On this week’s podcast, host Krista Boan sits down with Amy Crouch to talk about what it was like growing up in a tech-wise family. Amy is a 19-year-old student at Cornell University and the co-author with her dad, Andy Crouch, of My Tech Wise Life: Growing Up and Making Choices in a World of Devices.
They talk about the challenges of being the only kid who doesn’t have a smart phone or doesn’t use social media, but they also talk about the rewards of those decisions and the insulation it provides from social pressures and gossip. Making decisions that lead to flourishing for our children can be incredibly difficult, but as Amy can attest, the rewards greatly outweigh the difficulties
Executive Produced by Krista Boan and START
Produced and Edited by Mike Cosper and Narrativo
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 shared 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 kids’ hearts. Each episode, our guest will help us dive into some of the tensions families are facing and walk us through some of the conversations you’ll want to have to prepare your kids for the road ahead. Welcome to Screen Sanity.
[00:00:44] Hey everyone. We are so excited about the conversation we get to dive into today. You know, at START, we often talk about how being a tech-wise family can feel like swimming upstream against a cultural tsunami. Today’s parents are living with so much pressure, and fear and uncertainty. And for me personally, I, I just worry that I’m gonna mess it up, [laughs] that they’re gonna reject me, that they’re gonna blame me. That they’ll get hurt, that they won’t be ready to handle the real world. And of course, this applies to so many angles when it comes to parenting, but when it comes to technology in a world where there’s so much intense social pressure to be connected online, I’m, uh, I find myself worrying that my boundaries will cause them to be left out and that they won’t be culturally relevant in a world that is increasingly online. And even that they won’t be able to find friends who enjoy being offline together, or even that they won’t find a mate. And really that any marriage they can turn to, will become… Will come with baggage that [00:02:00] comes from the online world. [Laughs]
[00:02:02] So as a parent, I’m a mess. It’s a lie that I believe that raising kids in a tech-wise family can create more problems for them than it’s worth. And couple that with the enormous challenges that families are facing when it comes to holding boundaries, you know, and it’s overwhelming. And oftentimes it just feels like you wanna give up, but then you meet people like today’s guest, Amy Crouch. Amy is a 19 year old, who’s a student at Cornell University. She’s studying linguistics and English and pretty much anything else she can fit into her schedule. She loves to cook, and climb mountains, and chat about books. And by the way, she’s on a journey of releasing her own book about the courage it takes to become a tech-wise adult. And her insistence that developing a healthy relationship with technology can lead to a life of purpose, and wonder and hope. And when I meet people like Amy, it helps me get right back in the ring with a fresh bite in my spirit. So Amy, I’m so encouraged to have you today. Thanks so much for joining us.
Amy Crouch: [00:03:17] Thank you for having me Krista. [Laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:03:20] I’m so excited to dig in. You have written a book about what it was like to grow up in a tech-wise family, uh, even to the point that your dad wrote a best-selling book called The Tech-wise Family. [Laughs] I’m just so curious to dig in and would love to walk the listeners through the journey of what brought you to write this book. And maybe you could just start by fleshing out for us, what does it mean when you say tech-wise?
Amy Crouch: [00:03:51] Yeah, absolutely. So my dad coined this term, I guess almost three, four years ago now, when he was trying [00:04:00] to sort of define what our family’s decisions about technology meant, because we were never a no screen family. It’s not like we grew up with no access to any kind of screens, but we had all of these very intentional decisions about what it meant to live well, um, hopefully, joyfully and humanly almost with technology. And so he came up with this term tech-wise. And I think this can mean so many different things for different people, but for me, it’s using technology in a way that makes us more human and to not less human. Technology offers us a fast, easy way to live with short term rewards. And I think living tech-wise is choosing to live in a slow, sometimes challenging way, which brings us long-term rewards.
And I think the final element is cultivating discernment, thinking about how we can assess how to control our technology, how to use it in such a way that it is serving us rather than the other way around and coming to a place where we can choose what is right for us in the world of technology.
