacy to me, is, is just that, it’s beyond reading the words, it’s beyond, you know, just consuming the pictures and the images, but it’s seeking to interpret the messages that they are reading and discerning who is behind them and what norms or agenda they propel. And then, showing up in a way that is authentic to my real truest self. Am I getting it, it this right? Am I [laughs]-
Amanda Mozea: [00:12:15] Yes. Exactly right.
Krista Boan: [00:12:17] And so, it’s fascinating to think about, as a parent, you know, before we, before we get to the age of Media Girls readiness, it’s fascinating to think about how can I as a parent, develop this skill in my own kids. And I would love for you to just unpack some of the core messages that you guys see as kind of the heart of helping our girls develop media literacy through your programs.
Amanda Mozea: [00:12:43] Well, we take girls through kind of a three-step journey. Um, the first part really being thinking about the way that media, both mainstream media’s, things like music videos, or, uh, Netflix T.V. shows, for example, or social media, really send messages about what you should look like, what you should act like, kind of who you should be. And so, th- that first step is really decoding what those messages are, identifying them because every 13 year old thinks that they are so independent and they don’t need anything-
Krista Boan: [00:13:43] [Laughs]. Is it pretty easy for them to identify those messages or?
Amanda Mozea: [00:13:48] Not, not at first. Not at first.
Krista Boan: [00:13:49] Yeah, I would, I would, that resonates with me as a, as a girl and as a mom.
Amanda Mozea: [00:13:54] [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:13:55] Like, it’s hard for me to even think through, what are the messages that are woven into my feed.
Amanda Mozea: [00:14:01] Yeah, so we really tack-, we start to tackle this. They’re thinking about kind of standards of beauty and what we call media’s quote perfect girl”. And we always put that in quotes because she does not exist. Um, this sort of idealized, uh, aesthetic, kind of social figure of perfection and we get girls to describe, um, this, this person. Sometimes they have a celebrity or influencer in mind. Sometimes, they’re just kind of using a kind of hodgepodge of traits that they think are kind of the most aesthetically appealing and we literally have girls describe, you know. They’ll say it, like tall, but not too tall, um, long hair that’s really like shiny. Uh, this is kind of, it depends on the, the racial or ethnic demographic really, of the girls that were working with. Sometimes it’s straight hair, sometimes it’s curly hair, but it’s always long hair. It’s, you know, curvy and fit, but too fit, you don’t want a six pack, that’s a little too intimidating. And so, once you get the girls started, [laugh], stopping them becomes the issue.
Krista Boan: [00:15:33] Yeah. [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:15:34] And then we kind of delve into that.
Krista Boan: [00:15:38] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:15:38] We go kind of to Google, which is sort of a really, the, the kind of best way to show what a society views as beauty if you just type in beautiful woman, for example. What comes up?
Krista Boan: [00:15:58] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:15:59] Who’s missing and really having those explicit conversations with girls and really asking those questions and getting them to answer. It’s not a lecture, it’s not us saying, like, look, this is a standard of be- beauty you’re seeing. You do not fit the standard of beauty. That’s not an insult to you, because no one does. It’s saying, what do you see here? Who’s missing? And really kind of having the girls take the lead, um, really kind of driving the discussion and the self-discovery. Um, and we’re [laughs], we are steering the boat, but they’re really the ones who are making those connections. That’s sort of the first part of media literacy.
Krista Boan: [00:16:53] And I love, you know, again, like, literacy, that’s just the basic foundation of what it means to learn to read. It’s just naming the thing, recognizing the thing, the standard of perfection, so that then, you can go then further. So, what’s your, what’s kinda the place that you steer them next?
Amanda Mozea: [00:17:14] So next, we deconstruct music videos and social media advertisements and so, we start to put into application, kind of identifying media’s perfect girl and where they see it. Because, once you see it, you really can’t unsee it.
Krista Boan: [00:17:34] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:17:35] And then, and so, in conjunction with that, in kind of growing those literacy muscles, we work with girls really around starting to separate their self-worth, how they view themselves, from this standard of perfection that is truly impossible.
