How To Talk to Your Kids About the Dangers of Social Media With Officer David Gomez

Officer David Gomez

Officer David Gomez is a Police Officer for the Boise County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho City, Idaho and a School Resource Officer at Idaho City High School. He has a background in electronics engineering, which he integrates in schools to educate parents on the dangers of social media. Officer Gomez also educates parents on how predators attempt to contact and entice kids into meeting or sending compromising photos.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Why Officer David Gomez pivoted from electronics engineering to law enforcement to parent resource
  • The importance of instilling family values in children
  • What all parents need to understand about their kids in the digital age
  • Officer Gomez explains why your kid having a phone during a school shooting presents a risk
  • Teaching your teenagers how to detect the dangers of social media while respecting their space
  • Is taking away your child’s phone and social media privileges counterintuitive?
  • Recommended tools for parents to monitor predatorial conversations
  • Officer Gomez shares his best practice for managing kids’ online safety

In this episode…

In the early days of social networking, when notable platforms such as MySpace and Facebook were introduced, it was a tool for reconnecting friends and family. As these platforms and other social media outlets exploded in popularity, they also became a forum for predators to prey upon children

Though parents can utilize the security controls on their kids’ phones, Officer David Gomez, a school resource officer, warns parents to use more precautions. As a resource officer, he’s been able to build relationships with students and monitor their careless social media behaviors. To educate parents on navigating the temptations teenagers face, he created a Facebook page that now garners nearly 200,000 followers. On his platform, Officer Gomez recommends topics of conversation, alternative phone options, and methods for reducing childrens’ screen time.

In this episode of the She Said Privacy/He Said Security Podcast, Jodi and Justin Daniels welcome Officer David Gomez, Idaho City School Resource Officer, to discuss the dangers social media poses for children. Officer Gomez shares tips on how parents can monitor their children’s social media accounts, the importance of instilling family values, and giving your children the tools to protect themselves from potential predators.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Red Clover Advisors.

Red Clover Advisors uses data privacy to transform the way that companies do business together and create a future where there is greater trust between companies and consumers.

Founded by Jodi Daniels, Red Clover Advisors helps companies to comply with data privacy laws and establish customer trust so that they can grow and nurture integrity. They work with companies in a variety of fields, including technology, e-commerce, professional services, and digital media.

To learn more, and to check out their Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Data Reimagined: Building Trust One Byte At a Time, visit www.redcloveradvisors.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01  

Welcome to the She Said Privacy/He Said Security Podcast. Like any good marriage we will debate, evaluate, and sometimes quarrel about how privacy and security impact business in the 21st century.

Jodi Daniels  0:22  

Hi, Jodi Daniels here. I’m the Founder and CEO of Red Clover Advisors, a certified women’s privacy consultancy. I’m a privacy consultant and Certified Information Privacy professional, providing practical privacy advice to overwhelmed companies.

Justin Daniels  0:37  

Hello, Justin Daniels here. I am a corporate M&A and tech transactions partner at the law firm Baker Donelson. I am passionate about helping companies solve complex cyber and privacy challenges during the lifecycle of their business. I am the cyber quarterback, helping clients design and implement cyber plans as well as help them manage and recover from data breaches. And this episode is brought to you by…

Jodi Daniels  1:07  

Red Clover Advisors. We help companies to comply with data privacy laws and established customer trust so that they can grow and nurture integrity. We work with companies in a variety of fields, including technology, e-commerce, professional services, and digital media. In short, we use data privacy to transform the way companies do business. Together, we’re creating a future where there is greater trust between companies and consumers to learn more and to check out our new best selling book Data Reimagined: Building Trust One Byte At a Time, visit RedCloverAdvisors.com. We have a special special episode today.

Justin Daniels  1:44  

Yes, it’s today’s Monday. How often do we record on

Jodi Daniels  1:47  

not very often only special people come on Monday. I see.

Justin Daniels  1:51  

A special topic today. But I guess for our listeners, today’s episode is a really important one for Jodi and I because our podcast really wants to promote public service in that we really want to have guests on who can educate our audience about how to keep your children safe online and with their iPhone and other things like that, because Jodi and I as parents grapple with these issues every day, and there’s no easy solution, and they’re really complex and challenging. And so with that, Jodi, do you want to introduce our guest?

