Friends & Fellow Citizens

#124: Helping Families Responsibly Navigate The Social Media Age

July 03, 2023 Sherman Tylawsky
#124: Helping Families Responsibly Navigate The Social Media Age
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Friends & Fellow Citizens
#124: Helping Families Responsibly Navigate The Social Media Age
Jul 03, 2023
Sherman Tylawsky

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In an age of social media, the challenge of promoting and maintaining trust online continues to grow and demand more solutions. So how can parents and educators contribute to minimize online threats and maximize accountability and personal responsibility? Brock Murphy, Co-Founder and President of Parent ProTech, discusses the challenges of social media accountability and regulation and how his platform can protect kids online.

Learn more about Parent ProTech at parentprotech.com!

Check out this year's FreedomFest at freedomfest.com to learn more and support this event, and use promo code FELLOW50 for $50 off your ticket! Truly a fantastic experience for freedom-loving minds!

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NOTE: All views expressed by the host are presented in his personal capacity and do not officially represent the views of any affiliated organizations. All views by guests are solely those of the interviewees and may or may not reflect the views of the host or Friends & Fellow Citizens.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

In an age of social media, the challenge of promoting and maintaining trust online continues to grow and demand more solutions. So how can parents and educators contribute to minimize online threats and maximize accountability and personal responsibility? Brock Murphy, Co-Founder and President of Parent ProTech, discusses the challenges of social media accountability and regulation and how his platform can protect kids online.

Learn more about Parent ProTech at parentprotech.com!

Check out this year's FreedomFest at freedomfest.com to learn more and support this event, and use promo code FELLOW50 for $50 off your ticket! Truly a fantastic experience for freedom-loving minds!

Support the Show.

Visit georgewashingtoninstitute.org for the one-stop shop of all things Friends & Fellow Citizens and George Washington Institute!
JOIN as a Patreon supporter and receive a FREE Friends & Fellow Citizens mug at the $25 membership level!
NEW MERCH STORE! Click HERE to get your podcast mug now!

NOTE: All views expressed by the host are presented in his personal capacity and do not officially represent the views of any affiliated organizations. All views by guests are solely those of the interviewees and may or may not reflect the views of the host or Friends & Fellow Citizens.

Speaker 1:

patriotism, faith, national unity, education, fiscal responsibility, civility the values that define America. Fascinating stories and talks from America-loving patriots dedicate to preserving freedom, opportunity and justice. Welcome to the Friends and Fellows Citizens Podcast. Hello everyone, and welcome to episode 124 of Friends and Fellows Citizens. I'm your host, sherman Taloski. Thank you all so much for joining me for this interview episode. First of all, i hope you are enjoying the long 4th of July weekend. Hopefully you're getting today off when this episode is released, as well as tomorrow, which is the 4th of July. Also, once again, a big shout out to our Patreon supporters for their incredibly generous contributions And also thank you to our subscribers And, if you haven't already, make sure to subscribe to Friends and Fellows Citizens, if you haven't already, in the show notes below. The other thing I want to mention today is that we have a brand new feature, which I did not create myself, who is available on my podcast platform, but it is a transcript now for our episode. So, starting this episode, as you can see on the episode page, you will see a transcript. So for those of you who want to browse through the transcript of this podcast episode, you'll notice that we have a brand new feature and Buzz Sprout is just fabulous at putting out new features for us podcast creators. So make sure to check out the transcript as a bit of like an express Friends and Fellows Citizens episode, or if you just want to take a look and see what we're discussing in this conversation. Feel free to take a look. It'll obviously be much more refined as the time goes on, but I think this is a really great feature, really saves me a lot of time and hopefully can save you a lot of time as well. So check out the transcript down in the show notes below for all future Friends and Fellows Citizens episodes. Now let's move on to today's guest, brock Murphy.

Speaker 1:

Brock was born in Plano, texas, and grew up on a ranch in Cape Gerardum, missouri. His family raised and competed on American Quarter Horses and in 2012, brock launched his first company raising Texas Longhorn cattle, turning a $1,500 investment into over $100,000 in just a few years. After graduating from Saxony Lutheran High School, brock attended Texas A&M University, where he majored in agricultural economics. While in college, brock worked for the Texas A&M equine initiative and the Department of Agricultural Economics. During the summers, he interned on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Upon graduation, he went back full-time to the Office of Management and Budget at the White House, and Brock had a particular interest in the impact of adversarial nations on the United States education system.