Krista Boan: [00:05:18] Oh man. That’s so good. So what I’m hearing you say is that it’s not about creating like a perfect family screen plan and making sure that you hit like the exact number of screen time minutes that you’re supposed to hit every day, but it’s more of a posture [laughs] and an attitude and an approach to thinking about technology and not just blindly consuming it. I love that. Talk to me about my fear that raising my kid in a tech-wise way will set them up to be unprepared. [Laughs] Do you ever feel like-
Amy Crouch: [00:05:47] Oh, my goodness.
Krista Boan: [00:05:47] -were able to just relate to your peers who grew up immersed in consuming technology? Should I be worried Amy? [Laughs]
Amy Crouch: [00:05:57] Well, so yes and no. [00:06:00] I would say yes in small ways, but no in big ways. So it’s absolutely true that, um, when I was growing up the way that my family raised me was kind of weird. I have this very distinct memory. Um, my family didn’t have a TV until, I want to say it was like 13 I’m not sure, but we didn’t have a TV and so I never watched TV. And one day in like third grade, um, this girl came up to me and she’s like, “Amy, what’s your favorite TV show?” And I was like, “Oh no, what am I supposed to say?”
Krista Boan: [00:06:32] Right.
Amy Crouch: [00:06:32] And I said, “I like the Phillies,” because I am from, I’m from right outside of Philadelphia. And the only time I ever watched anything on a television was watching the Philadelphia Phillies play baseball with my grandfather. [Laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:06:48] I love it. [Laughs]
Amy Crouch: [00:06:48] And she gave me this weird look and she was like, “That’s not a TV show.” [Laughs] So, um, there are real ways in which, um, growing up, quote unquote tech-wise is, is going to be different. Um, you aren’t going to have the same kinds of cultural assumptions, like even to this day in college, like a lot of my college friends always bring up SpongeBob, which they all watched as kids and I did not. So absolutely.
Krista Boan: [00:07:14] I’m thinking that’s so much Amy. [Laughs]
Amy Crouch: [00:07:16] That’s what I hope. That’s what I hope. Um, so yeah, there truly are ways in which you’re going to have slightly fewer shared experiences. You’re going to, especially in terms of like the TV shows, even YouTube videos, all that kind of thing. But it’s my experience that it has not at all impacted the most important things in my life. Um, my, all my relationships are not just about talking about the latest show on Netflix, which is a good thing because I don’t have Netflix. [Laughs] My relationships are, are based on shared loves of so many different things, so many things that can operate outside [00:08:00] technology, whether that’s what we both study, a shared passion for a hobby, or just that, you know, beautiful, like a chord of personality that we, we all know and love with a friend.
[00:08:11] And I feel so prepared to be a student, to be a colleague, to be a friend and I don’t think that technology, having more access to technology would have made any difference in that. So I had to say, yes, there’s a certain amount of like short-term awkwardness and learning to speak a slightly different cultural language that happens, but ultimately the most important things in life are really independent of how much technology we’re using.
Krista Boan: [00:08:47] I love that. So good. You’re ref- you’re referencing things like shared, you know, shared experiences and I’ve heard so many anecdotes recently that even for the next generation, that those shared experiences are, are breaking down because we become, so, you know, ruggedly individualistic on our devices, right? Where we’re all consuming our own, um, our own little corner of the internet, as opposed to, to sharing, yeah, to sharing Phillies’ games with our grandparents. So there are so many challenges when it comes to parenting kids in a world that feels like it’s constantly evolving and changing. And, you know, as parents are, we are just humans [laughs] and our first, our first reactions a lot of times are just to control, to react to other fear and to try to revert to the things that we do know. And I know that a lot of times adults and especially parents can overreact.
[00:09:46] And in your book, you mentioned that oftentimes, uh, kids, your age can grow tired of adults lecturing you [laughs] about things that, you know, things that feel redundant, [00:10:00] like keeping things private on the internet. But you’ve also come to believe that unlimited privacy isn’t always best for you. And when privacy gets extreme that it can actually lead to secrecy, which isn’t healthy. Can I read a quote from your book?