Jodi Daniels  2:26  

today? I do. We have a very special guest we have Officer Gomez, who works for the Boise County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho City, Idaho. He currently works as the school resource officer at Idaho City High School. He uses his background in electronics engineering together with his experience in schools to educate parents on the dangers and effects of social media on our kids. Officer Gomez teaches parents on bullying sexting cell phone applications, and so much more. Everyone needs to grab a pen and paper and your listening ears as we dive in to everything that we need to know. And be sure to also follow officer Gomez on your app for Facebook. And I’m sure throughout the episode, we’ll talk about more where you can get information. He has a wealth of knowledge and we’re so excited to have you here. Every parent Facebook group I am in always references follow Officer Gomez. And so I’m truly delighted to have you here with us today.

Officer David Gomez  3:26  

Thanks for having me. And I’m glad to be here.

Jodi Daniels  3:30  

So I have to start with how did you get here? But you know, how did your background from electronics engineering morph into this incredible expert in digital safety.

Officer David Gomez  3:48  

So digital safety, digital awareness, digital citizenship, all those apply there. So as from an engineer, I saw a job ad in 2009 for a police department that was hiring and I just on a whim, hey, I’m gonna change my life. I became a police officer, of which I was just regular nighttime patrol for three years. Then I became a school resource officer. In 2011-2012, I became a resource officer and started walking the halls of schools and what I noticed is that everything was on social media and whether it’s bullying, drugs, you know, abuse, neglect, suicidal to everything was on social media. So I needed to learn social media in order to understand the kids I was working with, um, through some fake accounts. And so a lot of talking to kids. I learned their language, I learned what was important to them. I learned to see what they were seeing. I could stop fights before they were happening. I became one of the best people finding runaways through using my fake accounts. And then I started arresting predators who are coming to my community to have sex with 13 year old kids. So as I started getting all this information, I just started giving little parent nights I started teaching kids and You know, 12 years later, here I am teaching a lot of kids teaching parents teaching law enforcement. And through my Facebook page, I learn as much as I give out. So as you know, even though I give out a lot of information, I get lots of private messages or comments, where I learned a great deal of information, and try and parse that information and give people what’s important.

Justin Daniels  5:21  

So, Officer Gomez to kind of begin our conversation. I know Jodi and I, as parents have two young daughters. You know, we think we understand our kids on one level, but we don’t see them in school everyday like you see these kids. And so I’d love to just get your perspective on what do you think parents misunderstand the most about their kids in this current digital age.

Officer David Gomez  5:46  

Parents don’t understand that kids are fully engulfed in the digital social media age. As soon as they get a smartphone, even before they get a smartphone, they’re huddled around other people’s phones. But at school, it becomes everything becomes about social media, you know, how many likes how many shares, you know, who likes this person who’s going to fight this, everything becomes about social media. Parents don’t understand that there are million predators just waiting for parents to give their kids cell phones. Like as soon as you give your kid a cell phone, bing, bing, bing, you, you hook them up to millions of people whose main goal in life is to groom and pray on your, on your children. And parents think that their parental authority, or parental values is going to overcome this and it is definitely not.

Jodi Daniels  6:34  

When a parent who gives the child a cellphone, they may or may not give them access to a social media account? Can you share a little bit based on your experience? Do the kids who don’t have social media accounts? Are they still at risk? Are they still exposed to these types of things versus, you know, the kids who really early on have social media accounts? And the follow on question to that is, is there an age that you think is appropriate for a social media account?

Officer David Gomez  7:05  

Alright, so first of all, I would say appropriate for social media. There’s the requirement by the FCC of 13 years old, which a lot of people don’t abide by, I would argue that 16 is a way better age because you’ve gotten past as a very much, kids are very vulnerable between you 12, and 15. So 16, when you start driving is better best is 18. Because then at least you’ve given your kid a chance at outdoor stuff at other things at seeing the world opportunities, right where I see parents, were one year, I have a sixth grader who’s bringing a guitar or ukulele to school all the time. As soon as they get a phone that stops. They stopped drawing, they stopped music, they stopped sports, they stopped everything. As soon as they get their digital, their social media, and parents that give a kid a phone without social media. The kids are still involved in social media, but a lot of times those come with conversations of why are you not getting social media like all the other kids. And it’s those conversations that are more important than actually not giving the social media as Okay, here, I’m giving you this cell phone, this is so you can contact us this is so this, this and this. I’m not giving you social media, because I care about you. I’m your parent, I care about your safety. And there’s gonna be time for social media later. But here we go. So I do like, and I understand parents do want to know where their kids are at. There’s lots of safety reasons. There’s lots of other reasons for kids to have communication with parents, but not for them to have social media. That makes sense.