Speaker 1:

Shortly after leaving the government realm, brock took a role at SpaceX in Brownsville, texas. While at SpaceX, he spearheaded multiple projects across government relations, business development projects on the launch pad and hired over 30 interns. During his time there, brock went on to lead a team at Interstellar Lab in Paris, france, and Houston, texas, as his Business Development Manager and Governor Affairs Manager. Officially, in December 2022, brock shifted to his own company, parent ProTech, which he co-founded with two friends to help families and schools navigate technology to keep children safe. He is spearheading their national expansion now as its president and operator. Alright, ladies and gentlemen, i am very happy to have Brock Murphy onto our program. Brock, thank you so much for coming on our program today.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

Well, we got a lot to cover today about Parent ProTech and social media usage and others, but I just want to start with a bit about yourself and really how you got started in your career in technology and policy. Tell us about yourself and how you got into those spaces.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so really, i'd say, first off, from a young age, entrepreneurship has been in my blood. So growing up, i always had opportunities or found opportunities to kind of make a few dollars, and I was also the type of type of kid who would save my money, unlike my older brother and my younger sister who always spent their money. But part of it, i think, is my grandfather grew up in the Great Depression, started out with nothing, always been super business-minded, and he taught me so much and inspired me to push really hard on things that I care about. That really was a big influence on my first main company that I started, which was the long-term cattle operation. I started when I was about 12 years old. I'd saved up some money and randomly bought a cow and everybody laughed, but I kept going to try my best research. So my grandfather really influenced me on the entrepreneurial side of things and I started visiting Washington DC when I was about probably 15-16 years old.

Speaker 2:

I went with the American Quarter Horse Association really to lobby, be on the hill, talk about equine issues and legislative priorities with congressional members, and that really sparked my love of policy and then really had this inkling in 2016 to hop into the political realm and kind of had like a quasi-internship with the Trump campaign and completely jumped in and got the opportunity to be at the presidential debate in St Louis in 2016, which is pretty incredible and in the spin room with Kellyanne Conway and Rudy Giuliani and all of the big names, and really just wanted to jump in and try to impact people in better the district, better the country.

Speaker 2:

And also I've always been the type of person that I really want to learn from other people and be a sponge, and so who better really to learn from than the top policymakers in DC and then leaders in the tech space and so kind of connecting everything. After attending Texas A&M, went back to the White House and worked in the Office of Management and Budget and when the administration ended, i went over to SpaceX and had the opportunity to work with Elon down in Brownsville, texas, and learned so much kind of his algorithm that he makes all of the employees in grains in our mind, with step one being question-dumb requirements, and so I kind of question the status quo and and that definitely has lived with me as I started my own company, parent ProTech, just after being approached by so many parents and teachers administrators with questions that they had about technology. But really I think found myself in tech and policy and just wanted to learn and impact people in a positive way.

Speaker 1:

That's a wonderful year, yeah, especially being with the top policymakers in DC. And then they go into see Elon and one of the biggest news that probably should be a lot more viral, i guess you could say is is Elon moving the Twitter headquarters, actually right near where I'm living in Carson City. It kind of just blows your mind just to think about how fast things change, you know, when you think of Silicon Valley, and now a lot of these tech companies move into your home state of Texas and and all that. So I truly admire what you're doing, i think, with the experiences that you've had, and this really is a good transition into Parent ProTech. I'm sure every mom and dad out there can relate to the kinds of issues which we'll be discussing in detail a little bit more. But what can you tell us about the founding of Parent ProTech and really the mission, the vision and just kind of a bird's-eye view of what Parent ProTech is?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you know, having that combination of experience in the tech realm and then in the policy realm, i kind of skipped over it, but one of the kind of focuses that I had in DC was looking at adversarial nations and their impact on our education system, and we could talk for hours on on that item right there. But really the the mission of Parent ProTech is to help people navigate technology safely. And realizing that, like I said, after being approached by so many parents and so many teachers, superintendents, principles, like, coming to me and I didn't really find myself I'm tech savvy, but not really like a tech expert, and so when they were coming to me, i was like you know, there's got to be an issue here. And also the questions that they were asking wasn't that difficult. It was like about what app their kids were using or what device they should purchase for their child, or information about a video game their kids were playing, and so really wanted to help solve and kind of bridge that gap between what parents hopefully know about technology and what it can actually be used for, and so that's really the premise that we started on and and since we launched officially to customers in September of 2022, we now have over, i guess, preparing for fall of fall semester at school 2023 we'll have about 60,000 users on the platform, so growing pretty well, and we put partnerships together with local schools, public and private schools to really have them be the helpers get that information out to families, and so we started very parent oriented, but as we moved on we've added more focus on student curriculum, kind of honing in on digital citizenship and digital footprint, like what you post today could come back and haunt you when you apply to your dream job or law school or whatever it might be.

