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January 17, 2019 40 mins

All modern parents worry about screen time and internet exposure. Should they? On a search for answers, Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay turn to Alex Goldman, the wifi-enabed demigod behind the hit podcast Reply All and perhaps the only empathetic user of the internet left alive on Earth. Goldman offers some reassurance, but not much. Why not? Because the long-term effects of all these glowing lines are a known unknown -- even if it's hard to make peace with that.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:15):
Welcome to the Fatherly Podcast. My name is Joshua David Steun.
I am your host, and I'm here with your co host,
Jason Gay. Jason here. A few weeks ago at uh
Fatherly HQ, we had a round table of like podcast
pooh bahs, so we're trying to break into the podcast game. Yeah. Anyway,
at some point we went around the table. You know,

(00:36):
they were like not in our company, but in in
the industry, and we went around the table and asked
people who their favorite podcasts were in Without fail, every
single person said reply all. Uh. And I was kind
of pissed because I was like, what about the father
only podcast? But whatever I got over it was that
like inside Joshua said that or did the outside Joshua

(00:58):
actually say that? That was inside Joshua Outside josh like,
oh yeah, I've heard of it. It's great now. But
um so, Reply All is a gimlet podcast and it's
all about the Internet and Internet culture. It's co hosted
by p J. Vote, I think v O GT and

(01:19):
Alex Goldman. I have the same adult brain of every
other parent where I'm just like my kid. I know,
every kid does unique things. Every parent thinks their kids
are unique, even though they're just like these disgusting balls
of germs that drew all the time, but like mine,
are really special and people need to see them. They
delve into the murkier corners of the Internet. But also

(01:40):
interestingly for me, where the where online meets real life? Um.
And it's something that I think as parents we're constantly
trying to figure out, not not just screen time, which
is like its own whole world and tech in the house,
but what are the broader implications of the internet and

(02:01):
internet culture for kids. Welcome Terrify podcast. I hope you're
enjoy the show. I mean, I don't know how you

(02:23):
handle it with your kids they're young. I guess with
kids your kid's age and my kids age, it's more
about like how the internet works on you as a parent,
on them as kids. I have a five year old
and a three year old. We have decided to live
our lives as a century family. We don't even have electricity.

(02:45):
Everything is by candle light. I mean, these are such
you know, pervasive, um common problems for you know, any
any person who has logged on in any fashion, but
but especially for parents, because I think more than ever
adults have a real acute sense for the negativity, the downside,

(03:11):
the dark side of the Internet, and the idea of
exposing it to their children is frightening. The wonderment of
the Internet that era, and I'm interested to ask Alex
about this is over. You know, the idea of like
the miracle of the Internet. I mean, you're a little
bit older than I am, but when I was growing up,

(03:33):
the Internet was just coming on. It's like indeandeed er, yeah, right.
But my mom would never let us have the Internet
because she kept on saying I don't want strangers in
the house. That was like her thing. We also didn't
have a TV, like it was a very um closed environment.

(03:55):
So I would just play this game Microsoft in Carter,
which was like a um It's cyclopedia game where the
part of the game is that you just like answered
trivia and it would like light up a room on
a map. Okay, and it explains a lot about your
right grew up to be. But I think maybe a
couple of years ago, people raising kids to your point

(04:18):
thought of the Internet as like a wonderful or maybe
like in the early adds, the Internet was so promising,
and I wonder what it was like to raise small kids.
Then for me, I'm raising my kids and I think
my wife and I do. Look at the internet is
like a net negative thing in our lives, although we
also use Netflix quite a bit, so you know, we

(04:40):
use it the convenience of it. But that's the riddle
of it, right, because it's an incredibly effective tool in
terms of occupying your children when they need to be occupied.
Anybody who's ever traveled, anybody who's ever needed just a
thirty minute break from screaming children, it is nothing less
than a miracle. And then it comes with all this

(05:02):
other into attendant craziness. Yeah, how do you walk that?
That's what I want to talk to Alex about. Yes,
you and I don't know. Maybe he does. It's what
he does for a living, right you should know. Yeah,
let's get him on the phone. Hey, Alex, this is
Joshua David Stein from the Fatherly podcast. How you doing Hey?