Krista Boan: [00:18:02] Oh, so good.
Amanda Mozea: [00:18:04] Yeah, what we, what we find that girls value most about themselves, is their intellect, is there, is there ability to interact with people. It’s, you know, it’s all of these wonderful and diverse things, but what they other people value most about them and what they kind of internalize as mattering the most about them when with other people, is how they look. And so, it’s really separating how worthy they determine themselves to be-
Krista Boan: [00:18:46] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:18:47] … based on appearance. So, it’s really just prying those two apart and driving a wedge between them and establishing kind of a foundation of self-worth. This is who you are right now, not who you will be in five years.
Krista Boan: [00:19:04] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:19:05] This is who you are right now and this is why you are worthy of all the things and it has nothing to do with your appearance. And so, it’s kind of giving girls a foundation built upon this idea of kind of recognizing that they’re being kind of fed a quote right way to look or quote right way to act. It’s, um, then sort of saying, okay, now that I’m able to identify that and I see how I’ve been trying to mold myself to fit that-
Krista Boan: [00:19:44] Yes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:19:45] … I’m going to take a step back and say, without all of this stuff, I, this is who I am and this is why I’m valuable right here, right now. And from there, that’s sort of the foundation then, for everything that we do. You know, being authentic to yourself, to your true self-worth is part of our mission. And so, that’s really what we have girls kind of doing in the second step.
And then in the th-, in our kind of third step, it’s application. So, it’s getting girls and young people to think about how do you show up on social media. How do you show up in the world online? And, girls don’t [laughs], they would never recognize this really independently, but how they show up online, what, kind of what they post, what they choose not to post is very much a reflection of this kind of trickle down effect of media’s perfect girl.
Now, you pose in a certain way to be cute and sexy. Uh, if you wear sweatpants at home, take off those sweatpants and wear something tighter, so it’s, it’s shifting from authenticity to try to fit more of a kind of marketable version of yourself online.
Krista Boan: [00:21:33] Yes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:21:35] And so, it’s getting girls to recognize that, kind of question what rules are you following online. And they’ll say no rules. [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:21:45] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:21:46] Um, and then, you know, start, we start to question like, well, if you’re in a group picture and someone’s sneezing and that’s what you post, you look great, they are in the middle of a sneeze-
Krista Boan: [00:22:02] Right, right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:22:03] … you know, is, is that okay? And they go, oh no, no. That is, that is, that is a friendship fight right there.
Krista Boan: [00:22:13] Right. Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:22:14] Um, and so then, [laughs], they don’t stop with all of the rules that they’re following to try to emulate this standard of perfection of beauty.
Krista Boan: [00:22:26] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:22:27] And so, it’s, again, recognizing that and choosing to project instead authenticity, which that’s, that is a lot of years in the making and we oftentimes don’t get to see-
Krista Boan: [00:22:44] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:22:44] … it’s like trees that grow from the seeds that we plant.
Krista Boan: [00:22:47] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:22:48] But that’s the foundation of it all, is where we kind of are.
Krista Boan: [00:22:57] Wow. Oh my gosh, so many thoughts rolling in my head. A lot of what you shared about helping them kind of root down and ground and their core identity and to operate from a place of that, instead of the pressures to, you know, conform to beauty standards, which is their reality, okay? And now, I, and what is going through my head is that there’s a little bit of a disconnect between what parent pressures we’re putting on our kids online versus the pressures that they are actually operating from. So, they’re actually operating from these beauty standards, you know, girls especially. But then there’s this whole, also, added layer of parental pressure, which is don’t make mistakes, um, don’t let them be on your resume. Make sure that your digital brand is, you know, flawless so that the college of your dreams will accept you and so, I am just recognizing and, and naming out loud that there’s a disconnect between, um, and maybe it’s not even a disconnect, maybe it’s an added layer of pressure that comes from, from parents and teachers and adults who are saying, don’t screw up either.
