Few thoughts are as daunting to parents as the potential impact, damage, and prevalence of pornography in the lives of modern kids. While we’d like to think it mostly lives in hard-to-reach corners of the internet, the reality is that it’s only a few clicks away. But rather than let that fact frighten us away from the topic, we want to encourage parents to approach it straight-on, and our guests on this episode of Screen Sanity have done excellent work in helping us consider how to do so.
Rob and Zareen Cope are parents from New Zealand and the producers of the documentary “Our Kids Online: Porn, Predators, and How to Keep Them Safe.” They join START co-founder Krista Boan to talk about the origins of the documentary, the harm that porn is causing a generation, and practical ideas for protecting and educating our kids.
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 100s 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 kids’ hearts. Each episodes, our guests will 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.
Okay, friends, before we jump in to today’s episode, I just want to give you a quick heads up that the topic that we’re tackling today is big, and it’s hairy, and it might even be a little bit shocking or scary, even for adults. The content is not appropriate for younger listeners. So, I just wanted you to know that if they’re in earshot, I would recommend that you pause, um, and maybe pick this back up a time when you can listen privately.
And while you do that, I will just go ahead and share that our topic today is pornography and predators. And it’s something that, honestly, when START was first getting started developing resources for families, we weren’t entirely sure what to do with it. We knew that there were so many different perspectives on the topic, and uh… We, at the same time, were just overwhelmed by all the other content that we were developing about digitally-healthy hap- habits.
But, um, unfortunately in 100s, and 100s of conversations with parents, it became clear that this actually was not an issue that we could just keep [laughs] sweeping under a rug. Because in story after story, parents will share with us how these online hazards have caused major damage in their kids’ lives. And so it wasn’t like this topic was gently knocking on our door. It was [laughs] more like a wrecking ball blowing through our front porch. You know? So it became clear, that if we wanna talk about the digital health and safety of our kids, we need to have this conversation. Because the impact that modern pornography and online predators are having on the well-being of our kids is significant.
So, we set out to u- educate parents to know exactly what this territory and this reality looks like for our kids. And to hopefully equip them with resources to know how to protect them in the online world, and hopefully prevent them from accidentally stumbling into a relationship with, you know, pornography or an online predator that they did not intend to have. But thankfully in our journey, we ran into a couple in New Zealand, Rob and Zareen Cope. And they are our guests today. Um, because they have been on a similar journey researching how to best educate and equip their own children for the hazards of the online world. But then actually weaving th- this information into this compelling documentary called Ours Kids Online, so that other parents could be equipped.
So, Rob and Zareen, gosh, we’re so glad you’re here. Welcome, and thank you so much for joining us today.
Rob Cope: [00:03:23] Thanks, Krista.
Zareen Cope: [00:03:24] Thank you. Thank you very much for having us.
Krista Boan: [00:03:27] [laughs] Well, we at START are kind of Rob and Zareen groupies. So, I would love to just let our listeners get to l- know you a little bit, so that they can join our fan club. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? And maybe just take us on a journey of what led you to be passionate about the topic that we’re talking about today.
Zareen Cope: [00:03:46] Well, basically, we, um, w- w- we’re just two parents living out in New Zealand. And we ha- we’re a blended family. So we have four children between us. And at the time, they were ages between 10 and 14. And they started coming to us, asking us, for handheld devices. But we both had our reservations about just handing the technology over.
I was concerned about things like self-esteem, um, especially with the girls having the technology. Rob, you had some concerns over access to pornography online as well.
Rob Cope: [00:04:20] Yeah, for sure.
Zareen Cope: [00:04:21] Yeah. So we, we started doing a bit of research, and we ended up kinda falling down this whole horrible rabbit hole, um, finding out all these harms that were happening to kids all over there world.
Krista Boan: [00:04:33] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:04:33] Um, because of exposure to hardcore, violent genres of pornography and also from engagement with predators. So we decided that, um, we wanted to find out more. And we s- kinda sought out the leading experts globally on these topics. We, we ended up traveling through the USA and working with people here and in Australia. Um, we decided to document that journey because, ultimately, what we wanted to know is how do we keep our kids safe online? And how can we help other parents to get this information as well?
Because this was our job, but we were aware that there are parents out there who, who work other jobs. And, you know, it is such a busy time for parents, that we were aware that they nec- didn’t necessarily have the time and resources to be able to do the research to the degree that we were able to do it. So we just wanted to share that knowledge.
Krista Boan: [00:05:30] Yeah. So as you guys started digging into the research, it just became this, like, mountain of information. And you know, this topic is that way. It’s just overwhelming. So it’s been such a gift that you guys were able to kinda take it and package it up, and take us on your journey with you. And let us la- learn alongside you. And you know, there are so many things that you guys excel at, really, as filmmakers. But the way that you were able to present the information, um, in a way that dismantled shame around it is just remarkable.
Rob Cope: [00:06:07] Thank you.
Krista Boan: [00:06:07] So, one of the keynotes of the film is that, rather than you guys kinda slapping kids on the wrists for stumbling onto these tripwires that are basically set out for them, you help parents remember that curiosity around sex is actually a natural thing. And you know, our kids aren’t doing anything wrong by seeking out information about sex via whatever resources are available to them. And you know what? Honestly, that’s something that we can relate to because most of us have a story, or a memory, of stumbling onto some kind of pornography in our own childhood. And as I was [laughs] preparing for this podcast, I was thinking about, and remembering, how I grew up in a small town.
So there are about 10,000 people. And our family actually owned the local video store. Um, that was one of my first jobs. [laughs] I’m not even making this up. So I would… You know, people would t- return the movies, and I would put them in the video rewinder machine. And then I would, you know, make sure they were in the right cover, and I’d restock the shelves. And then eventually, you know, I worked my way up to the cash register, where I would scan videos.
But I was remembering that not all of the videos that we rented were actually out on the shelf. Uh, [laughs] so there was actually a separate little, red binder that had all of, just the covers of videos I assume, um, that we would keep below the shelf. And then occasionally, you know, in the dead heat of the afternoon when nobody was around-
Zareen Cope: [00:07:37] [laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:07:37] Customers would come in-
Rob Cope: [00:07:38] Oh, yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:07:38] And they would ask to see, you know, [crosstalk 00:07:41] “the binder.”
Rob Cope: [00:07:42] You guys were the local porn peddlers then.
Krista Boan: [00:07:44] [laughs] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:07:45] Right?
Krista Boan: [00:07:45] And, you know-
Rob Cope: [00:07:46] [laughs]
Krista Boan: [00:07:46] I was too young to know. And, but I did know that that was my cue to go get my, you know, my aunt who was helping me run the video store. And you know, she would take care of it from there. But you know, s- for many of us, and certainly for me, this is kind of the default posture that we take. When it comes to pornography, we tend to think of it, you know, our generation tends to think of it le- something that’s discreet, and private, and we definitely don’t wanna talk about it with our kids.