Amy Crouch: [00:10:14] Yeah. Yeah.
]Krista Boan: [00:10:15] You say, “This is the weird paradox of technology that while it’s hard to keep our lives safe from strangers, it’s easy to hide parts of our lives from people closest to us.” Can you talk to us about secrecy and anonymity on the internet and how that can be destructive and why you feel like it’s unhealthy?
Amy Crouch: [00:10:39] Yeah, that’s a great question. There are so many different ways in which technology allows us to hide things, which we really shouldn’t. I’ll give kind of a couple different examples. Perhaps the most mundane is simply our use of communication apps, whether that’s like social media, texting, whatever. It’s always been true that if you had like an… You were horribly offended by a friend or something in person, you could hide that from your family. But I think it’s especially true now when so much of our communication, um, as younger generations happens over text, over social media. So much like bullying, and meanness, and exclusion happens on the internet and it’s in this way which parents understandably really don’t get. They don’t really understand why I say being excluded from a group chat or, or not having a photo liked can hurt so much. And I think for that reason, a lot of kids absolutely hide the real challenges that we face relationally, because we just feel like there’s no way that parents can understand. So that’s one [00:12:00] challenge.
[00:12:00] I would say there’s also the challenge of pornography and also other kinds of like really damaging content, which we can very easily consume online. And especially if it’s something that makes you feel sort of ashamed, you, you absolutely wanna hide that from family. You know, there are kids who are really struggling with, whether it’s like sexual content that makes them feel uncomfortable, or like really horrifying, I think for instance, like radical and, and, and cruel kind of political perspectives are another big thing. Um, yeah, absolutely. Kids can feel like they really cannot share any of this, any of what they’re struggling with with family. And I could go on and on. There’s so many different ways that the internet allows us to hide things. But I think the way that I would sum it up is that everything that we do and think about can become so much more private, can become so invisible that parents can’t even really know where it’s happening. And I think that having that level of distance from your family and from your loved ones, as you grapple with something difficult, I think that is really distractive.
Krista Boan: [00:13:26] Yeah. And I hear you talking about that and I’m imagining my own children. And I mean, my heart just goes to wanting to react with overprotecting, right? So like giving them no privacy online [Laughs]. But you write in the book that if privacy gets extreme, it can actually push them more into that secrecy. But the healthy way to privacy is not through that, but instead by building trust and openness. So can you teach us parents [laughs] what, what posture is helpful for [00:14:00] parents to take when it comes to giving kids privacy, without allowing them too much?
Amy Crouch: [00:14:05] My number one suggestion for parents, actually in all tech restrictions, but especially when it comes to privacy is give us a why. So you have all these convictions as a parent about what I should be consuming, about how I should be spending my time. And honestly, those are probably very valid, but if you don’t explain to me why you care about these things and help me to enter into those convictions, then I’m just gonna think of these as these external rules that my parents want me to do but it’s probably just because they are annoyed at me or something. You know, like I, a kid, we, we need to understand why restrictions are valuable.
[00:14:56] And so, um, there are so many sort of practical ways that this can happen. For instance, let’s say you do use a filter on your home internet, don’t just let it be there talk to your kids in, in an appropriate way, you know, depending on, on their, their age and their kind of experience. But you can say, you know, “We… There’s a lot of really damaging content on the internet that leads us to be cruel to other people, to believe less of ourselves. And this filter is helping us not stumble across that by accident.” Explain that to your kids. That’s just sort of the number one thing, is provide those explanations, invite your kid into a conversation.
[00:15:37] I would also say, be a model of, of healthy privacy and openness. Um, there are plenty of things in your life, which it’s totally appropriate to keep from your kid. Like that’s, you know, those are important boundaries, but, um, I think even, even something as simple as [00:16:00] if you’ve read something on the internet that was troubling, or you’ve had a conversation online that was frustrating in an age appropriate way, like talk about it and say, you know, there can just be really damaging stuff that happens to me mediated online. Like that is really rough. And, um, just show that example of what it is to be honest about the struggles of being a human being online.