So, there’s the beauty pressure, but there’s also this resume pressure. Some organizations in our space really focus heavily on helping your child create a positive digital brand for themselves, but that’s not exactly what you guys would advocate for, is it?
Amanda Mozea: [00:24:31] No. [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:24:33] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:24:34] Um, what we, the very first thing that we tell girls to do is put all of your accounts on private.
Krista Boan: [00:24:42] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:24:44] We don’t want to be able to see and we do not want other people, anyone other than who you choose, to be able to see, um, you. [Laughs]. And, I think that this, this pressure for perfection, um, whether, kind of aesthetic or resume-minded, is it, it’s really like a different branch of the same tree.
Krista Boan: [00:25:18] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:25:19] That’s how I see it. It’s all stemming from this idea of, you know, if you do this, you will be better. If you, you know, check this box, if you look this way, if you are able to meet all of these standards, you will be better. And that is where, kind of, young people, through no fault of their own, will then place their self-worth. How they see themselves will be dependent on the number of boxes that they tick, whether it be for resume building for college, or whether it be, uh, for, kind of, physical features that make them quote more beautiful. And what, thinking about, kind of, specifically, the resume aspect of things, I understand parents strong desires to, you know, help their young people succeed. You know, you need to create a brand for yourself and you need to, you know, be professional and you to highlight all of your accomplishments because I want you to go to the best school and from there get the best job and from there, have the best life. It comes from a place of care and I think that’s really important to acknowledge.
Krista Boan: [00:26:55] Absolutely.
Amanda Mozea: [00:26:56] At the same time, I think that the best thing a young person can do for themselves and for their life journey is to really discover who they are. Be able to explore, be able to make mistakes.
Krista Boan: [00:27:18] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:27:18] And then, you know, get back up on their feet. And at the core of all of that is authenticity.
Krista Boan: [00:27:25] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:27:26] Um, you said at the beginning [laughs], I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it, but [laughs], I did go to Harvard and I get questions all the time. I, I went to a public school. I think my school’s been around for 70 years, maybe.
Krista Boan: [00:27:43] Uh-huh [affirmative].
Amanda Mozea: [00:27:45] And I think there was one person in the ’80s who went to Harvard.
Krista Boan: [00:27:50] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:27:50] And then, and then me [laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:27:52] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:27:52] So, it’s not, it’s not an ivy league feeder [laughs] school.
Krista Boan: [00:27:56] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:27:57] Let’s leave it at that. And so, people ask me all the time in my town back home, in my high school, just like, what was the secret? What, what are your tools to success? What can I tell my young people? What did you write your personal essay about? And I wrote my, my personal statement, my personal essay about my hair.
Krista Boan: [00:28:22] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:28:23] How big and curly and red and-
Krista Boan: [00:28:25] You have amazing hair. Listeners please go look at, at the cover image for our podcast, it is amazing. [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:28:34] [Laughs]. It kind of, t-, I love my hair and I used to hate it. I used to have such a bad relationship with it. I used to spend hours every day straightening it and modifying it because I was ashamed of it and my hair is really, kind of a representation of who I am and kind of my journey with myself and that’s what I wrote my personal statement about. Um, and I think that is far more powerful of, uh, self-reflection than saying, I was the captain of this, I was the president of that. I was, you know, a straight A student, all of my years. And my experience was … It’s, you know, you are more than just a list of accolades and you are more than a resume. And getting young people to really find out what makes them unique and what makes them special and what, and being honest about their struggles, that is more powerful than any, you know, list of credentials, really.
Krista Boan: [00:29:52] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:29:52] And so, that’s what I tell people and that’s what I tell [laughs] … What’s the secret? The secret is there is no secret. [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:30:00] [Laughs]. The secret is be yourself.
