This post may contain affiliate links.
If you buy something from one of the linked sites you won’t pay anything more, but I might make a commission.
Parents post about their kids online all the time, especially on Facebook and Instagram. But what are the long-term consequences of this for the kids? What happens when they become old enough to care?
Would you rather have a transcript of the episode? There’s one at the bottom of the post!
On this week’s episode of the Parenting Bytes podcast we interview lawyer, author, and mother Leah Plunkett, who’s written the upcoming book Sharenthood: Why We Should Think Before We Talk About Our Kids Online.
When you’re a parent it can be difficult to separate yourself online from your kids, especially when they’re younger. You spend so much time and energy taking care of them that telling their story really just seems like telling your own. But where do you draw the line?
Our guest Leah Plunkett has written an entire book about exactly that, exploring the different ways in which we’re exposing our kids online, and how that data is being used.
Leah lives with her husband, kids, and dog in the micropolis of Concord, New Hampshire. Think Stars Hollow, but bigger and with presidential candidates chilling in the diner. She’s an everyday runner, an around-the-clock Earl Grey tea drinker, and an enthusiastic but mediocre vegetable gardener.
Leah went to Harvard Law School and became a lawyer so she could work with kids, parents, and communities on law and the ordinary—those things in our daily lives at the heart of who we are and who we aspire to be. Our families and personal relationships. Our privacy and individual freedoms. Our schools. Our use of digital technologies and how that is changing everything in our world today and tomorrow.
When Leah’s not coaxing her kale to grow, she’s an associate dean & associate professor at University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. She also directs UNH Law’s Academic Success program. Down in the metropolis of Cambridge, Massachusetts, she’s a faculty associate with the Youth & Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
This Week’s Links
Interview with Leah Plunkett (00:01:22)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
On YouTube’s Digital Playground, an Open Gate for Pedophiles, by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub — The New York Times
The saga of a YouTube family who pulled disturbing pranks on their own kids, by Abby Ohlheiser — The Washington Post
Schools Are Deploying Massive Digital Surveillance Systems. The Results Are Alarming; by Benjamin Herold — Education Week
Bytes of the Week (00:26:49)
Have you subscribed to our podcast? Never miss an episode! If you’re already a subscriber, we’d really appreciate a rating and review.
Are you following us on Facebook? It’s a great way to see what we’re reading (including articles that might show up in future episodes), ask us questions, and give us feedback.
Rebecca: [00:00:10] Hi welcome to Parenting Bytes. This is Rebecca Levey of KidzVuz. I’m here today with Amy Oztan of Amy Ever After.
Amy: [00:00:17] Hi.
Rebecca: [00:00:18] Hello! And Andrea Smith, our Technology Guru Extraordinaire!
Andrea: [00:00:22] Hello.
Rebecca: [00:00:24] Back from her fabulous cruise.
Andrea: [00:00:25] Yes.
Rebecca: [00:00:27] We’re getting to hear all about it…Today on the show I feel like we’ve touched on the topic before but we’ve never had such a wonderful guest talk about it. We’re gonna be talking about quote unquote sharenting, which is parents sharing way too much about their children online and especially the myths to try and teach our children not to do that. But she has an upcoming book called Sharenthood. Her name is Leah Plunkett. She is an associate professor at U.N.H. School of Law and associate dean. She’s just really smart and really insightful and takes a much wider view of this. She is also a mom so she comes at this from both a mom point of view and not just as an intellectual and academic. So we will have Leah on the show to delve into this and then we will have our Bytes of the Week.
Interview with Leah Plunkett
Rebecca: [00:01:22] So we are joined today by Leah Plunkett. She is associate professor and associate dean at the U.N.H. School of Law. That’s University of New Hampshire for those of you who don’t know the lingo and she is a member of the youth and media team at the Berkman Center at Harvard. She is the author of the upcoming book Sharenthood which is due out September 10th. And we were really excited to get an advance copy and start diving in. Leah I should tell you before we even jump into this that Amy and I, Amy is still a blogger. I was a blogger. We were bloggers before they called us mom bloggers and then we somehow became mom bloggers by default. So we have a little bit of firsthand experience with the ugly side of this.