Krista Boan: [00:16:29] I do not know why that is so hard, Amy, but I am [inaudible 00:16:33] to share that. And I am just thinking about how, long story, but one of my children’s devices has a filter that has to be turned off and on when he goes to different settings because it overrides a different filter. And so I was struggling with, I want to put the filter back on without him knowing that I really want to put the filter because I, I don’t want to draw attention to the place where he can learn to turn it on and off himself. [Laughs]
Amy Crouch: [00:17:02] Sure.
Krista Boan: [00:17:02] And you know, it took two things. It took, first of all, it took time. It took me a willingness to, um, set aside time to talk to him about why I was turning the filter back on, but it also took courage. And I paused and I thought, you know what? I teach parents all the time that they need to be really comfortable with hard conversations. And I teach parents that they need to be using the word pornography as often as they can. And yet it’s still hard for me to share that with him because I don’t want him to get curious. I don’t want him to accidentally now go and seek out more information about it, but I was able to pause and just say, “Hey buddy, I’m going to turn this filter back on so that you don’t see pornography.” And you know what that’s about all I said, but I gave myself a pat on the back because I said the word pornography. [Laughs]
[00:17:51] Amy, I summed up [crosstalk 00:17:54], but you know, I just think sometimes, um, being intentional and being courageous about, [00:18:00] yeah, about having those conversations, just like you said, and being honest, especially, um, inviting them into our own. I’ve heard your dad call it before, like front porch that allow yourself to have like a place where people have visibility into your online life, um, that can actually deepen trust and relationships and provide more safety ultimately for them. Speaking of finding the balance of over and under protecting, [laughs], that, that certainly plays out for parents as they hope and pray their kids aren’t going to get hurt in the world of social media.
[00:18:37] In the book your dad responds to each chapter with a letter. And in one of these letters, he reminds parents that the real way out of insecurity is not actually being protected from it in the first place, but instead being rescued from it by love. Amy, would be willing to unpack your journey through the world of social media and help parents understand the insecurities and struggles that kids face in the digital world from your eyes?
Amy Crouch: [00:19:10] Absolutely. It is, oh, it is so challenging. I, to be honest, as I’ve grown up, I have grown… I have so much less tolerance for social media. Like I really don’t think that we should have the opportunity to be creating this image of ourselves exactly as we want it to be, editing out everything else and then putting it out into the world for judgment. Like, I don’t think that’s a healthy thing at all and half of me wants to go really radical and be like, “No, no social media.” And yes it is a fundamental part of, of what it is to be a teenager today. And some people are doing really good things with social media. And so I sort of, I don’t go that, that [00:20:00] all the way down that road.
[00:20:01] To share kind of my own story, my kind of cohort of peers started getting social media basically in sixth grade and all throughout middle school I didn’t have social media, but all my friends did. And they were all using social media, all my peers, like I think I mentioned this in the book, I literally [laughs] like people would write their Instagram handles on white boards [laughs] and just so to get more followers. And I was just like, “Oh, this looks so stressful,” because everyone was so worried about getting likes, about what they would post, um, about how many friends or followers they had. And I was like, “Wow, this just doesn’t seem very fun.”
[00:20:44] But my freshman year of high school was when I had a couple of friends kind of independently, um, encourage me to join social media. Um, I think it started with, with Snapchat and then later I joined Instagram. And part of this was because I was starting to meet a lot more people who didn’t live near me, whether like from summer camps, from activities during the school year. And I wanted to keep in touch with them from afar. And so I would say the first year on social media was great. I probably have like 50 followers, I bet on whatever, any platform. [laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:21:24] Sound like my current account Amy. [Laughs]
Amy Crouch: [00:21:26] Yeah. And I did not care. I just did not care about what they thought or rather there were people who I trusted to not judge what I posted and therefore I wasn’t worried about it. And so I was just posting most random things. I truly was not worried at all. But kind of slowly, I started to gain more and more followers and they were people who I didn’t know as well. And I didn’t really trust to not like judge me. I didn’t feel like I could be my full self around them.