Justin Daniels  8:40  

That was the thing I wanted to ask you Officer Gomez, we tried to wait longer to give our child a phone. And the way that we decided we had to do it was when she started going to sports and other recreation from a safety perspective. And I guess the thing I want to ask you about just being candid with our audience is it is hard as a parent to to look at the things that are going on in schools with school shootings and all these other things. And how do you not want your child to have a phone in some way to communicate if God forbid, there’s some type of situation but you make a great point of what is that kid doing? Who doesn’t have social media? Isn’t she he or she who doesn’t have it feeling pressure from their friends to hey, why don’t you have social media? What’s wrong with you? And that’s a way of feeling like you don’t fit in which has its own set of issues.

Officer David Gomez  9:30  

Yes, and not only do the kids feel pressure, but the parents feel pressure as well. Right? It’s hard to be happier parent. Hey, my kid is the only kid in fifth grade without Snapchat. It is a pressure and it’s a peer pressure just like everything else and it’s hard for parents not to give in. The school issue always comes up. Hey, if there’s a school shooting, now I study school shootings. I do lockdowns at the school. And I can tell you that the phone in an actual school shooting is actually more dangerous to have than anything else because you have kids who are crying and calling their parents and their parents, you know, when you hear your kid crying, it’s it’s horrible event. Now you want to come to the school come through police lines and put yourself in more danger put the kids in danger. While at the same time kids need to be quiet while there’s an active event going on. And they can’t be quiet if everybody’s trying to text and you hear being in phones and all kinds of things that are happening at the school. That being said, it’s still a strong, I need to know what my kid is doing. So watches that give out your location, they give out information, you can have safe bones that give out minimal information. But the full on phone with no restricted access at school is a terrible idea. And it really restricts education, as well as causes some safety issues. For a lot of other reasons. I tell parents, hey, look, you’re introducing a host of safety issues to combat one not likely to happen issue.

Jodi Daniels  10:58  

We were both excited to say something the same time.

Justin Daniels  11:00  

I defer to my lovely cohost.

Jodi Daniels  11:02  

Oh, isn’t that so nice? You know, I think we kind of keep diving into some of the tactics. You mentioned, also family values. And in several of your posts, you talk a lot about setting family values. Can you share more about why that is so important in today’s social media age, and maybe how parents could get started doing that.

Officer David Gomez  11:27  

So in my experience, kids are very malleable to outside influences. They’re very malleable to parenting. Parents just have to be there to show your parenting skills to set an example of what your family values are. If you don’t do this, then what they do is they pick this up from all their friends and all of social media. So then, when I encounter kids in 10th 11th grade, and they’re having a really hard time with boyfriends, girlfriends, school, jobs, whatever, I ask them, Hey, what are your family values. And if you don’t have a strong set of family values, you are going to fall prey to or fall victim to whatever comes your way. And for one example, I had a young lady come into my office crying that she all she got was poor boyfriends, you know, that just were they were poor choices, not that they were poor, poor choice of boyfriends, who you know, it didn’t work out and it was horrible. And I said, Hey, what are you worth? And she didn’t know. I mean, she had no idea what the question meant. And I’m like, if you don’t know what your worth, and nobody else can figure out your worth either. But you’ve got to stand for something. And what I find is when I ask kids what their values are, they refer back to social media, hey, I have three viral videos. I believe in abortion, I don’t believe in CRM, whatever the hot topic, you know, propaganda from social media and news stations. That’s what kids ended up being worth. And that’s not worth anything. So then they what ends up happening is kids end up being worth their body parts. And if you’re a boy, you end up being worth whatever violence you can cause on somebody or whatever things you video games, you can play, whatever thing you can do to garner the most likes on social media is what you’re worth. And that’s a terrible thing to be worth.

Jodi Daniels  13:10  

As a very interesting perspective, I hadn’t thought of that before. Great. So as we learn more

Justin Daniels  13:20  

with your work in high school, so, you know, as kids get older, their friend group becomes more and more important, be it in school or maybe on social media. So I’d love to get your thoughts about how do parents straddle the line between kids have to live and learn life and have experiences that, you know, your parents aren’t necessarily a part of, but on the other hand, you know, we want to be able to monitor them for signs of trouble given how quickly kids grow up with Tik Tok and Snapchat and just, you know, Officer Gomez to put a fine point on it. Our daughter came to us wanting to be on, you know, having Tik Tok and beyond there and was like you realize your mother and father and privacy and cybersecurity. So that idea is dead on arrival. But yet, again, she felt pressured because other people weren’t. But we’d love to, what do we do as parents? How do we straddle this line? That’s tough.