Rob Cope: [00:08:11] To get any kind of porn when we were growing up, it was like a really embarrassing thing to do. Because you had to go buy a magazine, or go hire a, a, a video or something. And people knew what you were doing, you know? As, and what wa- it was really hard to get ahold of, and it was really embarrassing. And so you’re quite right there, a lot of parents, you know, in our generation still have that concept of porn in mind. When in reality, any device that connects to the internet, including PlayStations, Xboxes, smart TVs… Anything that connects to the internet connects to all of the porn that’s out there.
So, any kind of genre that you’re curious about, any kind of sex [crosstalk 00:08:52] whatsoever. Type it into Google, and away you go. And that’s, that’s a huge difference that, that a lot of us just, I think, just didn’t really realize how accessible it was.
Zareen Cope: [00:09:01] Yes. It’s not just like a, a selection of maybe 10 or, or 20 videos, which nowadays would be considered quite vanilla. You know, you’re, you’re talking about… Well, I think, when we spoke to Warren Binford, she said it was if you put all of the porn that’s available online, back to back, it would take you 70 years or something of non-stop watching.
Rob Cope: [00:09:01] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:09:01] To get through it all.
Krista Boan: [00:09:03] Whoa, what’d you say? Did you say seve- one 7 or 7-0?
Rob Cope: [00:09:04] 7-0.
Zareen Cope: [00:09:04] 7-0.
Rob Cope: [00:09:04] Yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:09:04] 70.
Rob Cope: [00:09:04] 70.
Krista Boan: [00:09:04] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:09:04] And that was a few years ago, so you know… There’s, there’s just so much porn uploaded every single day. And what you were saying earlier about kids just being curious. I mean, that said, a lot of parents also think, “Oh, my kid’s a good kid. They would never search for that.”
Zareen Cope: [00:09:04] Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:09:04] And they’re missing the whole curiosity aspect. Their kids aren’t bad because they search for this. They, they hear a term in the playground. You know, and kids will talk about some pretty hardcore [laughs] stuff in the playground, even at an early age. They come home, I mean, they hop on the iPad or whatever, and they’ll Google what they heard.
Zareen Cope: [00:09:04] Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:09:04] Just because they’re kids, and just because they’re curious. And they know, of course, they won’t stumble across, you know, some ’80s porn where there’s a plumber and a, and a storyline. They’ll, they’ll stumble across some pretty violent, brutal porn quite often.
Zareen Cope: [00:09:04] Yeah. And then, there’s the other thing as well, with that whole kids being kids. You know, if, um, if I got my daughter a new schoolbag, she would, and it was quite funky, she would take it into school and show all of her friends. And it’s the, you know, it’s that same concept that we have when, when younger kids stumble across porn on their smart phones, um, and they go into school. They’re gonna show it to the other kids.
Rob Cope: [00:10:47] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:10:47] Because it’s like, it’s novelty.
Rob Cope: [00:10:49] Yeah. “Have you seen this? Check this out.”
Zareen Cope: [00:10:50] Yeah. Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:10:51] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:10:51] And so they find something and now they’re gonna-
Krista Boan: [00:10:54] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:10:54] Share it. And that’s not because they’re bad, it’s because tha- they have no context around what it is they’re sharing if we haven’t had that conversation. And they have no context. They don’t know that it’s potentially traumatizing to another child. They don’t know what the potential risks and fall outs are of doing that on-sharing. So, you know, we have to always bring it back to our kids are so vulnerable. And they’re curious little beings. And they’re wired for novelty. And they’re wired to find out who they are in the world, and how to be adults, and what does the world mean.
Krista Boan: [00:11:32] Yeah, I mean, they don’t have a template or a framework of understanding for it.
Rob Cope: [00:11:37] Right. And the templating thing’s interesting ’cause, and we talk about this when we, uh, we speak at parents’ evenings around the country. And that is like, my templating when I was growing up was, like, ’80s movies. And if there was a sex scene, you really didn’t see much, but you knew there was, there was a saxophone playing. And there was a, the- there were candles-
Krista Boan: [00:12:00] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:12:00] And, you know?
Krista Boan: [00:12:00] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:12:00] The rest of it was left up to one’s imagination. And so that was my, my templating, and most of our templating through the ’80s. So you know, of course, the first time I have sex, I knew there had to be a saxophone playing.
Zareen Cope: [00:12:11] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:12:11] You know? Or something [crosstalk 00:12:17].
Krista Boan: [00:12:12] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:12:12] You know, and i- it, yeah, yeah. [laughs] Exactly, and, and, some candles. So the rest of it I just had to make up. So these days, kids are watching, you know, choking, or ejaculating on someone’s face, or really rough, you know, anal assaults. And they think that’s what sex is. They think that is what Dad does to Mum in the bedroom nextdoor. You know, that is they’re templating.
Zareen Cope: [00:12:38] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:12:38] So when they go out and have sex for the first time, they’re gonna copy what, what they think sex is. And that is what’s really scary about this too. So kids are missing each other. Teenagers, young adults, when they have sex for the first time, they’re quite often doing porn on each other rather than kind of fumbling around in the dark like we did and figuring their own way through it.
Krista Boan: [00:12:59] Yeah. And honestly, that lack of templating, it is causing some side effects with our kids that honestly were very shocking for me, um, the first time that I watched your film. But we are hearing about them at START regularly as well. An- and ju- just, would you be willing to share, um, about some of the hard realities that you discovered on your journey?
Rob Cope: [00:13:23] The most shocking stuff we came across when we were, um, shooting the film, was we talked to a sexual assault nurse, Heidi Olson, in Kansas City. Now, she’s a pediatric nurse. So when a child is sexually assaulted, she goes in and does a forensic examination and finds out as much information she can about what happened, who the perpetrator was. You know, and they basically, out of all the interviews I did with… I think there was, like, 400 children a year that they were seeing-
Zareen Cope: [00:13:54] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:13:54] Who had been sexually assaulted. And 44% of all those sexual assaults-
Zareen Cope: [00:13:59] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:13:59] Were done by another child against a child. So kids are watching porn and being templated, and a percentage of children are then acting that out on other children. Just like we did with Superstars Of Wrestling when we were kids. You know? Some, some kids would watch Superstars Of Wrestling-
Zareen Cope: [00:14:16] Exactly.
Rob Cope: [00:14:17] And then they would act it out on other kids. Some kids are watching porn and they’re acting that porn out on other children. And that was one of the most horrible things we came across.
Zareen Cope: [00:14:26] Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:14:26] In all of our research.