Speaker 2:

Nelson, kind of preparing teachers and staff at schools, because we're very much in a digital technological age And that's only going to increase over each year as we move on and especially with the rise in AI and chat, it's going to be interesting to see how schools kind of pivot or change in a way to leverage the power of technology but also keep people safe and help kids learn.

Speaker 1:

Of course, That's awesome 60,000 users, that's pretty amazing And it's obviously going to continue to grow. And this is, i think, an important topic really, just on social media usage and how that kind of fits with family and school, and I'd love to get in more into some of those issues now. So let's go into really I'm just asking you about some of the issues, kind of backtracking a little bit to maybe kind of when those parents and teachers start approaching you. So we see a lot of these issues with the social media addiction and really and you mentioned the safety component too What sort of broad issues do you think are most important when we have those conversations about how parents can and teachers really can be a part of the solution but can be part of addressing the issues that we see as particularly among young people?

Speaker 2:

That's a great question And I think, kind of before hitting that, i just wanted to mention that in late May, the US Surgeon General came out with an advisory about social media and youth mental health, and there's a ton of alarming information that was found in that report, including up to 95% of youth ages 13 to 17 using social media, but more than a third saying that social media use is almost constant, and also, going a little further, that age 13 is commonly the required minimum age for social media platforms due to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act that passed in 1998. Very outdated though, but nearly 40% of children 8 to 12 are using social media, and so that brings up a lot of questions on why are we making it so easy for children under 13 to scroll a little bit more when they're making their profile? I mean, i'm pretty sure when I made my Facebook account, like 15 years ago, i lied a little about my age just so I can create my account. But the scary thing is, 15 years ago, when I made my Facebook account, the world that kids now have at their fingertips is so much different than 15 years ago, and also the fact that TikTok can find your deepest desire just by how long you stay on a video or the videos you interact with and can send kids into kind of a spiral if they're having issues with mental health and so on.

Speaker 2:

But we'll talk about that later. And so I think the first issue or the first thing that we've got to realize is, especially coming out of COVID, that kids have a reliance on being connected on their phone And that's only going to increase unless we put certain mechanisms together that kind of help fight against this addiction. But to me, and kind of why we created Parent Protect is we wanted families to be aware that there are tools that they can work with that set time limits on platforms and phone usage, and though a lot of these platforms make them kind of hidden, we can walk them through it and help them kind of unlock that capability.

Speaker 1:

Those are great points, especially with the thing you mentioned about the time limits and about how outdated the legislation is. Anyone who wants to get into the legislative process probably knows just how slow everything is. And you mentioned creating the profile. I think the accountability thing is such a huge component. I'll get back to that. But one of the things that I want to ask you about is just kind of something that related to some research that I read about And I'm not sure if you came across it or if the audience has come across it, but it's really how, what's?

Speaker 1:

I read this book recently where it was called The Social Media Prism And it was saying how it's a distortion And how people's literally identities and portrayals of themselves and portrayals of others is distorted.

Speaker 1:

And what's fascinating is that a lot of these social media apps, when they were created, were nothing like what they are now. Now it's kind of like this free for all sort of you know, take any picture you want and share with the world, but there were kind of these smaller niche purposes and it seemed like the kind of the norms that were put in place or the purpose of these platforms have just been completely destroyed, and so when you have a free for all sort of world where it's like, hey, free expression, you know you do whatever you want, and that's not really what the real world is like in general. You can believe whatever you want technically, but you can't do whatever you want. And so what do you make of the fact that we maybe perhaps we haven't, that platforms haven't done a good enough job of setting kind of the norms, even if it's like community guidelines or ways, even just ways to promote civil discussion or just some sort of civility element that we might be missing from social media platforms?

Speaker 2:

No, I Very interesting. I need to read that book.

Speaker 1:

I'll share with you later.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and I mean I think Firstly I wanted to hit is like the intention and the reason why these platforms were built, like Snapchat, for example, that creates a huge issue for so many people, so many kids, because it's a picture that you can put a little caption on and send it out and the kid thinks it disappears forever. But one of the co-founders of Snapchat actually said in an interview that the reason he created the platform was because he wanted to send pictures to girls that would disappear. And so definitely a couple of kind of morality, ethical questions on kind of the foundation of these core platforms that kids use. And most companies now do have community guardrails, but whether they actually enforce them is another question, or whether they're prioritizing the trust and safety teams to actually monitor it. But then you can see issues like Twitter had, where people's own the moderator's own viewpoints on politics and religion and other items can skew how hard they monitor and restrict content based on their own personal preferences.