Officer David Gomez  14:15  

So this is where education at an early age starts kicking in, Hey, these are family values. This is what we believe in. And they are going to be a part of some kind of social media outreach no matter what, at some point. So you know, when they start turning 16, hey, these are the things that are okay. These are things that are not okay, this is what our family believes in. This is what they don’t believe in. Right? And then you have to have some candid conversations about what people are going to do on the other end on the receiving end. And so, for example, I call parents up and I say, Hey, your daughter’s naked photos being shared all over the school. You should come into the school so we can talk about it. And so then I talked to the parents was like, Hey, have you had a candid conversation about sending nude photos with Your daughter? And they say they have, but they have not. So I say, hey, when we go in there, do you give me permission to be very candid? I’ll tell you the kinds of comments or I’ll show you the conversations that you should be having. So here’s a 12, 13, 14, 15 year old girl who has sent out her nude photo. Now the whole school is going to share it for the rest of her high school career. But you have to have the conversations like, hey, daughter, or son, what do you think the stranger that gets ahold of this picture is going to do especially if they get this with your Facebook profile with your Instagram profile? They know where you go to school, they know where you work, right. And I talked to him very candidly, I said, Look, they are going to masturbate to your picture, they’re going to come to your work and see you and then go do that again. And it’s going to be shared with all kinds of creepers. Who might come to the school, you might bring kids, you might bring strangers to the school to put other kids in danger. But we have to have these candid conversations. Same thing with Okay, a girl puts a TikTok video. Let’s say the plank challenge the plank challenge is it started off as a cutesy thing, you do the plank, you know, you go from push up position to plank position to push up position to the beat of the music. Very innocent. Well, now if a girl wears a loose shirt, you see right down her shirt. Her likes go from 10 to 100,000. With one basically wearing a loose fitting shirt, so you look right down her shirt. Why are people saving that video? Why are they liking it? Why are 100,000 adult men liking this video, when they should be saying, hey, modesty, you need to have some privacy with your body, you should not be worth your body parts. So you need to teach early on and then as they get 15, 16, you got to let them go on their own. You’ve taught them what you’re going to teach them, you’re going to teach them very little from 16 to 18, you’re basically going to guide them, right, it should be like a dry test run, hey, let’s let’s flip our wings. Let’s see what you’re going to do. And let’s try and keep the mistakes small, they’re gonna make some mistakes. But let’s keep them small, let’s learn let’s show, let’s teach. Let’s set the example. And at some point, you do have to let them go. And it’s better that you start doing dry runs, rather than at 18. Here, push them out and you’re on your own.

Justin Daniels  17:13  

So Officer Gomez, it sounds like what you’re saying is, and I’ll just use Jodi and I’s example for our listeners. So we have a one of our kids is 12, 13. And we’ve had conversations about why you don’t do some of these things. So is it really sitting down with your child and I guess having some uncomfortable conversations that when Jodi and I grew up, I didn’t think about as much at this age, but it sounds like with social media, we might have to get an sit down with our child one night not gonna like it and think we’re being overly protective, crazy people and walk her through some of the scenarios like with the push ups with the pictures and say you understand if you do this, these are the consequences and why you can’t let your friends or whoever persuade you that this is somehow a good idea.

Officer David Gomez  18:02  

Yes, with the exception of not one time, a bunch of times. Yeah. Right. I always liken the conversation to texting and driving. When we have a local youth of any kind at any school where I’ve had, you get a local youth that dies of texting and driving, I go to the school that day, this texting and driving is bad, somebody died. Most of the kids are gonna go home at night, not text and drive. But what they see as soon as they get on the road is they see millions of adults who are texting and driving. So what message are they really getting is okay, it’s okay to text and drive. Officer Gomez is just one off and not wanting us to text and drive. Same thing they’re going to get from a parental conversation. Hey, if you have a parental conversation once about sex, and then they see on TikTok on on Instagram on Snapchat that hey, all these things are sexual. And they see it on television, right? What kind of television shows Can you watch without being sexualized? Not many. And the quote I always tell parents is kids are being sexualized by social media at NASCAR speeds while parents are having go-kart conversations. Well,

Justin Daniels  19:00  

one other thing I wanted to ask you on this kind of topic, what kind of behaviors to parents need to be modeling when it comes to social media and whatnot? Because you made a really good point about how the kids, Okay, you tell them and then they go home, they watch the road and the parents are texting or I’m sure you’ve been out to dinner and you see a family of four and everybody’s on their device not talking. What do we as parents should be thinking about and how we’re modeling behavior as it relates to phones and social media.