Krista Boan: [00:21:56] Right.
Amy Crouch: [00:21:57] And so I [00:22:00] started to get really anxious about what I posted because all of my peers and my friends, um, were like they would be judging it. They would be deciding whether it was good or bad. And I just started to experience so much frustration and anxiety.
Krista Boan: [00:22:18] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Amy Crouch: [00:22:18] And when I got to college, I was just like, “Wait, I don’t have to deal with this. I can opt out of this world of social media.” And so for my first, I guess two years of college, I did not post anything online. I would occasionally like, um, see what other people were up to and try to keep in touch. But I really was completely unplugged from social media. And just recently, ironically, because of this book that I’ve written, as an author I’m expected to have a social media presence so people know like, “Oh, she actually exists. She’s a real person.”
Krista Boan: [00:22:58] Right.
Amy Crouch: [00:22:59] Um, and so just recently I’ve started posting again on my Instagram. And I was really thinking, how on earth do I make this like a comfortable thing to do? I don’t want to jump back into that anxiety. And so what has been helpful for me, I don’t, it’ll be different for everyone, but what’s been helpful for me in reentering, especially Instagram is, first of all, I turn off all of my like notifications. I don’t need to get those every hour, like just not necessary. Um, and what I do is I choose photos which are not picture perfect. I choose photos that we like snapped in the moment very quickly, not had a 10 hour photo shoot. And so I intentionally decided to post things which I know are imperfect-
Krista Boan: [00:23:54] I love it.
Amy Crouch: [00:23:55] -and I just don’t pay attention [00:24:00] to whatever kind of feedback comes in, except for like comments from friends specifically. And I’ve found that to be a more healthy way of doing things, because if you post something online and you’re like, “Oh yes, I look so great in this. This is perfect,” and then you get nasty comments, that feels awful.
Krista Boan: [00:24:19] Right.
Amy Crouch: [00:24:19] Um, or even just doesn’t get as many likes, you know, not everyone’s roots getting horrible comments, but you know, it just doesn’t get as many likes as you wanted. That feels awful. But if you post something that you know is like, “It’s just an average picture,” um, then that relives so much pressure. So I found that really helpful. That’s kind of my personal journey. I’d be happy to talk more about the sort of more specifics, but that’s what it’s been like for me personally.
Krista Boan: [00:24:46] Yeah, no, I think that that is super helpful. I think you brought up a really important tension and that is that while we can try to opt out of social media as much as we want, and, you know, as a parent, I’m like, “Oh man, I hope social media goes away before my kids hit the age where they have to hide.” [Laughs] Not happening. While we can try to opt out of it as much as we want, there are still certain social norms that pressure us and expect us to be active. So for parents, we have to communicate with other people in the PTO on, on Facebook, because that is where you get your information about, um, the Halloween costume party that’s coming up at school.
[00:25:24] And so, you know, I always tease my husband cause he does not have social media, but he, [laughs] he has to access it through my feed sometimes because that is our society. We have chosen that, that is where we are going to communicate a lot of times. And so I just am so refreshed and encouraged by your perspective to just, to, to flip your perspective and to change your expectations from a place of self-editing, and self-promotion, and self-centeredness, and self elevation to really just saying, “You know what, I’m actually going to just post it how it [00:26:00] is and, um, move on.” And that’s not an easy thing in a world where the more you’re immersed in it, the more you are interested. I think it’s so interesting in likes is what I was gonna say. I also think it’s so interesting how you said as your circle of followers broadened and expanded, that’s [inaudible 00:26:18] really came in.
[00:26:19] So as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking about conversations I want to have with my own kids about, you know, it’s okay to not have to keep your circle small on social media, not if you were gonna publish a book, but [laughs] until that point, having people that you trust will actually be less of a weight and less of a pressure for you.