(05:24):
How you doing good? Jason Gay, my co host is here. Hi.
Have you ever been on a podcast before? Yes, couple.
One of the many reasons I wanted to talk to
you is because, as host co host of reply All,
you dwell in the intersection of the Internet. Culture and

(05:45):
how it affects real, live, breathing people with feelings and
and uh and minds beyond memes. And you are also
a father of two yes, one boy is an old
boy and one woman is a young woman. What are

(06:07):
your what are your kids names? And how old are they?
That's a weird way to ask. I wouldn't say that
that that that either of them or are are that old?
Harvey is turning four in January. Polly is seven months
eight months eight months old. Four is very old, you know.
The Fatherly podcast is basically like an exploration not so

(06:28):
much of my traumatic childhood, but of all of the
insecurities I have now as a dad. And one of
the major insecurities that I have are just I don't
know how to handle it is my kids are growing
up in a world of touchscreens and connectivity and the
hell and heaven the internet has wroth half half wrought,

(06:50):
and I, as a dad, I'm trying to navigate how
to create kind and compassionate individuals in this environment. And
as someone who spends so much of their life ex
learing that culture in your daytime and outside of work,
as well as a as a parent, I'm so curious
about your approach to it. So that is what you
need to answer for us today. Well, fortunately, okay, here

(07:14):
I go, ready and be again. So fortunately for me,
like the Internet as a concept hasn't really taken hold
with either of my kids. Obviously not with Polly, but um,
Harvey knows that phones can play videos, he knows that
he can watch the same show over and over again

(07:35):
on TV, but he doesn't understand the idea that like
he can go searching for things on there. So um,
and that's the way I've like, I want to I
kind of want to keep it over now. Um, I
haven't had to think about things like social media. Um
and sort of like his own curiosity taking him places

(07:57):
on Google or things like that. And I know that's
going to be a problem. And um, I honestly think
that social media is kind of like, um, it's like
an empathy vacuum. It's like it's like it like takes
away all of the meaningful humanity of human interaction and
turns people into terrible monsters, myself included. UM. So I

(08:19):
actually I worry about the same thing. I don't exactly
know how I am going to approach the Internet with
my kid, other than to say, like, I don't think
that censorship is such a bad thing in respect, Well,
I don't think. Go ahead, Yeah, I was just thinking.
So I listened to UM Long Distance Parts one and

(08:40):
two yesterday, which is of course for our listeners who
might not have heard of it. Really kind of epic
journey you've you took? When does that two seventeen? It
was last summer? Yeah, yeah, after you received a scam
phone call from a call center in India, you actually

(09:00):
go to India and try to uncover or discover the
human being behind this disembodied chance, the disembodied voice, which
is a scammer. Um. So it's not just social media
that is an empathy vacuum. I feel like the divorce
between real people who eat food and sweat and love
and have feelings, who can be hurt, and the version

(09:24):
of that that's manifest online, whether it's social media or not.
Social media is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. So um,
I think that's really for me. What I feel so
uneasy about is who people are feels like so arbitrary
and constructed versus who they really are and trying to

(09:46):
That's hard for me as a middle aged dude to
understand trying to have kids grow up in a world
where where appearances are so wildly separate from you know, realities.
Is you know you said censorship isn't bad. It makes
me feel like neither is digging a cave and you know,

(10:08):
Montclair and moving in. Well, one of the things that
I discovered while I was working on that episode, so
you know, my impulse whenever I get a phone call
from someone who's scamming me is to shout and freak
out and be angry. And one of the things that
I discovered is like the people who work at these
call centers are frequently getting exploited by the people who
work for them. They're either getting underpaid or not paid

(10:30):
at all, or getting scammed themselves by people who promised
them payment after like a two month trial of not
getting paid at all, and then they end up not
getting paid and just getting let go. And after I
worked on that story, I actually worked with a journalist
who I actually spoke to a journalist who did a
story about how people who are just attempting to find
the jobs that might potentially scam them are also getting

(10:52):
scammed by recruiters who put up put together job fairs
where people pay money, and then jobs never materialized because
there were never any job us to begin with. Like,
there's a staggering amount of humanity that is being treated
very badly on the other end of that phone, and
it never occurred to me to think about it. Um,
And it's very easy, the further we actually get from

(11:15):
the person we're speaking to, not just like in terms
of space, but in terms of like context, it's very
easy to just be an asshole. Am I allowed to swear?
It's yeah, you can speak only it's very easy to

(11:36):
just be an asshole. And um, I constantly have to
remind myself to continue being curious because A that's part
of my job and be because like if I'm not,
then I just become hardened to anybody else's live experience
and that's just terrible and it's a terrible thing to