Amy: [00:02:04] Mmm-hmm.
Rebecca: [00:02:04] But let’s jump right in and we are so excited to have you on the show today. This is a topic that started with mom blogging and then now has expanded to every single person who just is a parent in the world.
Leah: [00:02:20] Absolutely.
Rebecca: [00:02:21] So I wanted to start a little bit with how you got interested in this topic and if you know you’ve seen this growing around you and your own circles or how this became your, your interest.
Leah: [00:02:33] Thank you so much. I became interested in two ways simultaneously as I think is true for many many moms I should say maybe many parents. I have been working on career interests and raising two kids at the same time. And so like the eagle arms pose and yoga those two things kind of started to wrap around each other and gave rise to the book. My kids are now four and eight and a half. So I live in a world where my social media feed is full of toilet training temper tantrums and celebratory first moments. And I love to talk about my kids. I love to connect with other parents and so I started to wonder just as a parent trying to provide great nurture in a time when the world has an increasingly digital nature what I should be thinking about when I go to talk about my kids online and at the same time I’ve been fortunate to be a researcher with the Interdisciplinary Youth and Media Team that has that has a focus on how youth themselves, so kids roughly 12 to 18, engage digital technologies. And through my research there as I bring the law to the table, but I’m fortunate to work with technologists, psychologists and others, I became interested in how we as parents teachers coaches grandparents and other trusted adults are navigating the digital world on behalf of our kids.
Rebecca: [00:04:10] So when you started the book first of all it’s such a great name.
Leah: [00:04:15] Thank you.
Rebecca: [00:04:15] It’s a great pun. But I think that for many people if they’re not you know monetizing their children like maybe bloggers did or have or are that there’s there’s nothing wrong with sharing these moments because there is a sense that there is no boundary between your kids’ life and your own life particularly when they’re young. So parents don’t even really see it as sharing their child’s life. They see to sharing their own life, and it happens to be their child is sort of the star of that narrative for that post.
Leah: [00:04:51] I think that is a 100 percent accurate characterization of how most of us approach our digital engagement about our kids. It’s the way I have certainly at times approached mine and I think it’s extremely valid especially in those early years where look you know you’re you’re pregnant you’re breastfeeding or you’re not breastfeeding but you’re still up every two hours to give a bottle. They’re really essentially is not a boundary between your life or even your body and and your kids. And so I think that that orientation is true of our experience. It’s also the way that the legal system really looks at it which is when it comes to minors unless a parent is doing something that is criminal which almost none of us are then it’s up to us. And so both our experiences and the legal framework around them absolutely support the idea that we are just talking about our own lives our own frustrations with getting kids to go the F to sleep or our own celebrations when they graduate from kindergarten and it’s about us not about them.
Rebecca: [00:06:04] It’s so hard. You know one of the things I love is your very early on in the book your introduction where you talk about Tom Sawyer and that if he were you know a real boy today he could never have gotten away with the thing he does in the very first chapter of the book and that Aunt Polly would probably be posting about it on Facebook and probably get him in even more trouble and you would go beyond would be like the viral thing on everyone’s evening news that day all of his escapades. And it brings up a really interesting point which is that kids can’t even do anything under the table or in secret or just be stupid without it being broadcast. And sometimes it’s by them because they’re kids and they’re not any better. But a lot of times it’s the parent.
Leah: [00:06:56] Absolutely. If Tom Sawyer were a real boy around today he would be out of luck. He would wind up being taken into custody by police within the first chapter of the book. And the more that the police and the rest of the adult world look at him the more trouble he’d get into. This was something I routinely saw. I’m a former legal aid lawyer. I founded a program that still exists at New Hampshire Legal Assistance called the Youth Law Project and so I worked with the quote unquote bad kids although they were all awesome. But the good and go bad kids who were getting into trouble at school or getting arrested downtown and I worked with them and their families because most of them really needed proper special education plans or better psychiatric treatment. But one thing I saw time and time again is that when the adult gaze particularly the adult gaze of law enforcement starts to look closely at what kids and teenagers are up to the kids and teenagers act worse. And inevitably we find something else to be upset about.