Speaker 2:

But you're definitely right, we're kind of seeing these giants like Metta and Twitter and other companies. They start out with Facebook and then they add Instagram and then in the next month or two, metta comes out with Barcelona, if they keep that name And it's kind of the text-based app to be a competitor for Twitter. And then on the flip side, you see Elon adding a lot of components to Twitter to kind of try to get everything on one platform. And so I think there does need to be a little bit more accountability. And a con of Twitter right now is there is so much pornographic material and disinformation too, with kind of the changes that Elon's been making, that it's not a safe platform right now for kids to be on. But there just needs to be more of that prioritization at the company level.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and this is such a tough area because you want accountability. But who is accountable? Right, there's always this fight like a territorial fight between the private and the public sectors too. Just a quick note I believe YouTube I guess it's a fun fact, maybe not so fun fact for me personally. I'm not in favor of this but YouTube used to be an online dating service, but like a video version which kind of blows your mind, right, like you wouldn't think that something where you can post any kind of video that you want initially originated as an online dating service, which I bring that example out because it just shows how it's and I understand there's always going to be business interest, right, like of attracting new audiences.

Speaker 1:

But then, and as you kind of alluded to, there's the unintended consequences of those and what happens when people don't become proactive in holding people accountable.

Speaker 1:

And if we can go over to the accountability, i guess more of the lack of accountability, i should say I don't know what the nature was with your conversations with your parents and teachers and maybe your users, but one of the things that I was thinking about when it comes to accountability is what the role of the parents and the teachers are when it comes to the student, like if a student misbehaves in school, how much of it is the school and how much of it is the family? That seems, at least to me it seems like it can be a bit of a gray area. What can you tell us just about some of the issues of accountability that schools and, in particular, families have when it comes to ensuring that their kids are not only behaving well but behaving well online? What are the issues that you can see maybe between I guess you can imagine the disputes between schools and families on where that line is, on who is accountable for what.

Speaker 2:

You're definitely right.

Speaker 2:

in state by state it can be a little bit different.

Speaker 2:

I think you definitely see that for some families they're coming to the school and saying, here can you please parent my child for me, and obviously that's a very flawed argument.

Speaker 2:

Right now we're working with schools on some content and curriculum geared towards preventing violence at school and preventing terrorist threats at school coming out of the horrific events that we've all seen way too frequently, like the past one in Nashville.

Speaker 2:

And what we're working on there is the awareness and the knowledge of both parents and students of being able to identify what a threat is and kind of being able to know what they can do if they hear of a kid saying things that they shouldn't, or drawing something that they shouldn't, or writing something in the bathroom stall at school about hey, don't come to school tomorrow, or else dot, dot, dot. Here's what you can do to kind of activate the safety procedures and make sure that all students, when they come to school, only have to worry about learning and don't have to worry about their safety at school. And so what I'm seeing right now is I'm seeing an increase in schools trying to put resources in their families hands. That way the families can help be more accountable on what their kids are doing online or saying to kids in person and really creating that open dialect, open conversation in that way, kind of some of these issues. one don't happen, but two, the schools is doing everything they can to get the parents more involved and engaged.

Speaker 1:

Let's go into some of the kind of go back to the public and private sector issue, because the probably the most people I've heard of a similar quote from Ben Franklin, which is those who prefer security over freedom, deserve neither prioritize something like that Or does security deserve me, or freedom or security? And it brings about this idea of this individual liberties, of this freedom element. But then there's the safety element and I would say more, not just personal safety, but really just like the really social interests, like what is their public interest in regulation or whatever, in parent protect or other spaces. Are you seeing debates on the issues regarding this tricky balance between, on one hand, let people do what they want to do as long as they don't hurt other people or fringe other people's freedoms. On the other hand, the government has a responsibility to find whatever social interests or societal interests there are and act upon it. What sort of things do you kind of see playing out with the dynamics between those two general areas of debate?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's definitely such a hot topic in DC right now and also in communities where I mean you see very conservative communities say like we need more accountability and more restrictions, which you don't often hear, and then you hear from more left-leaning communities. You know just the overall need for more accountability on these giant companies in San Francisco or wherever, especially juggling the fact of. One thing I see right now is a lot of on the topic of age verification for these platforms, and I mean there's already that fear of giving data to these large companies. And if you add in an age verification piece, what information are you going to use to verify that these kids are over 13 or under 18? Or are you making them share there You know birth certificate or their social security number and then checking on the back end? that fits in the lines, or how are you exactly doing that? And also you see a lot with that on data privacy laws or bills being passed right now, just on the fact that primarily, so many people have always been anti-restrictions and personal freedoms, like you talked about, and it definitely puts a lot of pressure on these companies, which is good, because I don't think they're going to prioritize child safety until they are held more accountable.