Officer David Gomez  19:29  

So exactly as you said, when you go to dinner, let’s put down the phones. And it should be this should be part of your family values. Pay at dinners we don’t have phones. On Sundays we have an hour you know a couple hours we’re we’re a family. We’re not going to have our phones distracting us. You model this and you model it with other families and you share it then kids are going to know hey look, this is important to my parents. When you here’s the big one is when you come upon a Facebook thing that you don’t agree with. You know, maybe state your opinion and move on with your life. Don’t let it eat you up, whereas I see lots of adults who go all in on some conversations that aren’t even that important, but they get so involved, guess what? You’re teaching your kid to be that same way? Right? How can you be offended by somebody around the world who you have nothing to do with? Yet you’ll go all in on a Facebook argument, well, kids are going to do the same thing. And they’re going to feel victimized by a stranger on a computer millions of miles away. That shouldn’t matter to them at all. It should be Hey, you know, I control my own thoughts and emotions. And I’m moving on. And that’s the question I ask kids all the time, who controls your thoughts and emotions? And they always say I do, I’d say, Well, you went home crying because somebody puts up on Facebook yesterday. Are you really controlling your thoughts and emotions? No.

Jodi Daniels  20:46  

That one, I mean, I don’t love that one. But it was a really good example. The the argument I get, and I see people comment all the time about parents is, from a social media perspective, they’ll control it, they’ll say, No, it’s has private settings, only certain friends are allowed in and they feel safer by that. And at the same time, you know, I know more, and I’d like for you to be able to share why is why is that not super safe? That’s still good. It’s great that you might have that control. But why is that not enough?

Officer David Gomez  21:19  

Alright, so kids spend, you know, 10-15 hours on their cell phones every day. Whether parents like it or not, that’s what happens. They are professionals at this, they share every hack and workaround there is for every platform there is so they can get around every parental monitoring. Some of the some of the phones that are specialty safe phones are way better at this, but kids still get around those. I helped monitor the Go Guardian system at our school for the Chromebooks. And I can tell you that I play Whack-a-Mole every day. We lock it down, the kids get around it by hundreds of ways. So you are not going to make your kid or you are not going to put any kind of software on your phone, that’s going to make it safe for your kid. Now, that being said, I still highly advise you put that software on your kids phone, because it shows your kid that that’s important to you. Right, it’s okay. This is important to my parents, even if I’m kind of going around it because I’m addicted to screen time. I still know it’s important parents, along with conversations weekly, daily. Talk to kids, I always use headlines Hey, this kid got in trouble. Why do you think they got in trouble? What went wrong? Right now boys sending their penis pictures to good looking girls that contact them. Every kid thinks they’re not going to fall per victim to some stranger sending them a nudie picture and then sending one back. But yet thousands of kids are falling for it. Why is that you have those conversations with your kids. You cannot put any kind of software on a regular cell phone that’s going to make it safe. The kids have find a workaround all the time. So people don’t understand what that means. For example, if you tell your kids phone to go to sleep at nine o’clock and not wake up till seven, and you feel pretty comfortable with that you let them have it in their room. Number one, they are going to change the timezone on it all night long until morning time. Number two, they can use it at a hotspot even if it’s locked down. They have a secondary device, they hotspot through their phone, which to say you know, all this monitoring software has gone. Number three, if it’s like Android, they can start in Safe Mode and bypass everything. And parents have no idea. And that’s just three of hundreds and hundreds of ways for kids to get around. The monitoring software.

Jodi Daniels  23:36  

And technology change clearly we should just hire all the kids.

Justin Daniels  23:40  

I don’t know if I laugh or I should go downstairs. And finally

Jodi Daniels  23:43  

I told you I was very excited and very nervous about this episode because they knew we were going to learn some very uncomfortable truth. No, I

Justin Daniels  23:52  

think I’ve already heard some things that you and I will have to discuss about changes we need to make. But Officer Gomez in preparing for our conversation. I read a bunch of the Facebook posts and you posted a particular one that I wanted to talk about where it was you posted a note from a kid that says, well, taking away what I love doesn’t motivate me It leaves me feeling powerless and quo.