Amy Crouch: [00:26:42] Yeah. You know, and what I would add actually is this is kind of a like 2016 thing, I guess. [laughs] But when I was in high school, no, kids still do this, whatever. Okay. So, but it started when I was in high school or so, is you have your public or private, but you have hundreds of followers [inaudible 00:27:03].
Krista Boan: [00:27:02] Sure. Right.
Amy Crouch: [00:27:03] And then you have your Finsta, your fake Instagram account.
Krista Boan: [00:27:07] Yes. [Laughs]
Amy Crouch: [00:27:07] And this started, um, when I was in high school, which wow, I feel so old. [Laughs] Um, but it’s still, it’s still something that yeah, people do. But I think that is actually such a powerful thing that we recognize, “Oh, there are things that we want to share not with 500 people, but with 50 people.”
Krista Boan: [00:27:28] Right.
Amy Crouch: [00:27:29] There are these unglamorous moments that nonetheless, like we want our friends to know about. And I, I really wish that we could have, um, a model where the Finsta was the predominant way of sharing, that social media was mostly about communicating with friends that you love and you trust rather than putting on a show for a whole bunch of peers who you want to think well of you. And so I would, yeah, I [00:28:00] would almost say to kids like let’s, let’s make Finstas the, um, the new way to do things. You don’t need a Rinsta, is what it would be called, you don’t need, um, that enormous platform to broadcast, but it might be really great to have a little platform where you can be communicating with people you really care about.
Krista Boan: [00:28:21] Oh my gosh. So good. And it really kind of hearkens back to just this idea of rather than protecting our kids from social media in the first place, helping us understand that there… A better strategy is to rescue them in it. Can you talk about what you’ve learned about the role of love in rescuing me from moments of hurt or insecurity? Because it occurs to me that the smaller the group is the more opportunity there is in time and space for love. Could you talk to me about that.
Amy Crouch: [00:28:53] It’s so wonderful to use social media for affirmation of other people, whether that’s a birthday picture on somebody, somebody else’s birthday, a message celebrating what somebody has done, that can be so special. This little but beautiful way of saying this person is loved and valued. So even within social media, there are good things. But also as friends, like it’s part of our job to like to help when somebody is embroiled in feeling really insecure because of social media. And so I think that this is something that like, we need to check in with our friends about, not necessarily like every time someone posts something ask, “How are you feeling about that?” But genuinely like talking about what makes me insecure, what makes you insecure? Um, checking in when, you know, somebody was nervous about a picture or didn’t feel comfortable with something that happened.
[00:29:57] I think there is such an opportunity [00:30:00] to be honest about what makes us feel hurt and then have others reach out and to be people who, who reach out and offer. And, you know, the final thing I would say is, as a teenager, I was very insecure, what teen isn’t? And that was painful and yet I am so much more empathetic and caring about others because of it. I don’t think I would have the same impulse to go talk to somebody who looks lonely, or to reassure someone who’s, who’s worried about how they look or act. I don’t think that I would have that same impulse if it were not for the fact that I have experienced loneliness and insecurity and pain. And even as it is good to protect in some ways, um, these experiences of really, yeah, of these really awful experiences can form us in a way that we are more attuned to how others are doing.
[00:31:25] And so I don’t want to make it seem like, Oh, suffering on social media just makes you a great person later in life. Like, no, that’s not a good thing. And we should be designing systems, which don’t make people suffer as much. But, um, I think perhaps, perhaps the, the way to put it, I guess, is there are so many kind of sources of suffering in the world, and if we, as, as kids, as friends, as parents choose [00:32:00] to suffer alongside other people and help them, we will become better, more loving people for it. And so I deeply believe that in community, that kind of pain can be transformed into a really true love of others.
Krista Boan: [00:32:27] Community can be such a challenge in today’s world when we have filled our margin full with honestly. A lot of times it’s just the digital world and it occurs to me that one of the greatest obstacles for us as parents is just finding a way to go into that suffering with our kids, finding a way to be available throughout this journey. Because parents ourselves are hurting from our own social media feeds. We’re caught in our own little battles that can be happening even in our inboxes. And I just think parents are exhausted and it can be hard to find the bandwidth to imagine a healthier vision for the role we want to play in our family life. So, you know, thinking about the way our devices are designed to keep, keep us captivated, how have you thought about your own relationship with technology and set up your spaces to have margin, to, to minimize distraction, but maximize the things that you value most?