(11:57):
impart on my children. I'm a sportswriter by trade, and
I offer think that so much of social media's evolution
parallels sports fandom and that you know, it is all
about taking sides and it is all about you know, conflict,
and conflict is what cells and UH, to give you
a very specific question, like I think on something like Twitter,

(12:17):
Do you think Twitter would not be what it is
without the sort of dunk on feature of being able
to take someone's remark which you think is foolish and
broadcast to your followers. Why you think it's foolish? Um?
I think that there's definitely like a little dopamine rush

(12:41):
from watching people you disagree with get dunked on. You
know what is um? I I think that in the
long run it really for me specifically, I find it
very harmful. I don't like it. Um. It doesn't feel
good even dunking on someone, Like the rush of it
is brief, and the agony of of just having been

(13:04):
an asshole endures. The thing that I found sometimes it
feels like really terrible not to respond to people and
they're like, you know, you're show stupid and I hate
what you do and I think your voice is annoying
and you've got a stupid chip monkey laugh and blah
blah blah. Um oh thanks, um so it was you

(13:25):
guys all along. Um. So when people say like, like so,
when people say when people say like, hey, that thing
you do is stupid, my response, my stock response is
always actually it's awesome, and that's as far as I'll
engage because that is sort of that is about what

(13:49):
you're going to get when you argue with someone like
you're not going to I'm not going to convince them
that the thing I do is not stupid. Um. So
if I just say, actually, it's awesome, then they can
respond and say, well, no, here are all the reasons
why it's terrible, and I can respond and say, well, no,
actually it's really it's really that's the best thing that
I do. Okay, we're gonna hear some words from people

(14:14):
who want to sell you things and then we'll be
back with Alex Goldman of Reply All stay tuned because
your kids are a little bit too young to be
um using the internet. Although I wonder if you you

(14:35):
have yet the okay Google and then or and then
it's whatever question, so knowledge becomes completely sort of outsourced
to a small device in your home. But because you're
not really dealing with social media and that kind of
thing yet, I did want to ask how how you
how you parent how parenting has become different? Uh, or

(15:00):
how you use the Internet in terms of parenting, because
responding to a dig on Twitter with Actually, that's awesome.
Is one thing raising I'm sure your kids are cute.
I haven't seen pictures of them, but raising pictures of
kids ray sorry, raising kids who are cute in a
world where you can share that cuteness on social media.

(15:21):
I feel like it's a challenge that my parents never had,
and a challenge that I, as a dad, struggle with
all the time, especially because I wanted to how do
you deal with it? A while ago I used to
be a Instagram addict in a way, and I would
take pictures of my kids and they have they had hashtags,

(15:43):
and I was like, really into this idea of of
of them being um popular, I think because I struggle
with my own, you know, insecurities, of struggle with my
own insecurities. And after a lot of fighting actually with
my wife, who objected to it on purely privacy grounds,

(16:04):
which I think are valid grounds, um you know, I
would say, well, they're part of me, and therefore I'm
not violating their privacy. I'm expressing myself. And she said, well,
you're expressing yourself, but you're also violating their privacy. They
can't consent to being shared with on social media. But actually,
what happened. Is I really became um uh cognizant in

(16:28):
myself that I would take pictures of them and judge
the quality of the experience retroactively by how many likes
it got, and I would not be looking at moments.
I would be looking at whether this would be like
a cute Instagram picture. Simultaneously, through my work at Fatherly,
I was reading all these studies about how kids are
affected by their parents use of social media. It's not

(16:53):
a good effect, and so I purged my you know,
social I've purged Instagram of pictures of my kids. Actually
deleted my account because I do ill advised things out
of anger. Um. And now that I've started, I don't
post any pictures of them whatsoever. Okay, And it bums

(17:16):
me out, but I think it's okay. I have the
same impulse that you do, which is I think my
kids are adorable, way more adorable than anybody else. That's
nothing personal, no offense, but um, I really like UM,
I really like showing people a pictures of my kids.
I think it's I love to see their reactions. I

(17:37):
love to see people I like to talk about how
cute I think my kids are because I am I
have the same adult brain of every other parent where
I'm just like my kid. I know every kid does
unique things. Every parent thinks their kids are unique, even
though they're just like these disgusting balls of germs that
drew all the time, but like mine are really special
and people need to see them. Um, but uh, my