Amanda Mozea: [00:30:01] Yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:30:02] Wow. It, and I thinking of, you know, practical implications for parents. I see a metaphor in their with your hair and, um, just, you know, as I think about the messages that I’m sending my own child about trying to, you know, tame their hair, or, you know, have it lay down or have it be perfect, you know, really stepping into a place of shifting, um, the messaging for our children, which is you’re gonna mess up and, and I’m safe. And I’m gonna walk you through it, so we can figure out who you are.
Because if we’re gonna ask our children to operate from a place of authenticity, they aren’t gonna find it online. They’re gonna find it through relationship, um, through connection, through exploration of the world. And so, really taking the time to be intentional about not jumping to put pressure on our kids when they are on social media, to be critical about, you know, the things that we’re seeing, the mistakes that are happening. We talk a lot at Start about our I’m not shocked face. Like, you have to practice it. You like, get t-, get somebody else, get another adult in a room and just say shocking things to each other and then just practice, you know, responding from a place of empathy and concern. And I really feel like that’s … I love your hair, your hair is safe with me [laughs]. It’s who you are and it’s what the world needs. So, gosh, that’s so powerful.
The other day, one of my daughters actually confided me, in me, that sometimes she wishes she could escape the pressure, that she could live in a world where there weren’t smart phones, where parents were, you know, attentive to their kids and life was more simple and relaxed. And, you know, I had to giggle a little because I knew that in a small way, she was playing off the conversations she’s heard mom having with concerned and panicking parents over the last few years.
Amanda Mozea: [00:32:05] [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:32:05] [Laughs]. It opened up a great opportunity for us to talk about how, you know, technology in itself is not bad. It’s neutral. And it can be, you know, yeah, it can be hazardous, it can be unhealthy, but it can also be an incredible, powerful tool that you can use for good. And it made me realize as a parent, that we really have this opportunity and a responsibility, um, to cast vision for our kids, of a world where technology, social media is used for good. So, I would love to just give you space to share an overview of what you do see as the opportunities that social media can open up for our kids. Because, as much as we are protective and panicking, I just wanna challenge parents to think of the, of the opportunities that we can paint for our kids in the digital world.
Amanda Mozea: [00:32:54] Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah, to parents are kind of panicking because they don’t understand. I think that makes sense. As a parent, you feel like you have to have all of the answers and then, when it comes to social media, and apps that you’ve never even heard of and you’ve never used,-
Krista Boan: [00:33:15] Yes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:33:16] … how can you possibly have the answer.
Krista Boan: [00:33:18] You can’t, it’s constant and the minute you figure it out, it changes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:33:22] Yeah, and so, it’s not coming from a place of necessarily, authority. It’s more coming from a place of wanting to learn and wanting to understand and that’s coming from a place of questioning and vulnerability. And so I think, you know, having those conversations, with the young people in your life about, you know, what’s, what do you do on this app? You know, very basic foundational stuff, I think is really important and really critical. And they will totally roll their eyes [laughs]-
Krista Boan: [00:34:02] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:34:02] … at first, but, you know, keep asking the questions and not from, I’m going to take this away from you, but from a I want to learn. Because we’re inundated with the negatives [laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:34:17] Right, right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:34:18] Um, but young people are also seeing positives and as a parent, it can be much harder when you’re not on the app, to see those positives and we, at Media Girls, absolutely agree. You know, media is neutral and it can be a source of great, great harm, but also incredibly powerful good.
Krista Boan: [00:34:46] So good, Amanda. So wonderful. Well hey, each episode we do something a little bit like Dear Abby, where we share a situation from one of our listeners and we pick your brain about a conversation you have in, in that case. And today’s situation is from a parent who’s girl is ready to dip her toes into the world of social media and she shares: “I have a 14 year old who I feel is ready for a social media account. What do I need to plan to talk to her about? What’s the most important conversation I can have with her to help her establish a firm foundation for the road ahead?” Would you be willing to model a, a, conversation or a lesson for us, Amanda?
Amanda Mozea: [00:35:28] Yeah. Well, I think, absolutely, first of all [laughs]. I think that it just exciting, um, and I’m sure as a parent, so scary.