The question is, how does a parent navigate this reaction? And also trying to set boundaries with phones or bedtimes that kids don’t like or want as you just pointed out? What doJodi

Officer David Gomez  24:27  

and I do? So that is a quote you hear a lot with kids trying to control their parents. They use that one and the second one is if I don’t have my cell phone friends, I will kill myself. Right and kids if you get this reaction that’s like you know, you need to move up to DEFCON four as far as we need to give our kids some other things to be worth than just their cell phone. fortnight is another one right? If a kid’s kid says hey look, the only thing I like in my life is playing fortnight with my friends. That’s it. I don’t like anything else. This is is your message to parents, we need to get out and do some other things, we need to go meet other kids, we need to go do some outside activities we need to do to go to church youth group, we need to put them in softball. A great activity family building, pick a sports team, get some swag and root for them as a family. It doesn’t matter what it is, doesn’t matter what level and then you can fight other families. Hey, we’d like to invite you over, you know, Seahawks are playing the Chargers. We’re Seahawks fans, you can be whoever you want. But we do no cell phones, we’re out of good food. Well, good conversation, come on over. That’s how you start family building, and you start community building as well. But that’s definitely something you should be consider, hey, is my kid really thinking that they are only worth their social media friends? Is my kid really thinking that their cell phone has everything they have to live for?

Jodi Daniels  25:51  

You shared about how early on you created some fake accounts? And then how predators are really good at finding these kinds of kids. One, can you share a little bit about how they’re really good? Again, if you kind of think about the idea of it being some type of private network? How do they penetrate through that? And then what can parents do? How can they try in either monitor their devices look water, or teach the kids clues that this is a fake account or a bad person?

Officer David Gomez  26:23  

Yes, so when I started arresting actual predators who were coming to meet me at parks, again, they were actually going to have sex with people. When I look at all their information I get, I get subpoenas for their Facebook accounts for the Roblox accounts. And I see 60 year olds who make a Roblox account of an eight year old to specifically target a seven year old, they’re just a little bit older. And then the first thing they do is they make an emotional connection. So they start talking to the kid. And then I’m like, they say, Hey, I’m really sad, my grandma died. And then the kid says, Oh, I’m so sorry, your grandma died. So then they start an emotional connection. So they get the emotional connection going, then pretty soon they say, Hey, your parents don’t understand you like I do. You’re super special, your this that now they’re whatever they use, they develop an emotional connection first, then they start basically alienating them from their families. And creating a false reality that the kid doesn’t know this is this is, this is what they see. And if this predator is spending more time with your kids than you are, that’s a problem. Right? So when I tell parents, hey, look at the battery used for yesterday on your kid’s phone, and it’s 12 hours. Okay? Did you spend 12 hours with your kids yesterday, probably not. That’s how much time they are getting values from a third party source, which isn’t parents. So we got to have some family time in there to teach what’s important to you guys, or else, they’re gonna get it from strangers who have a totally different agenda.

Justin Daniels  27:51  

I guess it’s not only family time, but it’s got to be family time, that’s specifically away from the electronics where the parents put down the phone too, because I know I’m a … I work. When you work, and you have customers that expect quick responses, there’s, what you’re saying is, these are the consequences. And as parents, either we set boundaries, or we’re gonna have some really significant consequences, because our children see that

Jodi Daniels  28:21  

and are there any of the tools out there that you might recommend or other ways of how parents could monitor or review or try and catch some of those kinds of conversations so that they don’t have a child go and fall for it and meet someone in a park when it’s actually real person and not an officer?

Officer David Gomez  28:45  

So I really liked the specialty phones. And I said, Can I say what they are? Sure, yeah, so you have Gabb Wireless, Bark Phone, Troomi, Light Phone, Pinwheel. Those are all far safer than a regular phone. I know a lot of parents think that they are smart enough to make a regular phone like those phones, but they are not. As far as catching a kid, conversing, there’s no way that you can see everything they’re doing or see everybody there talk to you, you’re not going to catch it. So you’re going to have to set your kid up to figure this out on their own. Same thing with crossing the road. Can you monitor your kid on every road? They’re gonna cross? No. But you can reinforce every time you’re out with your kid to look both ways when they’re crossing the road. You see something they take a few steps back and wait. Right? So you teach your kid to cross the road. You teach your kid to recognize predators and predatory behavior and tell them hey, look, save your friends as well. I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve had contact me, whether it be in my office or on social media and say a friend of theirs is in trouble. They recognize it because of this, this and this, and I’m able to save a kid from going down a crazy path

Jodi Daniels  30:01  

Are there any of those? You had just kind of mentioned how that one child was able to recognize some signs? Are there any common signs that might be helpful for a parent to be able to communicate to their child.