Speaker 2:

And part of that is one goal with Parent Protect is that we kind of build this army of parents and people that are prioritizing the health and safety of children, especially when it comes to online activity, just because the Fendal epidemic is so high and these platforms are being used as a vehicle to get drugs laced with Fendal into kids' hands.

Speaker 2:

There are 500,000 online predators active each day. It's hard to monitor also skewed viewpoints on these platforms and that's putting a lot of pressure on kids to decipher what's right and what's wrong, and so I think you kind of have this combination of everybody wants to keep children safe, but how are you going to go against these titans of tech that have large lobbying presence and hate to say it, but the ears and the wallets of legislators to really enact change? It gets really hard unless you have, like I said, that army of people not just asking for it but demanding the prioritization of children's safety. It's that big balance, just like you said, kind of adding in more liberal viewpoints and conservative, libertarian viewpoints and kind of that limbo that we're finding ourselves in right now to attack these issues like age verification and data privacy and so on.

Speaker 1:

And the point you made about the lobbying part is absolutely right. Especially, we often forget that there is that lobbying element of these companies trying to pass certain legislation that favors them, and it's a whole industry. What was ironic one time I was watching when I was interning on the Hill in 2021, i was watching this online hearing I think it was held by Energy and Commerce in the house, and this is about I think Jack Dorsey was on it or something, as one of the witnesses and among others, and all these members of Congress are taking their own shots. Obviously, there's a bipartisan frustration and anger towards social media companies for different reasons from both parties. What is ironic is that a lot of these members are probably doing it and then posting on social media, so it's like it's almost like an outrage industry when it comes to.

Speaker 1:

You mentioned the issues that were the potential solutions, and yet it's all kind of being caught in a large to use Isis Meisenhower here in like an industrial complex, in a way Like every pillar of this social media world the companies, the federal government or state government or whatever just kind of even, i will say, because these companies depend on users who see ads and all that, to some degree, users too, and so I think we needed to have some more frank conversations amongst ourselves just generally about how we express our opinions, about the lack of accountability and the actions that we ourselves are taking. And if someone were to go about saying I don't like how they're polarizing our country, and then that person is just posting crazy stuff Like he was some credibility there.

Speaker 2:

True And, i think, adding to the accountability piece, i was messing around in Houston the other day and on the SNAP map, where if your child has a SNAP map on, you need to turn it off immediately because it shows their exact location to their friends, but also people they may not even know, depending on their privacy settings, and it can often be used kind of a mechanism to deliver drugs or cause trafficking issues as well.

Speaker 2:

But I was playing around with it clicking near my apartment and it was two days after the horrific event in Nashville at the Christian school And I guess the night before school the school near my apartment a guy had posted a picture of he tagged the school and then had his gun in the picture too, a few hours before school started And then another one right around school being let out tagging the school, showing that he's right in that location, has a gun tucked in his pants, and I reported it.

Speaker 2:

I talked to the school security team and showed it to them and they were like this is really important. Thank you for bringing it to us, but Snapchat is such a pain to deal with that they would never, ever like it's not even worth us pursuing because Snapchat's never going to help us. They're always going to make it hard, and so I think there needs to be some type of in light of events that are happening, like related to school safety, especially child safety, there needs to be a prioritization by Snapchat and these other companies that when they see when people are reporting events like guns around a school or kind of threats that could be determined, they have to take those and prioritize them more, because I reported it to them and it said it does not go against our community guidelines, when it obviously even as a joke. The person shouldn't be doing that a few days after a horrific shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, right.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's.

Speaker 1:

That's really brings about this again.

Speaker 1:

Going back to this mistrust that we see, i think it's going to be a big issue in the AI a little bit, and it's, i think, not only is it a technological issue I just want to kind of set this up here but I also think it's going to be a credibility issue for a lot of different entities like media or social media or just you know, i can imagine myself one thing I want to get into and later on is campaigning and politics and whatnot, and before you know it, there's going to be someone who's going to be able to change my voice or my look or whatever, and make it look like I'm doing something that I'm not supposed to be doing.

Speaker 1:

You know, it's like the advancements, the. I know that there's a lot of people who are like, oh, we're not there yet and whatnot, but the advancement of technology is going to be so rapid that it's going to change the way it's. I think it's going to change the dynamic between the, between young users of social media and maybe how and it sounds like exaggeration, but kind of how they perceive you know, perceive current events, how we all perceive current events and the happenings of our world. What can you just say briefly about how you think AI is going to affect some of those issues that we were talking about, or just any issues that come up to you?