Zareen Cope: [00:14:28] So u- you know, we must always bring it back to our children are so vulnerable.
Krista Boan: [00:14:33] Yeah. And I think what’s so challenging as a parent is that once you have this information, like you’ve just shared, once you see it, you can’t un-see it. And then you start coupling that with the reality that screens are everywhere. All of our lives have shifted to screens now. So not only are they in our homes, and that’s where we’re doing our school, but they’re also, you know, on the school bus, and at sleepovers, and at grandparent’s houses. And so, you know, as parent, you’re like, “What are my options here?” [laughs] You know, either I can turn a blind eye and pretend like it’s not happening, or I could, you know, my husband and I always joke, you know, “We’re gonna just move to Montana,” and like move off the grid where there is no internet, you know.
But then there’s a third option, which is trying to raise awareness about it. And, and sharing with other people, um, what you’ve learned. And that’s hard because sharing these concerns with, you know, the culture sometimes can be a challenge. Um, there is a norm to kind of turn, turn our heads because it’s too hard to talk about. Um, but especially when it comes to interacting with other people who have an influence on your child’s life, or who’s homes your kid is gonna be spending time at. Those are really important and also courageous conversations, um, that we, that we should be having.
Have you guys experienced any of those kinds of tough conversations with, um, places where you’re not sure how the parent is handling technology in the home?
Rob Cope: [00:16:06] Yeah, we’re quite good at awkward conversations over the last [laughs] couple of years. We’ve almost got it down to-
Zareen Cope: [00:16:11] It’s never gonna be an easy conversation to have. It’s never gonna be a comfortable conversation to have. And I think, um, I think-
Krista Boan: [00:16:19] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:16:19] Number one, the thing that any parent who has to have a conversation with another adult about what are the rules around, um, the online access in your home? I think the first thing that, that you need to do is keep telling yourself that the potential risks to my child are, are, you know, it’s not worth me saying, “Oh, I can’t have this uncomfortable”-
Rob Cope: [00:16:46] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:16:46] -“conversation.” You know, Rob and I are in the fortunate position, you know, when our kids go to play dates. We’re in the fortunate position where we can call up the, the parent and say, “Hey, you know, we made this film.” But, um, even at that… You know, I recommend, people can say, “Oh, I, I listened to this podcast,” or, “I went and saw this talk.” Or in the news there was this, there was this-
Krista Boan: [00:17:08] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:17:08] Headline about X, Y, and Zed.
Krista Boan: [00:17:09] Oh, yes.
Zareen Cope: [00:17:10] And so now I’m just, uh, you know, I just have a concern around what happens in the online space, and I’m just wondering kind of what, what your rules are? ‘Cause my preference would be when Little Johnny comes ’round to play, do you think that you guys could put the screens away, just for during that play date? Or if they’re going to look at something online, can an adult be present whilst they’re online?
Um, our thing that we-
Krista Boan: [00:17:35] Yep.
Zareen Cope: [00:17:35] Said to the kids is like, “You know, we’re going to have this conversation with the parents. And if the parents are being funny about it, then your friend can come here.”
Rob Cope: [00:17:46] But so far… Uh, so far, every parent-
Krista Boan: [00:17:48] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:17:48] We’ve had that conversation-
Zareen Cope: [00:17:49] They’ve been fine.
Rob Cope: [00:17:50] Have been really good. You know, I had this conversation with a parent like two weeks ago. My youngest son was going for a play date, and I just said, “Hey, just wondering what, uh, filters you guys have on the devices at your house? Uh, ’cause I’m just really concerned about”-
Krista Boan: [00:18:05] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:18:05] “-you know, our kids are curious, and what, you know, what they can find online.” And she had filters, which was great. And then I said, “Would it be okay when [Phoenix 00:18:14] comes over, if they just didn’t, if they just weren’t on any devices at all? Would that, would that work?” Um, and she said, “Yep. That’s perfectly fine. We’ll put the devices away. It’s better that they play outside and go do some football anyway.” And she was, she was great about it.
Zareen Cope: [00:18:27] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:18:28] Um, that’s pretty much what we’ve found. Um, you are gonna find some weird parents along the way that will get all antsy about it. And as Zareen said, you can just say, “Hey, that’s cool.”
Zareen Cope: [00:18:36] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:18:37] “Your, your kid’s welcome to come here anytime you like, but, you know, we just have some really strict rules around our kids and the internet.”
Zareen Cope: [00:18:44] And the other is, well, uh, like my daughter went to sleepover. So there were, there were multiple kids involved.
Krista Boan: [00:18:50] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:18:51] I got in contact with the Mum who was organizing the sleepover and said to her, “I’d love for [Neve 00:18:58] to come, but I can’t have, I can’t have Neve there if the kids are gonna have unsupervised, and all have s- uh, smart phones, and have access to the internet.”
Krista Boan: [00:19:08] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:19:08] And I said, “Would it be possible to just have like, you know, what, what kind of restrictions ar- you know, are you, are you thinking of putting in place around that?” And she then asked me for help with that. So I said to her, “Look, what, what you could do”-
Krista Boan: [00:19:24] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:19:24] “-is when the kids come, when all the kids come, say to them, ‘Can you just pop your smart phones here in the kitchen? And if you guys need to call your mom'”-
Krista Boan: [00:19:34] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:19:34] -“‘or your dad, just come and see me. And I’ll, I’ll give you the phone, and, and you can do it out here.'” And at 7:00 at night-
Krista Boan: [00:19:42] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:19:42] The devices, or 8:00 at night, the devices will be put away. And you take them into your room-
Krista Boan: [00:19:49] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:19:49] So that they’re not getting up in the middle of the night and being online. And she said, “Yeah. That, that sounds reasonable. That sounds fine. Thank you very much.” You know, and I did say that thing of if the girls are gonna go online, can you just make sure, you know, that you’re there?
Now, if she hadn’t agreed to that, Neve already knew that she wouldn’t get to go to that sleepover. And I’m not, I’m not there to be Neve’s-
Krista Boan: [00:20:14] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:20:14] Friend. ‘Cause I’m her parent. It’s, like, foremost-
Krista Boan: [00:20:17] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:20:17] My job to keep her safe. So we’ve already had these conversations to prepare our kids. Because what we don’t wanna do is go putting filters in place, or monitoring apps in place, or making up these rules without talking to our kids about it first.
Rob Cope: [00:20:32] Yeah. It’s kinda like in the old days. You know, you wouldn’t see-
Krista Boan: [00:20:35] Right.
Rob Cope: [00:20:35] Our parents wouldn’t let us go to hou- houses that, you know, the parents had really loose morals around alcohol. You know, so my parents just wouldn’t let us-
Zareen Cope: [00:20:44] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:20:44] Go to certain people’s houses when we were kids because they had different beliefs around drinking when you’re really young. And it’s just the same thing. It’s just like moving to, like, the digital age from what we grew up with. And just go, “Well, these are the rules in our family. We know the dangers, so, you know, we need to have that conversation with any, any parent.”