Krista Boan: [00:35:40] [Laughs]. Darn straight. [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:35:43] Um, oh boy. I think that this is a really fantastic moment of change and i-, we have a lot of parent-educator talks at Media Girls, because we really believe, n-, girls are obviously not in a vacuum all by themselves. They have people all around them.
Krista Boan: [00:36:08] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:36:08] Who can support them. And so, what I often say during these talks is, establish an- guidelines for socia- social media usage. And that really involves screen time and thinking about making sure that as your girl is new to this platform, to this world, she is not immediately sucked into spending three hours a day glued to her phone-
Krista Boan: [00:36:38] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:36:38] … scrolling.
Krista Boan: [00:36:40] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:36:40] Um, and so, thinking about first, let’s set a time limit of, across these apps, maybe it’s an hour a day, across all these different apps. And then it’s creating an Instagram, for example, that both, the girl and the parent have access to.
Krista Boan: [00:37:07] Yes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:37:07] So, if stuff is being posted, both parties, you’re kind of accountable to your parental figure, the young person is. And then, I also say, okay, let’s, you know, once you’ve kind of established who you’re starting to follow, um, and it’s the early days, let’s go through this together. What are you seeing and really that’s when I would have the conversation about, you know, like, all of these people are posing alike. Why are they posing this way?
Krista Boan: [00:37:47] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:37:48] Or, um, what’s similar about these images?
Krista Boan: [00:37:52] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:37:53] And, it’s, it’s not, again, it’s not a lecture about, do you see how all of these women are [inaudible 00:38:01].
Krista Boan: [00:38:03] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:38:03] It’s not that, it’s a what do you see here? Oh, that’s interesting. This is what I’m noticing, are you noticing this as well? It really is, you can very naturally ask questions and not be seen as prying, necessarily. Like, what are you doing? That, that is, that can be construed as prying. But, you are genuinely coming from a place of empathy and curiosity, your girl isn’t going to be able to shut you out as much because she knows, you know, you’re asking real questions, you’re not [laughs]-
Krista Boan: [00:38:46] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:38:47] … just trying to, you know, look into my business, you genuinely want to understand. And you say, can you show me a little bit around your world. Um, and I think that’s, that’s sort of how I always encourage parents to have these conversations, always from that place of empathy and curiosity and we’re gonna do this in steps and in stages because if you just drop a young person into social media, that is sink or swim. And it takes all of them awhile to swim, at, in the best case scenarios, just because it’s so, so much is happening all of the time and it’s so constant.
Krista Boan: [00:39:38] Right.
Amanda Mozea: [00:39:39] How can you expect a young person to successfully navigate such a complex world, that’s really designed to keep them pulled in all of them time.
Krista Boan: [00:39:51] Right. Right. And I will just, you know, vocalize and share that one of the greatest challenges for me … I have four kids and, uh, one of the greatest challenges, I think for parents, is just setting that, setting aside that intentional pathway. I’m just thinking about myself and how I might, just put dates on the calendar. I might just have, you know, regular, like, checkpoints that I am gonna plan to, you know, on this day, we’re gonna go grab a slush- slushie and I am going to check in with her about how it’s going, um, and I’m going to try to understand her world, on, on those checkpoints and it’s really easy for parents, for of us, when we distracted with our own devices and our own schedules to just assume that are girls are doing okay or that our boys are doing okay in the world of social media.
And it is super hard to be intentional, but I just really appreciate your vision for the importance of not just throwing them in the deep end and hoping that they survive, but really being intentional about walking alongside them, mentoring them and we aren’t gonna know all the answers and so, approaching it from a place of curiosity. Gosh Amanda, so good. I’m so thankful you were able to join us today. Would you be willing to just share with our listeners, um, kind of briefly about what opportunities they have virtually, to sign up for your workshops and where they can access those?
Amanda Mozea: [00:41:18] Yeah. So, our website is mediagirls.org. Um, right now, our programming looks a bit different. So, we have videos of our, kind of, core programming that are up on our website and can be rented. And then for parents, I also recommend you follow us on Facebook because that’s where, that is where parents are.