In your own Facebook feed
Rebecca: [00:08:03] So when you see -I mean- What is it like in your own personal life when you see parents sharing things on your Facebook feed or your Instagram and you know them. Have you ever felt like you wanted to respond and say you know privately to them “Maybe that’s not something you should be putting up” or “How does your kid feel about this” or do or how do you even approach that with other parents in your circle.
Leah: [00:08:28] Wonderful question. And to be honest I really haven’t. And I haven’t for a few reasons. One is that while I am I think an under-sharenter compared to the norms I certainly have engaged in it myself and so I believe in a bit of a people in glass houses approach and so I really do see this as being something we’re all trying to figure out together. And so I have never felt comfortable and I should say I have never seen anything where I would sort of overcome the social awkwardness around reaching out if I ever saw anything where I was like that is really the worst idea ever. I would overcome sort of this social ambivalence and say privately look, you know you could get your kid in real trouble, but I haven’t. I’m not seeing that level when I open my own social media feed and I haven’t wanted to engage from a place of, here is what anyone else should do. I’ve wanted to engage in writing the book from a place of we are all trying to figure this out together. And so for those people who are interested in having a conversation with me about it and that could be a conversation like we’re having now or a conversation that is engendered by reading the book when it comes out and you know coming to a bookstore to talk to me about it I am so excited to have those conversations but I haven’t wanted to insert myself into other people’s choices unless they wanted to engage. If that makes sense.
Rebecca: [00:10:01] No it does.
Andrea: [00:10:03] So not to sound judgy at all but that makes perfect sense. But what I’m finding so interesting is how parents you know when their kids are young they’re like oh I’m never going to share I’m never gonna put my my kids’ pictures out there in their private life. And then as the kids get older I feel like they just start sharing more and more. There’s a well-known person I follow on social media. I can’t tell you how many pictures there are of her pre-teen daughter. “Look how grown up my daughter is now” and I just kind of think that’s creepy.
Don’t “Lolita” your own kids
Leah: [00:10:39] I think it is too. And it’s- I do I really do. And so I think though it becomes a question of how do we have that conversation with the folks who are engaging in behaviors that really kind of are creepy. And even if those behaviors are well-intentioned, right, even if they’re coming from a place of pride or excitement or a desire to connect because you’re feeling insecure unsure about something how do you start having that conversation in a way that doesn’t just shut it down before it starts. And I’m hoping that the kind of conversation we’re having now and the others that I’m having around the book will be a positive force for enough of us starting to say to one another like look, that’s kind of creepy. Maybe you should kind of lay off the Lolita-esque…Right? Because even if it’s not overtly sort of creating images that cross boundaries we know from things as recent as the big revelation from research that the New York Times focused on last week. Right. That YouTube’s algorithms were pushing people who were viewing otherwise innocent video footage of kids toward more and more sexualized or inappropriate content. That when you put an image out there through a digital technology you don’t have control over how it’s going to be used or where it’s going to wind up. And I do think that’s creepy and I think since the tech companies are not protecting our kids, the lawmakers are taking a while to figure it out, it really is up to all of us as parents grandparents teachers coaches and other trusted adults to be having these conversations about when it’s actually creepy.
Andrea: [00:12:31] Oh I think you just nailed it. I mean it’s about protecting kids. Right. It’s about if you’re not going to protect your own kids who’s going to.
Leah: [00:12:40] That’s right. And what we’re seeing is that while there have been meaningful efforts toward digital data privacy reform they’re not comprehensive legal reforms yet and they are actually not really going to touch the main ones that are pending or the ones that have happened at the state level in recent years, they’re not really going to touch what we as parents do because the law gives us this almost super protection for our choices about whether when and how to parent. And I do think that’s a good thing. I’m not trying to advocate for a setup where we let the government or some sort of outside party come in and say you know here’s what you need to do to be a good parent. But I am not advocating for our sharing our collective wisdom and experience and intuition as parents and as grown ups to really kind of embrace our inner adult if you will and stop giving into the inner child that just wants the dopamine hit of the likes to sort of say gosh, I would have been really ticked off if my mom had posted a picture of me in my swimsuit when I was 10 and the guy I had a crush on when I was 14 found it. Like I would have been pissed about that, pardon my language. And I think our kids are going to be too. And the older ones already are.