[00:33:33] Well, Amy, this has been awesome. In every episode we are just gonna wrap up with an old fashioned, Dear Abby. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dear Abby, but it was, it was a, um, a newspaper column that would come out once of the week.
Amy Crouch: [00:33:47] Yes.
Krista Boan: [00:33:47] Okay. Yeah. Great. Um, so, um, I would love to share with you just something that, um, came in from one of our listeners and hear how you would approach the situation. So, [00:34:00] “Dear Abby, [laughs] so dear Amy, I have a 13 year old daughter who is the only one her age who does not yet have a smart phone or social media. And I can imagine that there are days where she feels lonely at best and at worst, like her parents are ruining her life.” Can you validate what is challenging about growing up with tech-wise parents for her? And can you talk to her about why becoming a tech-wise adult takes real courage?
Amy Crouch: [00:34:33] Absolutely. It can be really tough. Growing up with any parents is always going to have [inaudible 00:34:41] [laughs], but especially with tech-wise parenting. Um, it’s like so important when you’re a teenager to feel like you fit in, whether that’s fitting in with the predominant culture or fitting in with a counter-culture. Like is so, so hard to feel like there’s something weird about you or something that’s wrong or questionable. And it is really counter-cultural to live in this way. And that’s so tough. It’s really hard to be outside a lot of the shared experiences, especially of, of your friends and people who you want to like you. And that is really, really tough.
[00:35:27] So I think a couple of things I would, would say almost like talking to like 13 year old me would be first of all, believe it or not, everyone else is also worried about fitting in. You know, they’re worrying in different ways about it. You know, a lot of them, most of them aren’t going to be worrying about fitting in technologically.
[00:35:48]Krista Boan: [00:35:48] Right.
[00:35:48]Amy Crouch: [00:35:48] But everyone in some way is worried that they just don’t fit in, that they’re not cool enough or smart enough or talented enough. And so this is [00:36:00] just unfortunately kind of what it is to be growing up. And that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, but it is true that you are not alone in feeling left out. And then I think the, the other thing I would say is that ultimately, a tech-wise childhood leads to so much better things later on in life. And I know that can be really frustrating to hear like, Oh, well, things are awful right now, but 10 years from now, you’ll be so happy [inaudible 00:36:35] here. [Laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:36:36] Right.
Amy Crouch: [00:36:36] But what I will say is that living tech-wise is ultimately about living in a way that builds real deep relationships in a way that causes real joy and wonder at the world around you. And so it’s building the foundation for happiness in the future. And so if we take the challenges that come as part of preparing for future joys, that really changes things. And yet I don’t want to say that being whatever, a tech-wise adult, uh, is like all the happiness that you get to cash in on, of course not. Here’s what I’ll say, living tech-wise is about rejecting the things which are kind of easy, but ultimately do us harm. But that is actually what all of life is about. There’s so much in our adult lives that is where the easy option is the wrong thing, whether that’s gossiping along with other people who are saying cruel things, or just like looking the other way while someone is doing wrong.
[00:37:50] And I truly believe that being someone who is trying to live a good life, we need to have the power [00:38:00] to say, “No, I’m not going to go with the easy thing, I’m going to go with the thing that is right and good, but challenging.” And I think a tech-wise childhood is rehearsing that it’s saying, “No, I don’t believe that the whole system that Silicon Valley has set up for us is good. I choose to reject it, even though it’s not easy.” And so I believe that growing up tech-wise, even as it is challenging, it’s a preparation for all the future challenges that we’re going to have to face and all of the future joy that we get to experience.