Officer David Gomez  30:15  

So when you see a big change in your kids, now teenagers change a lot anyways, right? That’s quite normal. But if you see some extraordinary like, hey, you know, they took a deep dive off the edge in grades or attitude or hygiene or sleep, then it’s time to start looking at looking into further using your parental detective skills to kind of figure out what’s wrong with your child start having conversations, right in our house, when we take in a lot of high risk teens, we call them bonus gifts, or just drop offs. And we have tribal council every Friday night, but any family member can call a tribal council any night. And that’s where we sit in the living room, we all face each other, we have great conversations. And friends are always invited into that circle of conversations, because they’re conversations that are good for everybody. And a lot of times we do have friends that come in on very awkward conversations, but they’re good for everybody, because then they know how to communicate with others. Right. And when you’re talking about sex, it is very uncomfortable at first, but the more you have it, the better you get at it. And the more of those conversations you have, then your child can then have those conversations with their partners, before they have sex or before they do something that’s going to get out of control.

Justin Daniels  31:22  

Thank you for sharing. So the root cause of this or whatnot, I guess, you know, screentime seems overall is having a real detrimental impact on kids. Jodi and I work in tech industries variety of them. Yet, the big tech business model is all about keeping people online all the time. And I’m sure you’ve been seeing that now. We’re talking about artificial intelligence, the latest technology, which seems to weaponize all this. We have congressional leaders who are all polarized and don’t really think about these issues. How do we change the cycle because the business model is they want these kids online looking at stuff all the time to sell them ads and other stuff. But at the same time, it’s also creating all the stuff we’ve just discussed in our conversation today. Well, what can we do as parents or people to change this vicious cycle,

Officer David Gomez  32:28  

outside activities and family activities. That’s it. So I live in a very rural area. And I have some families that still have no running water and no electricity, even with four feet of snow on the ground. But when I go out to some of these houses, some of them are homeschooled, and I go there and an outsider looking in would see it’s like, Hey, that’s a scary place, we should take their kids, we should put them in foster care because they’re not being cared for properly. But if you go up to the house, and you knock, and you talk to these kids, they’re dirty, they have mud under their fingernails, they have scrapes and bruises. But all that dirt and all the scrapes and bruises those are all adventurers and outside things that they’re using their imagination for they know how to camp, they know how to fish, they know how to talk to each other, they know how to enjoy life. So when they get to be 18 and 20. And somebody says something they don’t like on Facebook, like that’s not their life, that’s just a small part. Whereas right now, social media is becoming everything to kids so that when somebody does say something or they post something that nobody likes, they melt down. And we see this in adults. Everyday we see this in news agencies, we see this where you have adults who everything their worth is on social media. And one little thing, melt them down to nothing. Whereas my kids that grow up with no social media till they’re 18. And beyond that, they realize that screen time is just a small bit of what they do in their life. They can go motorcycling, they can go hiking, they can go canoeing, they can go boating, all these other things, real relationships, real connections are going to be what’s important. We’ve talked a

Jodi Daniels  34:01  

lot about family values conversation. And we always ask every guest what’s your best privacy or security tip, and we’ve talked a lot about those. What I would love is if you could share maybe one or two things we haven’t talked about yet that parents listening could do to try and help protect their kids who might live in a more urban area and their kids are going to be glued to their devices. Or at least as of now they’re glued until they listen to this episode.

Officer David Gomez  34:30  

So one of the biggest things is no electronics in bedrooms, no Xbox, no anything in bedrooms. And I know kids always talk parents and oh, I need that. The only alarm clock that works for me is my iPhone. Right? That’s what they try and sell it on. No devices and bedrooms because that just causes too much. There’s too much temptation there. Number two is people always ask me well, how do you know if somebody’s real or fake? And I said look, the only way you know is touching them on their shoulder. You can’t tell by a live, you can’t tell by how many friends you have in common. You have to touch them on their shoulder? Then that kind of number third that goes with that is 200 friends or list on any given platform. So Instagram, Facebook, whatever it is 200 friends or less. If you have more than 200 friends, people become anonymous. And they say things they wouldn’t say in real life. But also, if there’s a problem and you have 200 friends, it’s easy to track down. If you have 5,000 friends, it’s hard to track down. And I can track down a problem today. And I’ll have three more problems tomorrow, right? Because with 5,000 friends, no matter what you say, somebody’s going to be hurt and cause issues with it.

