Ep 270: Parenting Beyond Social Media

CJ Casciotta, author of The Forgotten Art of Being Ordinary, joins us to discuss parenting beyond social media and finding real community. We talk about how to guide teens to separate online fiction from truth, why ordinary existence is profoundly meaningful, and how to foster raw, personal connection.

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Full Show Notes

In today's social media saturated world, it can feel impossible to raise teens without the influence of the metaverse. Kids are constantly comparing themselves to unrealistic standards set by influencers and celebrities online. The temptation for teens to create a sort of fictional version of themselves for social media is huge.

So how do we parent teens beyond the vortex of social platforms? How can we model authenticity and real human connection for kids distracted by the digital realm?

To help make sense of it all, we spoke with CJ Casciotta, author of The Forgotten Art of Being Ordinary: A Human Manifesto in the Age of the Metaverse. As a media professional himself, CJ has an inside look at the social technology teens are using. But as a parent, he's concerned about the way online personas are replacing real identities.

In our conversation with CJ, we discussed moving beyond the virtual world to find meaning in ordinary human existence. We also talked about the importance of modeling authentic offline experiences for teens.

Escaping the Comparison Trap

Social platforms tempt us to create the best possible versions of ourselves to display to others. But as CJ explains, teens feel pressure to make their lives seem extraordinary in the process. They often feel inadequate when comparing their realities to the fake realities shown by influencers online.

CJ stressed that parents need to clarify the line between truth and fiction for kids. We should have open conversations about the fact that what teens see online is often more acting than real life. As parents, we can model embracing ordinary existence for teens, showing them that a normal life is beautiful too.

CJ suggests that we guide teens in using technology to create art and community that celebrates ordinary humanity. We can prompt them to appreciate the simple miracles of human connection, instead of chasing inflated social media success.

Building True Community

Real community requires showing up authentically, embracing imperfection. As CJ explains, this means resisting the urge to document and publicize every gathering. True connection happens when we put down our devices and engage sincerely with those around us.

CJ is modeling this for his own kids by recently moving to a new city to be closer to genuine friends. He realized his family felt isolated and numb despite living in a crowded urban area. Now they are remembering what real community feels like.

As parents, we can push teens to value in-person experiences over digital ones. We can also limit their technology use at times so real connection isn't constantly competing with the virtual world. Building spaces for teens to bond beyond devices needs to become an intentional priority.

In the Episode...

Diving beyond the world of screens is crucial for families today. On top of the topics above, CJ and I also discussed:
  • Why teaching kids to separate fact from fiction matters
  • How to parent the first generation of digital natives
  • Why poets and artists will be key leaders in the coming age
  • How parents can model authenticity for teens
If you want to learn more, visit CJ's Substack (bycj.substack.com) or check out his book The Forgotten Art of Being Ordinary. As always, don't forget to subscribe!

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Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
CJ Casciotta
CJ Casciotta
CJ Casciotta is an author, speaker, & founder of Reculture, an award-winning media studio making shows that grow the future.
Ep 270: Parenting Beyond Social Media
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