Zareen Cope: [00:21:04] Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Um, uh, yeah. And like Rob said, most parents that we’ve talked to have been fine ’cause a lot of them have said, “Oh, well, that’s great actually because it’s better for them to play together than to just sit, ignoring each other on”-
Krista Boan: [00:21:16] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:21:17] -“their devices anyway.”
Rob Cope: [00:21:18] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:21:18] So it’s good. It’s-
Krista Boan: [00:21:19] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:21:19] It’s good for the kids. They see the benefit in the kids being able to spend time together playing. And I think-
Krista Boan: [00:21:26] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:21:26] What we’re finding, is a lot of parents, they actually want to be able to say no. Like, put your phone aw- th- you know, don’t-
Krista Boan: [00:21:34] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:21:34] Bring the phone to the dinner table. Don’t sit on your phone when you’ve got friends around. It’s just finding that courage-
Krista Boan: [00:21:40] Yeah. Um, as I think of my own journey, we’ve really had a similar response from parents in our work. I can remember about three years ago, um, the night that I was up in the middle of the night with my heart racing. You know, l- lump in my throat, scared to death, to send an email to a few friends to share with them that, you know, I was actually thinking about not getting my daughter a, a phone for Christmas. She was in fifth grade at the time.
And hitting send, and just feeling like, oh my gosh, I think I just ended my social life. But, like, the next morning, it was, my inbox was full of people who said, “Oh my gosh. I am so with you on this.” And from that point on, after I broke the ice, I never quite had that same fear that I was alone. But for, but for every parent, I think there is this definite perception that, “Oh my gosh. Am I the only one?”
I think Rob and Zareen, and us here at START, we would say, “Oh my gosh. No, you are not. You are not the only one who wants to have this conversation.” And if you can be brave enough and have the courage to start the conversation with whatever parent that you are interacting with, you might find that they are really eager to talk about this, and relieved that you brought it up as well.
Rob Cope: [00:23:04] [crosstalk 00:22:56] Nice.
Zareen Cope: [00:23:08] Um-
Rob Cope: [00:23:08] And being able to do it without being that self-righteous-
Zareen Cope: [00:23:09] Yeah. Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:23:09] Parent as well, it’s a matter of being able to do it and like-
Zareen Cope: [00:23:09] Yes.
Rob Cope: [00:23:10] Just a, oh, I don’t know… An open, caring way.
Zareen Cope: [00:23:10] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:23:10] Rather than being th- you know.
Zareen Cope: [00:23:10] No judgment.
Krista Boan: [00:23:10] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:23:10] No judgment.
Zareen Cope: [00:23:10] You know?
Rob Cope: [00:23:10] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:23:10] It’s not to say, “Oh, you need to change what you do.” But just to say, “We are really aware of some of the dangers, and kids can be silly sometimes, especially when they’re together. So would you mind just for this hour, or this two hours”-
Rob Cope: [00:23:24] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Zareen Cope: [00:23:25] -“uh, would you mind just not having access to, to online activities?” That I-
Rob Cope: [00:23:29] ‘Cause kids are silly, eh? Can you imagine-
Krista Boan: [00:23:29] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:23:32] A bunch of young kids, and they go, “Ooh, you should look up boobs.”
Zareen Cope: [00:23:34] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:23:34] You know? And then they would.
Zareen Cope: [00:23:34] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:23:38] And, and-
Krista Boan: [00:23:39] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:23:39] They wouldn’t find just-
Krista Boan: [00:23:40] Right.
Rob Cope: [00:23:40] Boobs. They will find some pretty-
Zareen Cope: [00:23:42] Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:23:42] Pretty hardcore porn.
Krista Boan: [00:23:44] Yeah. That was a beautiful approach. And you know, it’s just great to be able to, to offer your kids that, that support and that safety net for, for really a very real hazard for them, that is pornography.
Let’s talk a little bit about other safety nets that we could put in place for our kids with, when it comes to pornography. Um… I think I shared with you guys that I have four kids of my own. And one of the things that I’ve learned [laughs] over the years, is that sometimes those conversations like this that we wanna put off with them are actually a whole lot easier if we start them when the kids are really, really young. And one of our favorite resources at START, and I think one of yours as well, is a book called Good Pictures Bad Pictures by Kristen Jenson. Would you guys like to share a little bit about that book as a resource?
Zareen Cope: [00:24:37] Yeah. So Kristen is one of the experts that, um, that we interview in the film. And it’s, her book is one of the books that, that we take around when we do our talks, and it’s on our website as well, that we recommend. It’s a, it’s a great way to have that conversation with kids. And I think you even need to bring it even back to even just being e- comfortable to have an age-appropriate talk about sex.
Rob Cope: [00:25:01] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:25:01] As well.
Rob Cope: [00:25:02] That’s one of the main things-
Zareen Cope: [00:25:03] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:25:03] We’ve-
Krista Boan: [00:25:03] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:25:03] Found is that, if we’re not comfortable having the sex conversation with our kids, we’re definitely not gonna be comfortable enough having the porn conversation.
Zareen Cope: [00:25:11] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:25:11] And sex-
Krista Boan: [00:25:11] Right.
Rob Cope: [00:25:11] Doesn’t have to be a big, scary, taboo subject. I mean, we pretty much answer age-appropriately, every single question that our kids ask us.
Zareen Cope: [00:25:19] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Krista Boan: [00:25:21] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:25:22] There’s different talks for different age groups. And I think, um, Kristen Jenson’s book is great, definitely. And I mean, sh- when she spoke to, and she’s got one for, for young… From like three to six-year-olds, I think. And then-
Rob Cope: [00:25:33] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:25:33] Her next one up. So it’s Good Pictures Bad Pictures, Jr. and then Good Pictures Bad Pictures.
Krista Boan: [00:25:38] Yep.
Zareen Cope: [00:25:38] And you know, we were really lucky we actually spent time with her at her house, and, and went out with her for lunch. And you know, she was saying about, it can just be as simple as if you see people without their clothes on, or if you see naked people on the iPad, put, put it down and-
Krista Boan: [00:25:54] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:25:54] Come and, and tell Mom and Da- Mum or Dad, or Grandma, Grandad. You know-
Rob Cope: [00:26:00] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:26:00] Whoever is the caregiver. So just even doing that with, like, really young kids-
Rob Cope: [00:26:05] Yes.
Zareen Cope: [00:26:06] Is enough to know that, oh, I know what to do. So if the kids have a plan, they know what they’re supposed to do when they see that.