Krista Boan: [00:41:49] Yes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:41:49] That’s where we post a lot of, um, opportunities to engage in our programming. How to bring this programming to schools that you’re affiliated with.
Krista Boan: [00:42:01] And just clarifying for the listeners out there who have boys, is this something that they could go through with boys, or are you guys mostly focused on girls?
Amanda Mozea: [00:42:11] We’re really focused on girls. We’re not discounting that media pressure exists for boys, but it looks different.
Krista Boan: [00:42:25] Yeah, it’s great. You would love it. Awesome. Okay, let’s wrap up. Every episode we do a really quick rapid fire. So, I’m just gonna give you five quick questions and you can just share what comes to mind. Does that sound good?
Amanda Mozea: [00:42:36] Yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:42:37] Okay. Our first question. A piece of school technology that fascinates you? You know, the kind your parents would talk about that you’ve likely never seen or used.
Amanda Mozea: [00:42:46] [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:42:49] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:42:50] Floppy disks because they’re not floppy.
Krista Boan: [00:42:54] Yes.
Amanda Mozea: [00:42:55] I think. I like vaguely remember. I was very, very small. But that fascinates me, why were they called that? [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:43:04] [Laughs]. If you had seen one, it would be very easy for you to understand what a floppy disk … Man, I haven’t seen a floppy disk in a long time. So good, Amanda. Okay. Fill in the blank. Being a teenager in 2020 is ?
Amanda Mozea: [00:43:18] Oh boy. Really hard. That’s not a creative answer, but it’s really hard.
Krista Boan: [00:43:23] So good.
Amanda Mozea: [00:43:23] Being a person in 2020 is hard.
Krista Boan: [00:43:26] Amen to that, sister. Yes. Okay, favorite app?
Amanda Mozea: [00:43:31] I love YouTube so much.
Krista Boan: [00:43:35] Yeah.
Amanda Mozea: [00:43:35] I could spend forever on it [laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:43:36] [Laughs]. There is not ever an end to YouTube. You can just keep going, can’t you? [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:43:42] Yes.
Krista Boan: [00:43:43] Favorite trick you use to keep your tech in check?
Amanda Mozea: [00:43:47] Um, I set automatic screen time limits because, like I said, I could spend forever on YouTube. [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:43:56] Forces you to kick yourself off. That’s so good.
Amanda Mozea: [00:43:59] Exactly. Really, I only have 15 minutes left already.
Krista Boan: [00:44:03] [Laughs]. It goes fast.
Amanda Mozea: [00:44:04] You gotta think [inaudible 00:44:06].
Krista Boan: [00:44:06] Yup. The internet breaks down for 24 hours. What are you gonna do to unplug?
Amanda Mozea: [00:44:11] Wow. [Laughs].
Krista Boan: [00:44:16] [Laughs].
Amanda Mozea: [00:44:16] I would, I would go on a walk around my area. I’m back in Sunderland, Massachusetts and my home is kind of in the woods, so I would go on a long walk through the woods like I used to when I was little and then I’d probably come back, take a nice long shower and curl up in bed with a book.
Krista Boan: [00:44:40] Oh, it sounds amazing. [Laughs]. Maybe it’ll happen sometime for all of us.
Amanda Mozea: [00:44:46] Yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:44:47] Well, until that day comes, I will just be sitting here with my mind blown about this awesome conversation with Amanda Mozea. I learned so much and I hope you did to. And if you enjoyed it, we’d love to have you subscribe to the Screen Sanity Podcast on your favorite podcast app and maybe even leave us a review, sharing with us something that you loved about this episode. And if you wanna learn more about Star or the resources we could provide for your community, you can do that at westartnow.org. You can also follow us on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and you can find updates about what we have coming up there. Until next time, hang in there friends. That social media swimming pool is pretty wide and deep, but with a little help and a little patience, your child can learn to swim. Keep looking up.