Speaker 2:

No, i mean from an education standpoint. I think that ties in the credibility people piece where I could type in the chat or bar the Google chat bot write a book report on to kill Mockingbird and it'll push it out in a minute or probably not even a minute, and so I think that opens the door to a lot of issues that schools need to be talking about right now and kind of how do we move the goalposts a little bit on exams and kind of learning and checking on progress, because I may have chat GBT type it for me and they could run it through a plagiarism checker and it's not going to pop up, and so I think it just causes that issue of how does the school system change with the mass technological advancement that chat GBT brings? When we talk about the addiction and we haven't really gotten into too much of the harmful content that's at the fingertips of so many kids, and whether it be porn and nudity and all of the other issues that the online world can bring I do see that AI can be helpful in combating a lot of these issues and kind of something we're playing with is can we build tools that the second, the AI, realizes that there's harmful content, that it blocks it or blurs it out or whatever it might be to help prevent it from being seen by an eight year old or a 12 year old or 15 or however old they are. A big issue that popped up a couple weeks ago is kind of a crazy story. But how a popular streamer she had been sent a video and it was like a porn video with her face on it as one of the people in it, and how that's kind of a very sick and disgusting twisted thing that someone's doing is where you can get on some website and attach an image of someone and then it kind of personalizes that for the user, which is completely disgusting and completely scary.

Speaker 2:

But it's another use that AI is having, in addition to what you said, where it could listen to you talk in this one podcast that we're doing right now and then make it sound like you're saying the craziest things that you've never even thought about saying.

Speaker 2:

And so I think right now AI brings a lot of excitement and helps a lot for small businesses and helping people so they don't have to add headcount that they don't have the funding for, but for a lot of people I think it brings a lot of questions and definitely opens the door for a lot of harmful things to happen, because, as we see, in everything, things can be used for good, but there's always going to be people that are trying to use it for bad. And one more thing on that scammers that typically have errors in their grammar or commas punctuation all of that. They're starting to use these AI platforms to build better scamming emails to try to attack the elderly, the young, all of us to fall into their scams without us being able to easily realize that. Oh, the Prince and Ghana wanted to give you a couple million dollars. You're not alerted by the amount of huge grammar issues and also the kind of wild gift they're trying to give you.

Speaker 1:

It's one of those topics, i think, where a farmer, dad, has to sit down with the kid and just be like. You know, this is how it's going to work and I fear that there's not a lot of that. There's not a lot of this active approach to and not to say that I have right to tell parents how to raise their kids, but it's just more of like, especially when there are these consequences, i think, on other people right, other kids, other families and schools as well. What are some things that you think are important to discuss when it comes to what parent protect means for these issues that we discussed earlier and some of the ways that you all are addressing these?

Speaker 2:

Totally yeah, and kind of first thing that we wanted to do with parent protect is focus on education and so helping parents and adults, caregivers, whoever understand the platforms and the tech that their kids are using and know how to navigate those platforms, get to those little hidden areas, realize that Snapchat has a for my eyes only photo vault where kids can sometimes store inappropriate content that they send to people or that people send to them, and help them understand what parental controls are at their fingertips and show them exactly how they can turn it on. In addition to that, we also have kind of conversation starters that can help them kind of start talking about the platforms and kind of opening up for debate or conversation with their child about why they want to be on platform X or what's drawing them to that or what kind of content do they like to see on it, and kind of just start those conversations coming from a place of understanding what the platforms are, not just reading something about it online and then not having the complete picture. And so that's kind of what our focus was, especially since the beginning, of wanting to paint that picture and also going back to chat, gbt and AI and kind of where we closed out the last conversation was you know our parents talking about it, and I think I think you're right that a lot of parents probably aren't, but I think it's because they just don't know much about it and don't know kind of what to do about it too. And so for us, we want parents to know, like, if they want their kid on, if they're okay with their kid being on Instagram or TikTok, can realize the risk that's associated, then that's one thing. But we just want to help because I see unbridled access to technology being such a big issue and when a lot of these issues arise and combine that with just a lot of parents and a lot of people hungry for information and wanting to take action.