Jodi Daniels  35:32  

That’s an interesting number. I hadn’t thought of that before. Good number 200 friends, I like it.

Justin Daniels  35:42  

Right? Well,

Jodi Daniels  35:44  

What? You’re useless.

Justin Daniels  35:50  

I guess, Officer Gomez, when I hear the word friend, my definition of friend is someone that I can call in 3 a.m in the morning, they pick up my phone and they’re going to help me, I have four of those. I guess I just struggled sometimes as to what the definition of friend has become, to me, modified to a point where it’s meaningless. When we talk about 200 friends on Facebook, we’re really talking about acquaintances, because the people who are your friends, if you’re lucky in life, you get maybe four or five of those.

Jodi Daniels  36:20  

But if you’re a kid, you have all those classmates that may or may not be really good friends across multiple, think about if you do a sport, if you do any kind of extracurricular activity plus a couple different grades if you’re in a youth event of any kinds that 200 actually could add up really quick.

Officer David Gomez  36:38  

Okay. I agree that the friend it that’s a perfect thing for families to talk about, hey, what’s a friend? What’s an acquaintance? And I would I would argue that some of you got 5,000 friends, some of those aren’t even acquaintances, you don’t know them, they wouldn’t know you. You walk by each other on the street, they would have no idea, right? But I always tell the kids hey, look, my true friends, I will give them my bank card and the keys to my car and the keys to my house and not worry about it one little bit.

Jodi Daniels  37:07  

Fair point as are those are good examples. And you’re right, there’s different kinds of people.

Justin Daniels  37:13  

So, Officer, goodness, we’ve covered a lot of topics. But we always want to know, when you’re not helping families and kids and protect them in this online world. What do you like to do for fun?

Officer David Gomez  37:25  

So I do a lot of dirt biking and motorcycling with my wife. We do a lot of outdoors things, we actually very lucky, we only have WiFi within about a mile of our town and then you’re done. You don’t have cell service, you don’t have WiFi so it’s easy to get out of WiFi. So we like to do that we like to go do live music, we love to listen to live music. One of the things I do with kids, I do music with them, I know how to play ukulele, guitar and piano. And one of the local bars in town, anytime I want to bring a student they will clear the floor and give them an audience there of whoever’s there, they’ll put a tip jar out and they can all go play. And sometimes I’ll go play with them and enjoy music, drama, sports, some of the things that save some of the kids who have the hardest lives in my sphere of influence. So I was like schools to beef up their music program, their drama program and their sports programs. Because when kids have really hard home lives, they are able to escape using those things.

Jodi Daniels  38:25  

Big ars fan, over here. And it’s very frustrating. That might be an entire other conversation where we see so many arts programs cut they really are saving graces for people all over the world. Officer Gomez, if people would like to learn more, and continue to learn from you, where can they go.

Officer David Gomez  38:43  

So they can go to my Facebook page, which I think is Deputy Gomez or they can go to my YouTube which is Officer Gomez. I do have a little bit of Instagram, which is Officer Gomez all one word. If you type in Officer Gomez in a Google search of any kind, I should come up on my YouTube channel, I’ve been putting little bits and pieces of my classes that I give to kids and to parents so you can get just little pieces. You can watch it with your kids. And as soon as it’s done, you have the conversation. Hey, Officer Gomez talked about this. After Gomez talked about that. What do we think? Here’s what we think is a family. If you ask your kid too much, what do they think they’re gonna say? I don’t know. So you kind of got to lead that conversation a bit. Right? That’s

Jodi Daniels  39:21  

everything I don’t know. Well, thank you again for coming today to share these very important tips. I hope everyone listening grabbed your pen and paper and be sure to check out all those very informative channels. So thank you so very much.

Officer David Gomez  39:37  

Well, thanks for having me and let me know if I can ever be of assistance any other time.

Outro  39:46  

Thanks for listening to the She Said Privacy/He Said Security Podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes, and check us out on LinkedIn. See you next time.