Rob Cope: [00:26:14] And-
Zareen Cope: [00:26:15] You know?
Rob Cope: [00:26:15] And then also, when it comes down to-
Krista Boan: [00:26:17] Totally.
Rob Cope: [00:26:17] Our kids are gonna hear things at school. And if we aren’t honest and answer their-
Krista Boan: [00:26:22] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:26:22] Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:26:23] Questions, they will just go searching somewhere else for it. So we’ve had questions like what’s a gang bang?
Zareen Cope: [00:26:29] What’s a threesome?
Rob Cope: [00:26:31] What’s a threesome? Of like, ten years, and [inaudible 00:26:33] kids have asked these questions. And we as- we answer them honestly.
Zareen Cope: [00:26:36] Not in graphic detail.
Krista Boan: [00:26:38] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:26:38] I mean-
Rob Cope: [00:26:38] But just the basics of what it is.
Zareen Cope: [00:26:40] Yeah. And Ne-
Rob Cope: [00:26:41] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Zareen Cope: [00:26:41] Neve asked me, you know, asked us… Just, like, shouted out in the car, what’s a threesome?
Rob Cope: [00:26:47] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:26:47] So when I-
Krista Boan: [00:26:48] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:26:48] Got her to an appropriate place, you know, I just said to her that two people have sex. “Yes,” she said. And I said, “Well, a threesome is where three people actually have sex.” And isn’t that interesting? And, and-
Rob Cope: [00:27:02] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:27:02] She looked at me-
Krista Boan: [00:27:02] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:27:03] And then you could see, you know, she’s, like, thinking about this. And then she’s, like, totally grossed out by it. And then I’m like, d- “Do you have any questions that you want to ask me about this?” And she was like, “No, that’s fine.” And then she moved from that onto what food she was gonna get from the food market. You know, but I-
Rob Cope: [00:27:20] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:27:20] Said to her-
Krista Boan: [00:27:20] Yes, that happened.
Zareen Cope: [00:27:20] At any point whenever you have any questions, or anymore questions about this, or any other questions, just come and ask me. Okay? ‘Cause I’m gonna tell you. And so she does.
Rob Cope: [00:27:30] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:27:30] And-
Rob Cope: [00:27:30] And it’s okay-
Krista Boan: [00:27:31] That’s great.
Rob Cope: [00:27:31] Not to know the answer. Because I know a lot of, a lot of parents are quite naïve to what a lot of the terms mean. And so it’s okay to say to a child-
Krista Boan: [00:27:39] Right.
Rob Cope: [00:27:39] Like, “I’m not quite sure what that means, but you know, I’ll find out. And I’ll come back, and we’ll have a talk about it.”
Zareen Cope: [00:27:45] Yeah…
Rob Cope: [00:27:46] Um.
Zareen Cope: [00:27:46] That’s a really, really important one too.
Rob Cope: [00:27:48] You know?
Krista Boan: [00:27:48] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:27:48] So that that child knows that they are gonna get an explanation.
Rob Cope: [00:27:52] Yes.
Zareen Cope: [00:27:52] And the more, sort of, matter of a fact and it’s just one of these things that you are, the less they’re gonna be like, “Ooh… This is something taboo.”
Rob Cope: [00:28:02] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:28:02] You know? If you make a big deal about it and get all flushed, and, then they’re gonna go, “Oh, this is a big deal.”
Rob Cope: [00:28:09] Yes.
Zareen Cope: [00:28:09] If you shame them, um, then they’re gonna feel like-
Krista Boan: [00:28:13] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:28:14] They’re a bad person for being curious about this. And then they’re gonna go find it by themselves.
Rob Cope: [00:28:20] Yep.
Zareen Cope: [00:28:20] Which is what we don’t want.
Rob Cope: [00:28:22] They’ll just either look on their own phone if they’ve got one, or they’ll ask a mate at school to look it up, or, you know? We, we have to, we have to quench their, their thirst-
Zareen Cope: [00:28:31] For knowledge.
Rob Cope: [00:28:31] W- for knowledge-
Zareen Cope: [00:28:32] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:28:32] By, by giving them the, the answers. You know, kids respond to truth.
Zareen Cope: [00:28:36] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:28:36] Tell them the truth.
Zareen Cope: [00:28:37] I was putting Neve down to bed one night, uh, last year, and she said to me, “Oh, Mum, did the Joker get his make up from a clown who used to capture children, have sex with them, and then murder them?” She was ten-years-old when she asked me, um, this question. [crosstalk 00:28:56] And I said to her-
Krista Boan: [00:28:57] Oh my gosh.
Zareen Cope: [00:28:58] “Oh my goodness, no.” And then, before I could even get any further, she said, “Why would an adult want to have sex with a child?” Then she asked me how would an adult have sex with a child? And then she asked me how would a man have sex with a boy? So this was all within-
Rob Cope: [00:29:15] [laughs] And that was, uh-
Zareen Cope: [00:29:16] This was all within a couple of minutes.
Rob Cope: [00:29:16] That was a, a lot to put [inaudible 00:29:17].
Zareen Cope: [00:29:17] Hm.
Krista Boan: [00:29:18] Oh my gosh.
Zareen Cope: [00:29:19] Yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:29:20] Zareen!
Zareen Cope: [00:29:20] It was a big night.
Krista Boan: [00:29:21] Oh my gosh. [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:29:22] Like anyone wi- would do at that point, I was freaking out. So, I did the, you know, I said, “Okay. Let’s answer one question at a time.” So the, the make up that the Joker has. So then, I went on Google, went onto Wikipedia about, you know, the history of clown make up. So we sat and we looked at that, and we talked about that. So that answered that question. And then-
Krista Boan: [00:29:45] Yes.
Zareen Cope: [00:29:45] Why would an adult want to have sex with a child? And I sa- you know, I said to her, “You know, sometimes, adults don’t have the best interest of children at heart. And sometimes adults do things to children that they shouldn’t do.” And so, um, how do they have, um, how would an adult have sex with a child? How would an, ad- a man have sex with a boy? I just said to her around that… Because I didn’t want to talk to her about anal rape and, and pedophilia at, you know, at that time.
So I said to her, “You know, you’ve had the talk in school from the police officer about inappropriate touching.” And I said to her, “Well”-
Krista Boan: [00:30:26] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:30:26] -“Um, a man could touch a boy on his penis or his balls, and that is sexual touching. That’s a sexual act.” And she said, “Oh, okay.” And I said, “Okay, do you, do you have anymore questions for me?” And of course that’s a big thing to, to talk about.
Krista Boan: [00:30:44] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Zareen Cope: [00:30:44] And she just kind of sat there and she said, “No, no. I understand.” And I said, “Okay. Well, if you have any more questions at all about this, you can talk to me. You can talk to Rob. You can talk to your dad. You can talk to your stepmom. You know, come to us and, and we can talk to you about this.” And then that was it.