Amy: [00:14:09] And- but on the other side of it I feel constrained. You know, it’s like, you came out of me and I can’t put this picture of you online?
Leah: [00:14:16] Totally.
Andrea: [00:14:18] I don’t know. I just find it odd. I mean you know people who used to talk about oh this is crazy, parents shouldn’t be doing that. And then they have the baby and honestly their Instagram feed is literally five pictures a day of their kid, like nothing else. But I just feel like you know the whole tide turns and and especially as they get older more and more pictures that I kind of find you know at some point this kid is not going to be happy about this.
Leah: [00:14:46] That is certainly true.
What happens when kids get older
Amy: [00:14:48] Yeah I mean I went through it when my kids, who are now 17 and 15, got to middle school. Each of them went through a phase where they wanted me to take absolutely everything off of my blog and off of Facebook and anywhere online that had a picture or even a mention of them, and videos especially. And I’m- of course I worked with my childre and you know did something that made them comfortable while still you know not erasing them for my life. But legally do kids have any recourse? Like if a kid says, you know, “I don’t want colleges seeing these things, I don’t want my friends seeing these things.” Is there anything that the child can do if the parent won’t stop?
Leah: [00:15:34] No.
Amy: [00:15:34] Huh.
Leah: [00:15:34] I mean unless the parent is doing something–and this is incredibly rare and I’m confident you were not doing it–unless the parent is doing something that is somehow violating criminal law like child porn or doing something that amounts to some sort of child welfare endangerment, so abuse or neglect, and we do see those stories in the media every so often. The Washington Post covered pretty extensively a few years ago this YouTube channel called DaddyOFive. That was one of these right. Supposed kind of prank channels but really there was one child in particular a boy named Cody who was just getting harassed by his parents in a way that prompted viewers to take action and contact Child Protective Services and say this is not okay. And the state did intervene and the parents did have to go to court and the YouTube channel was taken down. But unless you’re talking about really horrific behavior then children don’t have a legal recourse. And this goes back to your insightful and completely accurate assessment earlier on in our conversation about the fact that the law would see this as we as parents talking about our own life, and the law also makes us gatekeepers in almost all circumstances of the kind of information that can go into the world about our kids. So at least under our current legal framework for a child to try to find a way either as a minor or once they’re an adult to bring a lawsuit against their parents in the United States, I don’t see that as having any legs.
Amy: [00:17:18] Now what if the picture, what if there are pictures that the parents see as totally innocent, but it’s something like you know a kid in a bathtub at an age long before you would think that that was any kind of sexual image. But now the kid may be a teenager and is very sensitive, but it’s still, there’s nothing they can do?
Leah: [00:17:38] It’s going to start getting in–and I apologize for the annoying law professor type answer but it’s actually the right one. You would start to get really in the weeds of the statutory law around what constitutes child pornography and what doesn’t. What you just described seems to me like it probably wouldn’t actually meet the legal definition of manufacturing and distributing child pornography because you’re not talking about an image that was sexualized. Now I think though that the devil is really in the details and certainly an image that started to cross the line and reveal body parts that even if they belong to your kids should not be on someone’s screen, then the child may have more ability to you know really make a referral to law enforcement, would probably be the likely path. And I will say too that all of these social media platforms do have their own standards for what counts as appropriate subject matter material for posting. They have their own decency standards, and so they ideally are looking at this themselves, though again as we just saw from YouTube, clearly not always doing a good job. I am not familiar with any sort of common easily accessible way though for a child to go a minor to go to a social media platform and say, “My parents, who are my guardians have legal and physical custody over me, have posted an image that is not illegal or criminal. Could you please social media company go into their account and take it down.” I have not seen that. If others are seeing that am I missing it.. Please let me know at Leah A. Plunkett at Twitter. But that is not something that at least I have been seeing happen in any sort of widespread way.