Krista Boan: [00:38:39] So good, our greatest hope and wish for our children as parents is to experience a life that is full and rich. And I just can’t commend you enough, Amy, for, um, writing this book to encourage, um, kiddos who, who are going through that and presenting a picture of something beautiful that they are being called into rather than just, you know, looking at the thing that they can’t have. So thank you. Thank you so much for your vulnerability and your honesty and, um, just your willingness to be here on Screen Sanity and to lend us, lend us your [laughs], lend us your joy and your hope. Can I finish with a quick five, just for fun?
Amy Crouch: [00:39:25] Yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:39:25] We’ll just [inaudible 00:39:26] through these. Okay, cool. That’ll be great. Okay. First of all, a piece of old school technology that fascinates you, the kind that your parents would talk about, but you’ve likely never seen or used?
Amy Crouch: [00:39:39] Uh, dial up wifi. [laughs] [inaudible 00:39:44] you could dial in internet, I don’t even know. [laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:39:48] Can I… Do they make this noise sometimes, it goes [inaudible 00:39:51]. [Laughs] I hope most parents listening will know what I’m talking about. [00:40:00] [Laughs] I love it. Okay. Fill in the blank. Being a 19 year old is blank?
Amy Crouch: [00:40:07] An adventure.
Krista Boan: [00:40:09] So good. Your favorite app?
Amy Crouch: [00:40:11] For the purposes of this podcast forest, it’s this little app where you click a little button and it starts to grow little trees. And while the trees are growing, you can’t do anything else on your phone because the, the forest will die. And so it’s this really cute kind of gamey way of forcing yourself to not be on your phone ’cause you don’t want to kill the cute little trees. [laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:40:37] Sign me up. That sounds amazing. I’m going to check it out. Thank you. Your favorite trick you use to keep your tech, tech in check?
Amy Crouch: [00:40:45] Take every Sunday off from technology.
Krista Boan: [00:40:48] All right. The internet breaks down for 24 hours. What are you going to do to unplug?
Amy Crouch: [00:40:54] Um, I’m going to go take a hike or maybe a bike ride. I’m gonna reread a book that I love and make some cupcakes.
Krista Boan: [00:41:02] Nice. Amy. Thank you. I’m so privileged to be part of this and to be able to help-
Amy Crouch: [00:41:08] Thank you.
Krista Boan: [00:41:08] -amplify you, so good work. You’re doing good sis, thank you.
Amy Crouch: [00:41:12] Wow. Well, thank you so, so much. I, Oh my goodness. It means so much to me to know that people are out there rooting for this book.
Krista Boan: [00:41:22] Yes.
Amy Crouch: [00:41:22] So, thank you.
Krista Boan: [00:41:23] Oh my Gosh. And just enjoy, enjoy the launch and enjoy this time of lots of feedback and [laughs] yeah. And enjoy those fun opportunities to take pictures of people. And I don’t know if you’ll do any signings, but I just wish you the best with just enjoying the season. It’s just so exciting. And it’s what the world needs, honestly. It really, you know, it couldn’t come at a better time. So…
Amy Crouch: [00:41:47] Thank you so much Krista.
Krista Boan: [00:41:50] Okay. You guys, wasn’t Amy amazing? You know, if you’re a parent like me who is constantly fretting that I’m raising my kids to live [00:42:00] outside of some kind of matrix, I hope that this episode was encouraging to you, that even though asking our kids to do hard things when it comes to having a restraint in the digital world is challenging, that it’s preparation for all of the future challenges that we all have to face as adults and also hopefully for all the future joys that we could experience. So good. Amy’s book, My Tech-wise Life is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and anywhere that buying books by amazing 19 year old authors are sold.
[00:42:35] If you enjoyed today’s episode, as much as I did, we would love it if you could subscribe to the Screen Sanity Podcast on your chosen podcast stream and leave us a review of what you enjoyed. And if you’re interested in learning more about START, our resources, our programs, or you want to bring them to your community, visit us at westartnow.org, or you can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to learn about, um, upcoming events. And until next time stay tech-wise, the world is still a big world and screens, well they’re small. Keep looking up.