Speaker 2:

But these platforms just make it hard for people to understand, and so that's kind of where we started and I kind of mentioned earlier there's a big focus right now too on kind of social media education and curriculum geared towards students, so we've got shorter form content for kids develop. That's kind of like titled the TikTok algorithm once you, and it's all about the data that's being collected and all of the kind of facets of information that's pulled together on the platform. We cover your snaps are actually private, so you may think it disappears after 10 seconds or five seconds or two seconds, but it's pretty. One, it's being stored on servers and two, it's easily able to be recorded over and there are new platforms out there that it's not even going to notify you if you recorded or screenshot it, so you'll never know that someone still has that photo or that video or that chat where you said something inappropriate And so really honing in on that piece, and then I kind of mentioned too the curriculum and the content that we're developing for teachers and making sure that teachers and kind of key stakeholders at schools have this background and understanding of what kids are surrounded by nowadays.

Speaker 2:

That way we can kind of have the entire cycle of people involved with the child, including the child, from parents and teachers to the students, all being in the loop and more aware and educated on the platforms the good, the bad and the ugly of what they're surrounded by.

Speaker 1:

I've seen a lot of this content online nowadays, of awareness and all that. Awareness is one thing, and that's certainly important, but it's really the action element right. It's like, okay, i know about this, but okay, what are you going to do about it? And that's usually the question that sums a lot of people. It doesn't matter who it is, i mean, it's just generally it's a hard road to take because it takes some creativity, some action and some risk. On one part, too. What are some ways that you think parent-protect or some other solutions can bring together some kind of bridging of differences between people who have different views? Could be on party lines, ideology lines or even just ways on how people think they want to raise their kids.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, now, luckily, from what I've seen, left-leaning, right-leaning center not even on the spectrum. Everybody wants to prioritize the safety and well-being of kids, And so that's a no-brainer. And if you don't, then that's very scary and we should probably put them on a list somewhere and alert the FBI and everybody. But I think the relatability is a huge factor in how people respond and promote Kids safety, though, And I think when you share stories of a family in California a star student approached by a pill pusher online on Snapchat, delivers something straight to their mailbox, takes it when this family is gone laced with fentanyl and passes away When you tell stories like that, everyone no matter left, right, white, black, anyone is going to be heartbroken and sad about that issue, And so I think part of it it's not the fear-mongering part, but I think it's the realization that it can happen to anyone, And then, in the aftermath of situations like that story, highlighting the changes that the platform has made afterwards, And so if we all see that Snapchat made no change after what happened and the person isn't even held accountable that delivered that object laced with fentanyl, then we've got so many more issues than we even realize Because we're doing something dumb over and over again and putting countless more people at risk of overdosing on something or being bullied so much that they feel like they're not loved and cared about in this world.

Speaker 2:

And to me, I think we just need to keep honing in on that, like telling these stories of families that have been completely wrecked by these platforms and kind of bad people on these platforms, And from then just making that accountability that we talked about earlier, where change does happen and we don't have to keep reading the same stories over and over again.

Speaker 1:

And I think part of that just to preface this part of the thing is also that it's a creative space too, like just policy in general. It's a creative space, so there's an element of uncertainty on whether certain things work. So I don't think it's just like a done deal right. It's not like, okay, here's Sherman's policies, one, two, three, that's going to solve all that. It certainly never has happened for any kind of subject area. But just to give us an idea of what you think could be the things that we can consider, even at the local or state level too, not just the federal level.

Speaker 2:

No, and I think it's really tough because you juggle a lot of. You juggle first amendment rides, you juggle a lot, and so I had the opportunity to brief a couple of congressmen and a couple of senators and a committee the past couple of months. You know, to me, i think my mind always goes back to awareness with the guardians and the parents. But part of it, i think, is I believe that there needs to be, if kids are on these platforms, one there needs to be parent buy-in and kind of a parent letter that they sign, consenting that they realize their kid's going to be on the platform, that they will be exposed to, list all of the harmful content that they could be exposed to. And if the parent realizes that and also sits down with their kid and says, just so you know, there's going to be XYZ, obviously, depending on how old the child is, it goes back to that conversation that needs to happen between the trusted adult and the child And also telling that child that they have someone that they can talk to if they ever see content that makes them question major things or that makes them sad or scared or depressed or whatever it might be.

Speaker 2:

But I think part of it is, you know, one thing that a couple companies are doing, like TikTok and Instagram. They have a family pairing option where a parent can scan a QR code on their child's account and it allows them to put time restrictions or high explicit content or limit whether the account is private or public, limit who can direct message them. They're not perfect the ones that are out there right now, like TikToks and Instagrams but they're at least giving that visibility and giving that control over to the parent or the guardian. And so I'd like to see every platform that kids are using to at least have some type of parent pairing option, because so many of these platforms have, you know, make it a public or private account. They have it where you can hide explicit content or put a time restriction, but they don't have even a password protecting it where the child can't just go in and undo everything that the parent did. So I think having more of that infrastructure built into these platforms, it wouldn't be that even hard to do, but at least it kind of creates that buy-in and awareness on the parent side and creates that mechanism where the parent can have a little bit more control over who can reach out the type of content, that they see how long they can be on the platform, and a little bit more.