Sharing of data by schools
Rebecca: [00:19:41] Leah you know the other thing you bring up that I think is really interesting is we’re very focused right now and like pictures and videos cause that’s what we see parents sharing. But there’s this whole underbelly of data that’s being shared that maybe parents don’t even realize, you you talk about teachers you talk about this whole new wave of you know smart devices connected home the technology that’s going on in the schools. You, there’s- you call it a digital dossier that it’s not just parents but the teachers and educators, I mean all these people are developing about your child and you know sometimes I think we talk about kids and there’s all these laws about privacy and kids but it seems to me that the bigger issue is that there is not, there are no good privacy laws for all of us for as a people. You know, the privacy laws are so far behind the data collection that’s going on on all of us and so parents don’t have an understanding of what that means and what’s going on underneath in this underbelly. Nobody reads Terms of Service and these products being pushed into schools, parents are sort of opted in without even knowing, it’s like the district opts in. And that to me was a really interesting part of your book because there is this sort of like unwilling or unknowing sharenting going on. And that’s where I wonder if there is a place for parents to advocate for their kids, like not stuck in this mire of like I will share this photo I won’t share this photo. That’s your personal family dynamic I think that you have to work out with your children. But this larger question of how we as parents are allowing these huge entities to collect data on our kids you know maybe there’s space there for parents to be advocates rather than the whole sharenting piece.
Leah: [00:21:34] Absolutely and I think the phrase unwilling or unknowing sharenting is perfect because so much of what is happening is not something that we as parents are doing consciously or that we are necessarily even doing ourselves. Other individuals and entities are doing it for our children. So I think there’s a lot to unpack there. Let me start by saying that when it comes to digital educational technologies that is that is a tricky balancing act because you are absolutely right and I do get into this in the book that there are many ways in which digital ed tech can cause privacy harms. There is a wonderful piece in Education Week that Benjamin Herold wrote it late late in May about schools deploying these widespread surveillance technologies that I read and was like oh my gosh it was even worse than I thought. So there is a lot out there that’s scary and there’s a lot out there that is being done without parents being in the loop because under FERBA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, well the basic standard is parental consent for the sharing of personally identifiable information from education records, there are several exceptions in the law that allow the school district or the individual school or the state school board to make a decision that bypasses parents and they’re supposed to be certain safeguards in place for when schools are allowed to do this. But I do think in the big digital era we live in those safeguards aren’t always followed. So realistically what this looks like on the ground is most of us, and I include myself in this by the way despite being a legal researcher on the topic, we don’t have a checklist of all the ways in which our kids school or school district or state system are using educational technologies to collect data. And that’s not just surveillance, that’s reading apps that’s apps for social and emotional learning. That’s a swipe card in the cafeteria that’s linked to a software program. It’s a sensor designed to see if your kid’s getting on and off the bus. We we don’t know. And schools are a good faith actors in this. They operate under significant resource constraints and are tasked with what I see as one of the most if not the most important governmental function other than sort of ensuring basic safety and security right is education. So they’re trying to figure out how to do everything that they need to do with our kids usually with a limited budget. And so digital ed tech can offer tremendous opportunities for better and more creative teaching, for more efficient administrative work, and data driven insights. But you are absolutely right that all of us as parents, and I include myself in this and I recognize the irony of writing a book while also being like, wait a second to my son you know who’s in second grade, which app did you say you were using for reading again? Right? I’m like I’m sure it’s fine. My son goes to a wonderful school his teacher is phenomenal. We couldn’t be happier with it. But I couldn’t give you a list right now of all the apps that he’s using. And so for all of us, to include myself in this, to start just asking you know as a matter of course the same way we ask a school or a school system for their policies on attendance or visitors, right, we want to know that people coming onto campus are you know are safe, just start kind of asking at the beginning of the year what kinds of digital products and services do you use? Have those contracts gone through a lawyer or a technologist or somebody who actually has read the fine print rather than just clicked on the click wrap agreement. If we start having those conversations and making them a regular part of providing great nurture to our kids in this era that will start to impact behavior in a way that can make meaningful change even as lawmakers and industry are still working to figure out more macro level solutions.