But if I had put her down to bed, and she had a phone, or had an iPad in her bedroom-
Krista Boan: [00:31:09] Oh gosh.
Zareen Cope: [00:31:09] She would have-
Krista Boan: [00:31:10] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:31:10] Googled it. And if she Googled a man having sex with a boy, can you imagine-
Krista Boan: [00:31:15] No.
Zareen Cope: [00:31:15] What she, what she could have seen?
Rob Cope: [00:31:15] ‘Cause she would have found it.
Zareen Cope: [00:31:15] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:31:15] Yep.
Krista Boan: [00:31:15] Oh-
Zareen Cope: [00:31:18] You know, again, I didn’t have to go-
Krista Boan: [00:31:22] Wow.
Zareen Cope: [00:31:22] Into graphic detail, but I w- I was, you know, but I told her enough with what I already knew she could understand, and with what I thought she could handle because I know her enough to, to get her and I by. And I tell you what, I was, like, dying inside.
Rob Cope: [00:31:40] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:31:40] I was so scared… Will this bring on more curious?
Krista Boan: [00:31:44] Oh yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:31:45] You know? Will she ask me more questions?
Krista Boan: [00:31:47] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:31:47] Will she, you know, how am I gonna answer even more questions?
Rob Cope: [00:31:50] Because that is something we get from parents that they don’t wanna have the porn talk because they don’t want to destroy their children’s innocence, or make them more curious, or, or any of these things. And what we say to parents is, the whole world is leading your kids towards pornography constantly. Because it is everywhere.
Krista Boan: [00:32:08] Right.
Rob Cope: [00:32:08] It’s a hyper-
Krista Boan: [00:32:09] Right.
Rob Cope: [00:32:10] Sexualized culture we live in. Just go onto TikTok and look up Cardi B’s WAP if you don’t believe us. You know, like, everything is driving our children-
Krista Boan: [00:32:18] Right.
Rob Cope: [00:32:19] Towards this, so we need to be that place of correct information for them. They are not going to become more curious by as- telling them the truth. We’re going to help them through this by being open and honest.
Zareen Cope: [00:32:32] Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And we can also then, talk to them about sex-
Krista Boan: [00:32:36] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:32:36] And things like that, in a way that’s in line with our own family values. In a way that we want them to learn about it. Because Rob was completely right, if we do not teach our children about sex and about porn, the internet will teach them about it.
Rob Cope: [00:32:53] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:32:53] And it’s not gonna teach them the same way that, that we would. And so I say-
Krista Boan: [00:32:58] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:32:58] It’s the same thing like-
Krista Boan: [00:32:59] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:32:59] We talk about how do we have that conversation with other parents for play dates, everybody knows their children, and takes their cues. So if you’re-
Krista Boan: [00:33:08] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:33:08] Child is talking about sexual stuff, like, uh, Neve started jumping up and down on the trampoline and I could hear her. Um, and she was like, “Penis. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.” You know, so obviously, they had talked about it in school. So I brought her in at that time-
Krista Boan: [00:33:25] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:33:25] And said, “Hey. We need to have a conversation. First of all, it’s not appropriate for you to be jumping on the trampoline, you know, saying penis so loud I can hear it. Um, and second, you know”-
Krista Boan: [00:33:38] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:33:38] -“we need to talk about, about sex, and how that, that works.” And so it was a very, you know, basic, um, you know a man will put his penis into a woman’s vagina. And this is what sex is.
Krista Boan: [00:33:52] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Zareen Cope: [00:33:53] And you know, I was able to then put my values around-
Krista Boan: [00:33:55] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Zareen Cope: [00:33:55] That. That this is something that happens in a loving, respectful relationship when you’re a lot older. [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:34:01] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:34:01] You know, when [laughs], when you’re an adult.
Krista Boan: [00:34:04] Yep.
Zareen Cope: [00:34:04] Um, so I didn’t have-
Krista Boan: [00:34:06] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:34:06] To go into too much detail, but enough detail. And so, you may hear your child talk about something in the way that I could hear Neve saying that and having a laugh and a giggle. Um, you may be watching something with, with your children and maybe a, a romantic scene comes on. You know, and they mi- sort of, that might peak their curiosity. So a bit later on, you could set them aside and say, “Hey… You know when we saw that on the program…” And then you start having that conversation. And you take that as far as you’re comfortable with.
But I think what you need to understand as a parent is that the chances are, your child has already heard something in the playground, or something from friends, or seen something on YouTube, or on a TV program, and they probably a- in this day and age, know a lot more, or have heard things, than we would imagine-
Rob Cope: [00:35:06] Oh, it’s so-
Zareen Cope: [00:35:07] That they had.
Rob Cope: [00:35:07] It’s so different. I remember getting a book called Almost Twelve when I was almost [laughs] 13-years-old. But I didn’t know, I didn’t know-
Krista Boan: [00:35:14] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:35:14] About sex until I was almost 13-years-old. ‘Cause it just wasn’t around… It wasn’t in our faces like-
Zareen Cope: [00:35:20] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:35:20] And so I just, or didn’t even think about it.
Krista Boan: [00:35:23] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:35:23] I remember a mate telling me at school, like, when I was almost 13, about what my dad does to my mum. And I was horrified.
Krista Boan: [00:35:30] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:35:30] You know? And kids will know about that these days at like eight-years-old.
Zareen Cope: [00:35:34] It’s not an easy conversation. And even though, you know, we talk to our kids, I still o- often feel quite uncomfortable. And I feel angry.
Krista Boan: [00:35:43] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:35:44] Um, Krista, you know, I, I feel angry-
Krista Boan: [00:35:46] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:35:46] That I had to have these conversations with my daughter at an age that I wasn’t ready to have those conversations at. But I know that in order to keep her safe-
Krista Boan: [00:35:56] Yep.
Zareen Cope: [00:35:57] I have to do it. So it’s perfectly normal as a parent to feel angry, to feel anxious, to feel uncomfortable. But there are these resources-
Krista Boan: [00:36:06] Yep.
Zareen Cope: [00:36:06] Like Kristen’s book.
Krista Boan: [00:36:07] Yeah. And there are a lot of really great resources out there. You guys have a great collection of them on your website, ourkidsonline.info. And we do as well here at START, westartnow.org. And you know, I’m actually listening, and I’m thinking about that, that parent out there who has the sinking feeling in their gut that maybe the train has left the station on this. And that, you know, maybe their kid has been looking at porn or has had exposure to a predator, and that it’s time for them to kind of, you know, step into the ring and address it.