Speaker 2:

Because my fear is I kind of mentioned it earlier, but you know, age verification is a great idea if you're already not trusting these platforms and you're trusting even more very sensitive data in the hands of these platforms, and even right now, when there's the big fear of data with TikTok. Reports came out early this week that the influencers and the people that are being paid out on TikTok all of their sensitive financial data is being stored in China right now. And so what are we kind of handing over to companies that could be influenced by foreign adversaries? And TikTok is collecting so much data that I think we all should be scared about kind of what they're learning about us, especially when you compare Doyin, which is China's version of TikTok, that for children has a time limit of 40 minutes Each day. There's a buffer between videos where you can't just mindlessly scroll and the content is like museum exhibits and patriotism and inspiring their kids, whereas ours is much different.

Speaker 1:

For sure. Yeah, i remember watching that TikTok here. I couldn't believe. I mean, it's understandable why if you're getting a paycheck from the CCP or for a CCP associate the kind of responses, as absurd as they are, we're put out of that hearing And that's why I was very glad to see members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, i think, really grilling the TikTok CEO. And one final question as you know, this podcast, obviously originally from Washington, is very well-addressed. So we try to connect with the values of patriotism, faith, national unity, education, physical responsibility, civility, just kind of a combination of those things Based on those kind of values and kind of our conversation and things that you're doing with parent-protect. What are some ways that you think you can connect and relate to those ideas that I just mentioned about, where Washington's fairwill address, while it was written a long time ago, i think, has all that relevance in today's day and age?

Speaker 2:

Totally Yeah, and my mind rushes to a couple points.

Speaker 2:

I think one is on the unity front national unity, especially on key issues And on this collaboration and promoting online safety and the protection of kids, our next generation and the generation to come, because at the end of the day, it's going to take all of society, including parents and educators, tech leaders, legislators, everyone that created the safer environment for children.

Speaker 2:

Another kind of area is Washington's emphasis on morality and religion and the importance of instilling ethical values in our children, both offline and online, and teaching children about responsible online behavior, digital citizenship, ethical decision making. And then kind of the final key piece, i think, is going back to the initial point of political unity too, and realizing the big issues that are plaguing or soon to be plaguing our nation, and kind of understanding kind of the key components of what countless generations before us have done in prioritizing the health and well-being of the future scientists, the future doctors, the future astronauts, the future legislators, and kind of paving a way for putting aside kind of the red hat, the blue hat, and really just honing in together and putting together a clear path to protect and promote our nation's youth. So I'd probably focus on those main issues and kind of compare. It'd be interesting to get Washington's point of view on the issues that we're attacking today, but I definitely kind of draw those conclusions from the farewell.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. yeah, hopefully I don't think Washington would be in a lot of the social media spas. I would not want to see a Twitter spas between Jefferson and Hamilton, that's for sure. This could escalate really quickly if they were given those tools. First of all, thank you so much for coming onto the program and sharing about parent-pro-tech. I really like what you're doing because you are really serving as a key bridge between different stakeholders, because in this day and age and really just in general in politics, people can be so entrenched in their kind of their own viewpoints And people have the right to have their own perspective on things. but when you're able to help provide resources, when parents are now more aware of how school operates or maybe some of the things that they didn't know about their child when they were acting in school or such, these are really important elements that are, i think, in the shape of how social media is going to be viewed. Can you tell us how to find parent-pro-tech and what people can do to learn more about what you're doing?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so thank you everybody, and thank you again for having me on. Our website is wwwparent-pro-techcom, and that's P-R-O-T-E-C-H. We also post a lot of short form and some longer form content on our YouTube at Parent-Pro-Tech, and also on our website. We've got a spot where you can just sign up to be an ambassador, kind of just be in the loop on the major issues that we're battling, as we kind of try to expand our presence and our voice in DC and state capitals all across the country.

Speaker 1:

Sounds good, man. Well, Brock, once again, I appreciate you being on to the program and all the best to you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you all so much for listening to this episode with Brock Murphy. I hope you enjoyed our conversation. Check out the sources down in the show notes below to learn more about Preparent-Pro-Tech. Enjoy the Independence Day holiday weekend and remember a day in America is always better when we are with our friends and fellow citizens. Thank you.

Navigating Technology Safely With Parent ProTech
Social Media Accountability and Regulation
Online Safety and Accountability
Protecting Kids Online
Protecting Children on Social Media Platforms