Rebecca: [00:25:59] Well that is so much to think about. But I like having something actionable for parents to do this or walk away from this podcast with. So thank you very much. I mean it’s not just having conversations with your friends and your children but it’s having conversations with you know the teachers, everyone who touches your child at some point in their journey. It’s worth having that discussion because you’re right. Everything’s digital now and it’s permeating everything. And you just can’t take that for granted. So thank you so much. Thank you so much for joining us today. And we’re super excited about the book, again it’s called Sharenthood, it comes out September 10th and we will put a link so people can preorder, and thank you Leah. It was great to have you on the show.
Leah: [00:26:41] Thank you so much. This has been a delight. I really appreciate your insights and question.
Rebecca: [00:26:47] We will be right back with our Bytes of the Week.
Bytes of the Week
Rebecca: [00:26:52] Welcome back. We’re back with our Bytes of the Week. Amy, what do you have.
IKEA Real Life Series
Amy: [00:26:57] All right. This is a fun one and I’m like sitting here trying not to spend a bunch of money on it. [Rebecca laughing] So IKEA, actually one of the Middle Eastern divisions of IKEA, I think it was United- Yeah IKEA United Emirates. They spent months and months and months recreating three iconic TV living rooms out of IKEA furniture.
Rebecca: [00:27:24] That’s awesome.
Amy: [00:27:25] It’s incredible. They do the Simpsons living room, Monica’s living room on Friends, and then the living room with all the letters and lights from Stranger Things. And-
Andrea: [00:27:35] Oh that’s so cool.
Amy: [00:27:37] It’s a bit like these pictures are- they look like the sets. And they said it just took so much time to like go through the tens of thousands of items that IKEA makes to find you know the closest things that they could to these TV shows. And they warn that in some cases they had to change them a bit like you know the dresser in Monica’s living room they had to paint it or stain it I think. There was no sailboat picture for the Simpsons but you get you know a very similar picture frame and then you can print out a picture and put it in. I just- I want to- I want to make the Friends living room. I want to turn my living room into the Friends living room. And you can go to the IKEA site and they have links to everything in each room. And it’s just- it’s so tempting and it’s so brilliant.
Rebecca: [00:28:28] That is awesome.
Andrea: [00:28:30] So you can buy everything
Amy: [00:28:31] You can buy everything.
Andrea: [00:28:33] That is cool. See that that’s cool. So the other night I was catching up on TV and I watched the live in front of a studio audience All in the Family.
Amy: [00:28:42] Oh me too.
Andrea: [00:28:43] Did you guys see that?
Amy: [00:28:44] Yes.
Rebecca: [00:28:44] I saw part of it.
Andrea: [00:28:45] And so I was thinking like what an iconic living room right? Like if anybody just saw that you would know, people of a certain age of course, would know exactly what that is. So when you said three iconic living rooms that’s- I was kind of picturing that in my head.
Amy: [00:28:59] Yeah.
Andrea: [00:28:59] But Friends is much better, I might actually buy something from the friends one.
Amy: [00:29:03] Well it’s so funny because you know IKEA, like we hated IKEA when we were younger, like IKEA was the only reason that we had furniture but we were like so aggravated that that’s all we could afford when we were first starting out, and now I go there and I’m like Ooh, I want that and that and I still buy my dishes at IKEA. And you know now because I’m not like forced into it out of you know money reasons, now I love it.
Rebecca: [00:29:29] Well IKEA is the best place to get all of your like wine glasses and that stuff that you don’t care if they break.
Amy: [00:29:35] Yes. You don’t hate your guests if they break them.
Rebecca: [00:29:37] Exactly.
Amy: [00:29:37] And we- I have to say we actually had our entire kitchen and countertops done by IKEA-
Rebecca: [00:29:43] Us too.