And you know, I don’t know if you’d be willing, but could I kind of throw out a Dear Abby situation, um, for you from a parent in our community who’s feeling this way? Um, and who has shared with us… I think my son is watching porn, but I don’t even know how to start that conversation. How do I step in at that point without looking like an old fuddy-duddy?
Rob Cope: [00:37:07] Now we actually came out with a couple of animations that we put in the end of the film, but they’re available just on YouTube as well. And one of them is how to have the-
Krista Boan: [00:37:16] Oh, wow.
Rob Cope: [00:37:16] Conversation with your teen son about porn. And basically, it’s an animation of a father-
Krista Boan: [00:37:21] Nice.
Rob Cope: [00:37:22] And a son sitting in a, a car, and they go for a drive along the car so that… In the car, so the boy can’t jump out of the door when the conversation-
Zareen Cope: [00:37:29] Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:37:30] Awkward. [laughs] But it’s, it’s, like, you know, I, me as a dad, I didn’t real- really realize the impact of porn, that it has on the young, developing mind. And so, we’re going to put filters on all, all of the devices to keep you safe. Um, and I wanna start having the conversation with you about porn because, you know, up to one in three young guys, uh, end up having, uh, porn-induced erectile dysfunction because their brains become hardwired to porn. And then when they want to actually have sex when they’re older, you know, up to one in three of them can’t actually perform.
And so, I’m really, you know, as you get older, and you know, when you’re with someone u- when you’re older and you want to have sex, I wanna make sure that, you know, you can actually have sex. Yeah, I put together animation that explains it really well.
Zareen Cope: [00:38:21] Yeah. So that, that’s one for teenage boys. And, and you can find that on our website as well. But what I would say is to, to add-
Krista Boan: [00:38:28] Yes.
Zareen Cope: [00:38:28] To that, is, you know, obviously it depends, depends on the age. You know, if it, if it’s a younger boy, like, um, then yeah. Ha- having that conversation and always starting that conversation with, “You know, you know, it, it’s okay. Everything is okay. I just want to, to have this conversation.”
Krista Boan: [00:38:45] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:38:45] So for the younger one, it’s about starting that conversation with, “Hey, um… It’s, it’s okay. Everything is okay.” It’s about making sure that they know that they haven’t done anything wrong. And that’s really important when, when they’re-
Krista Boan: [00:38:58] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:38:58] So young that they, they don’t understand it to the same degree that maybe a teen would. I mean, we’re assuming it, it’s a boy here. I mean, it could be a girl as well. We understand porn is a super stimulus. And it’s actually, it’s different from, from real sex. So it’s, it’s talking to those things that yes, it’s a super stimulus. So y- it’s meant to make you watch it. It’s not real. It’s not what happens in real life. And it’s about asking him, you know, it, you know, how did it make you feel? Do, do you want to talk about how it made you feel?
This is something that happens. And so we need to be comfortable-
Krista Boan: [00:39:36] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:39:36] To be able to have that conversation in that way.
Rob Cope: [00:39:38] ‘Cause [crosstalk 00:39:39] it’s about connecting with the kids.
Zareen Cope: [00:39:40] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:39:41] Like, really connect with the kids. And, and tell them… Now, give them the information. Educate them. And say, “Look, I’m really concerned about online porn and how addictive it is. And I’ve kind of dropped the ball a bit as a dad, and I’m sorry about that.”
Zareen Cope: [00:39:55] Or a mom.
Rob Cope: [00:39:56] Or a Mom.
Zareen Cope: [00:39:56] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:39:56] And so, what we’re gonna do now, is we’re gonna have new rules in the home. That’s, you know, there’s no devices in bedrooms ever. Um, the internet will be turned off when we go to bed. And we’re gonna put filters on all your devices. So I’m gonna research which are the best filters, ’cause it’s my job as an adult, as your parent, to keep you safe. And I’m sorry if I have dropped the ball already on this, but I’m aware now, and we’re gonna put these rules in place and protect you and look after you from now on.
Zareen Cope: [00:40:24] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:40:24] Also, kids will say, “Don’t you trust me?” And we say, “This isn’t a trust issue. This is a wear your seatbelt issue.” Because, you know, it’s my job to keep you safe. So that’s why we put filters in place, and that’s why we don’t allow phones in the bedrooms and, and all. Th- that’s not a trust issue. This has to do with porn is a super stimulus, and you’re a young, got a young, developing brain. You just don’t stand a chance.
Zareen Cope: [00:40:47] And there are, I mean, there are people who can help as well. I mean, if you’ve got a, if you’ve got a teenage son for example who’s really struggling… Um, you know, turn to people like Gabe Deem or, or Noah Church.
Krista Boan: [00:40:59] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:00] They have, um, online resources.
Krista Boan: [00:41:03] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:03] They have forums-
Rob Cope: [00:41:03] They have videos.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:03] That are there.
Rob Cope: [00:41:03] They have forums, yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:05] And so, it’s about educating ourselves as well, on how best to help our kids-
Rob Cope: [00:41:10] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Zareen Cope: [00:41:10] If we do find that there’s, um, an addiction that’s forming. So it’s never too late. Um-
Rob Cope: [00:41:16] No.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:16] Krista, it’s never-
Krista Boan: [00:41:17] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:17] Too late. It’s never, ever, too late to help our kids with this.
Rob Cope: [00:41:21] And don’t ever assume that because you’re a good family that this isn’t gonna happen. Because I know people that this has happened, and really good families-
Zareen Cope: [00:41:29] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:41:29] That is totally blind-sided, you know, the child, when the child, like, 18, they said, “Yeah, I’ve had a hardcore porn addiction since I was 12-years-old”-
Krista Boan: [00:41:37] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:41:37] -“When my grandparents first gave me, you know, a, an iPad.” And right under the nose of really good parents who just had, no, no idea whatsoever. So this happens, can happen, in any family. No matter-
Zareen Cope: [00:41:50] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:41:50] Who you are. No matter what your belief system. No matter how morally, you know, straight up you might be.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:55] Hm.
Rob Cope: [00:41:56] Porn is, porn is addictive.
Zareen Cope: [00:41:57] Yeah, and we need to stop thinking about it… Um, as parents, we need to stop thinking about it as this big-
Krista Boan: [00:42:04] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:42:04] Horrible, horrible thing. And we need to think about it in, if my child-
Krista Boan: [00:42:07] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:42:07] Was sniffing glue.
Krista Boan: [00:42:08] Right.
Zareen Cope: [00:42:08] If my child was drinking alcohol. If my child was taking drugs. We have to, to see it in that same way because there’s no way that we would go, “I’m too uncomfortable to have a conversation about my 14-year-old who seems to be drinking alcohol.” There’s just no way that, that we wouldn’t step in and do something, you know? So I, uh, I, as overwhelming as-
Krista Boan: [00:42:32] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Zareen Cope: [00:42:32] It seems, I g- I can promise you that once you start this journey of, of connecting, and opening up, and talking about it. It becomes less scary.