Amy: [00:29:43] And oh, we love it. Love IKEA stuff.
Rebecca: [00:29:44] Yeah. IKEA kitchens are fantastic.
Amy: [00:29:46] Yep.
Rebecca: [00:29:47] All right, Andrea?
Lenovo Smart Clock
Andrea: [00:29:49] OK, I have a gadget, gadget of the week, and it’s not very often that I call a gadget cute but this is like the cutest thing. Amy you saw this with me at CES. It’s the Lenovo Smart Clock.
Amy: [00:30:02] Mmmm.
Andrea: [00:30:02] It is a high tech modern day alarm clock. And you may ask why would somebody need an alarm clock anymore. But this is so high tech and so cool it has Google assistant built in which basically means you can set it up you know to do one of those programs. You can set a routine that says good night. So if you say good night it can, if you have a smart home it can turn off your lights. It can lock your front door. It can play your music. You can ask it to wake you up to a certain podcast. It’s- it’s four inches. It’s teeny tiny. It has a touchscreen display, it has this nice kind of fabric cover so it looks great on a nightstand. It also has something I love called sunrise alarm and ambient light sensor so it knows if it’s nighttime, it’ll turn down the light, and the sunrise alarm kind of increases the light you know as it gets closer and closer to wake up time. The one thing I really like about this is it doesn’t have a camera in it. So I do have an Echo Spot, one of those round ones and they’re cute too for by the bedside table. But it kind of creeps me out a little bit that there’s a camera in it. [Amy laughing] I actually have it covered. It’s just not what, not something I want in my bedroom right? This actually looks like you know an alarm clock but it’s rectangular in shape. I think it’s a great design and it’s eighty dollars which I think is really affordable price. You don’t want to look at screens before you go to sleep because of all the blue light. So this is just a great way to have everything done for you. And bonus feature if you are one of those people who likes to sleep with your smartphone next to your bed even though you shouldn’t, has a USB port in the back you can actually charge your phone overnight.
Rebecca: [00:31:55] That’s awesome.
Amy: [00:31:56] And it is really cute.
Andrea: [00:31:58] It is, it was cute right? And I think also one of- one of the fun things they said was when the alarm goes off you can smack it, you just smack it and it turns off.
Rebecca: [00:32:08] That’s hilarious. Like my daughters need that, they like scream at their Alexa in the morning. I’m like Oh my God like I hear their Dot go off it’s their alarm and they’re like ALEXA TURN OFF!
Andrea: [00:32:17] Mm hmm.
Rebecca: [00:32:18] Oh it’s like they’re screaming at it like Jesus.
Andrea: [00:32:22] This you just smack, and it’s cheaper, it’s cheaper than the Echo Spot which I think is like 120 or 130 and the Nest hub. So I think for 80 bucks I like it.
Rebecca: [00:32:32] Yeah. All right. So I have a TV show of course but it’s an actual like regular TV show on network which-
Amy: [00:32:41] Oh my God.
Rebecca: [00:32:41] never happens.
Andrea: [00:32:42] Oh my God.
Rebecca: [00:32:43] And Andrea thank you especially will like it so because I know you like The Voice. Have you guys watched Songland?
Amy: [00:32:49] I’ve never even heard of it.
Andrea: [00:32:49] No. Never heard of it.
Rebecca: [00:32:52] It’s- there’s only been two episodes so far. I think it’s on Tuesday nights on NBC. It’s so good. So it’s three of the top songwriters in the world. It is the guy- I don’t know anyone’s name so I’m just gonna call them the guy and the girl. The guy who just won the Grammy for being Kacey Musgraves’ co-writer for her latest album Slow Burn which if you haven’t listened to is like- if you think you don’t like country music like just listen to this album, has nothing do with country music, it’s brilliant. The woman who wrote Super Bass for Nicki Minaj and a whole bunch of other hits and then Ryan what’s his face, who wrote Halo. [Amy laughing]
Andrea: [00:33:34] I love the way you describe these people.
Rebecca: [00:33:36] I know. And Ryan- My daughters know all their names. But he wrote Halo for Beyoncé and he was the lead singer of I can’t remember the band. So this is like my mid-life way of describing all these people. So they’re amazing and then they have one artist on a week, one guest artist. So the first week is John Legend. Last week was Will.I.Am. And what they do is they have four songwriters come on and perform a- an original song and the artist, the guest artist, picks three out of the four. And then those three each go with one of these mentor songwriters one of these Grammy winning incredible songwriters and work on their song and then they come back and perform the new version for the artist and the artist picks one and records it.
Andrea: [00:34:25] Oh my God, it sounds so complicated.
Rebecca: [00:34:27] And it’s available on Spotify that night. So it’s not complicated because it’s like, it is this incredible combination of talent, mentorship, like there’s so much heart in this they want these people to do so well. But you see inside the craft of songwriting, like what the songs start out as and what they end up as, but keep this germ of the original song, is so incredible, people just think people sit down and write a song, right, like the famous like “Oh, you know John Lennon just sat down and scribbled on the napkin and out came Imagine.” It’s like not true. So they show the craft that goes into taking these songs and reworking them and also reworking them with this artist in mind. It is, it’s awesome. It is so good. You’re like crying because you’re so excited these people, but the artists- it’s like everyone’s so generous. I mean but you just watch how talented these people are, like John Legend like he hears the song and just like turns around to the piano he’s like, “What if it went like this?”
Amy: [00:35:29] Oh my God.
Rebecca: [00:35:30] “What if I did this?” and you’re like wow, what is going on. So I highly recommend it. And especially if you have a kid who’s creative at all who thinks that these things should just happen that they should just be able to like write a song and never work on it again or whatever it is to see the work that goes into it and how much you know they can take something and turn it into something else. And it’s incredible.
Andrea: [00:35:53] That’s a really interesting way of mentoring. I mean I haven’t watched The Voice the past few seasons it’s just like too much. But I did love that show. So this sounds like something different and a new way of mentoring and seeing the process. So I will check it out.
Rebecca: [00:36:08] It’s true mentoring. That’s why it’s cool. It’s not like those bullshit like on American Idol or The Voice where like they give them where they’re like, “You sounded good. Maybe next time have a little more personality.” This is like they really get in there and work on the craft of the song. And I can’t explain why it’s so compelling but it totally is, and they are also genuinely happy for each other, like they are, because they are all Grammy-winning like incredible songwriters. They’re not silly judges, like they’re true masters of their craft who are working on a song with this emerging songwriter to make it the best song possible. So it’s very different. It’s not like competitive in that way and it’s not an opinion, it’s actual work. So I highly recommend it, we like love it and you come away loving like John Legend and Will.I.Am like more than you ever could have thought possible because you’re like “They’re so amazing!” And it’s cool because you can get the song on Spotify right after.
Amy: [00:37:04] That’s so great.
Rebecca: [00:37:04] Yeah. Highly highly recommend. And if you don’t have cable anymore if you’re a cord cutter like it’s on NBC dot com it’s on the NBC app. You know you can find it anywhere NBC. But anyway that’s my byte. And so thank you ladies, this was like a really informative interesting show today. You can find links to everything we talked about on Parenting Bytes dot com and on Facebook dot com slash Parenting Bytes, wherever you listen to us whether it be Apple Podcasts or Spotify or whatever please rate review subscribe share. You know we love getting new listeners, we love hearing from you guys. So let us know what else you’d like us to talk about. And until next week, happy parenting.
Amy: [00:37:46] Bye. [long pause] Did we lose Andrea?
Andrea: [00:37:51] No. Bye. [laughing] Bye everyone!
Rebecca: [00:37:53] That’s a good ending. [music]
Rebecca: [00:38:09] Hey, this is our Parenting Bytes disclaimer. Everything we talk about on the show is our own opinion. Any products we recommend, it’s our own personal recommendation for entertainment purposes only. If you buy something through our affiliate links or you just happen to buy or see or read or watch something that we recommended, it’s at your own risk.