Krista Boan: [00:42:43] Yeah, absolutely. And I would just say that starting by listening to, to these podcast is an awesome first step. So you’ve got the hardest part down. Um, and if you would like more resources, definitely check out our kids online, which is available on Vimeo. Um, we also host showings of it occasionally at START. So, Rob and Zareen, we’re so thankful for the work that you’ve done to help parents wrap our brains around what is going on.
Could we just close our podcast today with some fun rapid fire?
Rob Cope: [00:43:13] Sure.
Zareen Cope: [00:43:14] Yes, uh-huh [affirmative].
Krista Boan: [00:43:14] Awesome. Okay. So the first one is, your favorite piece of old-school technology. The kind that you kind of have to explain to your kids.
Zareen Cope: [00:43:24] Oh, Sony Walkman. I had a blue one. Loved it.
Krista Boan: [00:43:28] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:43:28] It was amazing.
Krista Boan: [00:43:30] Okay.
Rob Cope: [00:43:30] I, I like the old dial phones.
Krista Boan: [00:43:31] Yes.
Rob Cope: [00:43:31] I don’t know if you’ve seen it that YouTube clip that someone did? A mom got her two teenage boys and timed them how long it would take them to figure out how to use the old dial phone. It’s hilarious.
Krista Boan: [00:43:42] Yes. [laughs] I think I have seen that one. Okay, so how about a fill in the blank. Being a parent in 2021 is-
Zareen Cope: [00:43:50] So hard.
Rob Cope: [00:43:52] Yeah. [laughs] I was gonna say brutally hard.
Zareen Cope: [00:43:53] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:43:53] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:43:54] It’s, it’s really hard, man. We are up against, we are up against technology that has rapidly moved in such a way… I, I don’t think it, it’s moved that rapidly in such a short space of time ever before. So it’s really difficult.
Krista Boan: [00:44:08] Yeah. Okay. Favorite app. Zareen?
Zareen Cope: [00:44:11] Favorite app… I would have to say, it’s probably my LinkedIn at the moment. Because I get to connect with, like, such amazing people who are working in the field. You know? Without all the drama, and the, the I don’t feel like that’s causing me an addiction, uh, LinkedIn. So, yeah, for me… u- yeah, that would be it.
Krista Boan: [00:44:30] LinkedIn, that’s cool. Okay. Favorite trick you use to keep your tech in check.
Rob Cope: [00:44:35] I deleted all the apps from my phone.
Zareen Cope: [00:44:38] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:44:38] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:44:38] Yeah, oh notifications.
Rob Cope: [00:44:39] Those are-
Zareen Cope: [00:44:40] Yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:44:40] Turn off your notifications.
Zareen Cope: [00:44:41] Yeah, I turned o- I turned off, like, like, practically all of my notifications.
Rob Cope: [00:44:48] Guitar Tune is my favorite app ’cause it’s the only app I have on my phone now. [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:44:52] Yeah, you went multiple. You just took-
Rob Cope: [00:44:55] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:44:55] Everything off, right?
Krista Boan: [00:44:55] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:44:55] Yeah, well I was once addicted to Angry Birds. So I was once 78th in the world at Angry Birds. So… I know, I know [laughs]-
Krista Boan: [00:45:01] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:45:01] All about addiction. And how, how aw- how awesome this technology is. So I just don’t have it.
Krista Boan: [00:45:07] [laughs] That’s awesome. You are a recovering Angry Bird. Awesome. Okay, last one. The internet breaks down for 24 hours. What are you guys gonna do to unplug?
Zareen Cope: [00:45:20] If we have the kids, like, uh, cards?
Rob Cope: [00:45:22] We have this-
Zareen Cope: [00:45:24] We play games.
Rob Cope: [00:45:25] Yeah, we have board games. We have Mahjong. We play Rummy-O.
Zareen Cope: [00:45:27] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:45:28] Oh, and we found, [crosstalk 00:45:29] this amazing device I don’t know if you’ve got it in the States. Um, but it basically has all of the arcade games from the ’80s. Like Street Fighter, and-
Zareen Cope: [00:45:39] Space Invaders-
Rob Cope: [00:45:39] Tetris.
Zareen Cope: [00:45:39] Tetris-
Rob Cope: [00:45:39] 1941.
Zareen Cope: [00:45:39] Pac-Man.
Rob Cope: [00:45:40] Like Sonic… It has all… 1,600 games it has on it. And you plug it into your TV. It doesn’t connect to the internet, and you can play all these old-school games with your kids.
Zareen Cope: [00:45:51] [laughs] Oh, it’s got like, the li- the little joysticks and little buttons. Like, the proper arcade-
Rob Cope: [00:45:56] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:45:56] Um… The set up is like a keyboard.
Krista Boan: [00:45:58] Oh, so fun.
Zareen Cope: [00:45:59] But it’s not. It’s just buttons and two joysticks.
Rob Cope: [00:46:02] Yeah.
Zareen Cope: [00:46:02] So you can play it with each other. And, uh, yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:46:05] And our kids love Street Fighter. Now, back in the ’80s, if you let your kids play Street Fighter, you would have been-
Krista Boan: [00:46:10] [laughs]
Zareen Cope: [00:46:10] Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Rob Cope: [00:46:10] Like a really bad parent. But now we’re like, “This device…”
Krista Boan: [00:46:13] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:46:13] It’s called game on, friends, and let your kids play Street [laughs] Fighter.
Zareen Cope: [00:46:14] Hm, I’m sure you guys can import one from somewhere.
Krista Boan: [00:46:14] [laughs]
Rob Cope: [00:46:14] That had a different-
Zareen Cope: [00:46:14] If it’s a worl- worldwide one, yeah.
Rob Cope: [00:46:18] Yeah.
Krista Boan: [00:46:19] And now, you can see why our START team is constantly joking about needing to take a trip to New Zealand to hang out with our friends Rob and Zareen Cope. I hope you guys enjoyed hearing their perspective today. Not only do they have an amazing expertise in, um, helping highlight and eliminate the hazards in the online world for our kids, but also, they have this beautiful message of culling kids into healthy sexual relationships as adults. And, and helping parents understand what it looks like to help build that template. And I hope you enjoyed it.
If you did, we’d love for you to subscribe to The Screen Sanity Podcast, or follow us on social media. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And if you wanna learn more about our resources, you can visit us at westartnow.org. And maybe even join an upcoming screening of Our Kids Online. So, until next time… Maybe grab yourself a game of Street Fighter. [laughs] And help yourself no that screens are pretty small, but life is pretty big. Keep looking up.