(18:00):
wife really doesn't want to post stuff online of them,
so she has a she has an Instagram, or she
shares pictures, but it's private. My Instagram is public. I
don't use it that much and I don't post anything
any pictures of the kids there. To get my desire
to show my kids to people out, I actually will

(18:21):
like occasionally walk up to people I work with and
just be like, look at this video video. Yeah, but
that's so hard because the thing about Instagram is when
you like something, it's a gesture and it's like a
very clear metric of I like that. It's a very clear,
um painless way showing pictures of your kids to someone
or a video it's like, oh, that's so messy. There's

(18:43):
so many nuances of that reaction that you have to navigate. Although, yes,
you're right, that is ethically more sound. So I will
do that it drives p J crazy, my co host,
he does not. He does. He have kids, He has
a dog which he treats like a kid. And yeah,

(19:05):
he he does. He has an Instagram with his dog
pets consent legally pets. No, they cannot. It sounds like
a terrible law and order. And the other thing I've
done in the past, when like I just couldn't take
it and needed to share a picture of my kids
with the world is I would post it and then
deleted after like a half an hour. Like, right, there's

(19:28):
a time limit on this. I can share the adorable
nous of my child with the world for a moment
and then it has to go away. Do you have
a sense for how this behavior is going to be
passed on? I mean, part of what you do is
obviously examine Internet culture, but also try to get a
beat on what's happening next. And that's a hard thing
to do. I often sometimes think of like the internet

(19:49):
is like in the same way we have super fun sites,
and like said, He's like they didn't really realize, for
you know, making copper for forty years was going to
be really damaging to a place, and we never be
able to build something on top of it again. But
you know, there's sort of like a new science and
and how we will pass this on. You know, I
almost feel like social media is reached to the point

(20:10):
where it's like smoking, Like you know, I do it,
but I don't want you kids to do it. Don't
get in, you know, don't start this. Once you start,
you can't stop. It's really hard, do you do you
do you have a vibe yet for you know, how
you may pass it on or how other people you
know are passing it on to their children. Do you remember,
like right when Adult Swim started, there was that Adult

(20:30):
Swim show Sea Lab One, which was like a said
in the future and underwater and like it was mostly
like non sequiturs and and dumb jokes. Um. There was
one throwaway line at the beginning of an episode where
like one of the people in the in the one
of the main characters, was teaching a class to a
bunch of children. She says something like, all right, children, today,

(20:53):
we're going to discuss the internet and how and how
in twenty it was like and how in seventeen it
almost destroyed us something. And I think about that line
all the anytime, Like like when Cambridge Analytica happened, and like,
you know, any time one of those things happened, I
always think back to that line and I'm like, were
they right? Well, like did they even get the year right? Um?

(21:14):
It does feel pretty gross right now. And everyone I
know who has a teenager is like, God, I remember
the times when I used to be able to talk
to my kid and now they just look at their phone. Um.
And I like to fantasize that I'm going to be
a parent who's like, well, you can only have your
phone at X time and Y time. But I also know,

(21:37):
I also know that incredibly attractive allure of technology, because
when I need a break from my son for an hour,
I'm like, hey, watch Curious George, and that's it. He's
done for an hour. There's games that I try to
play with Harvey that are like very involved, but the
thing is that the only thing that he ever wants

(21:57):
to do with me is have me like toss him around.
That gets very exhausting very quickly. So you know, I can,
I can do a half an hour of that, and
then I'm like, Okay, we gotta there's actually an app
for that. Now. I think you can you know child
toss her just I'll set my phone down and it'll
just child. Um, So are you hopeful? Are you not hopeful?

(22:24):
Alex God? I mean, I I don't know. I think
that technology. Technology is not terrible. I just think that
like the companies that make it need to be a
little more responsible about how how it can actually affect people.
Social media included, um and absent that I just have

(22:45):
to be very diligent about about it. Um. I mean
there's a lot of stuff that's very seductive about social media.
I know because I'm totally like a Twitter addict. Um,
what would take account my Twitter account? I can't even
imagine what I would what would cause me to do that.

(23:06):
I'm like, I'm seriously blanking on what could entice me
to do that? How are your guilt guilt feelings out
with your children? You know, I'm sure you've had occasion
to have them out in public and you know, for
whatever stray reason, you start looking at your phone and uh,
you know, do you feel fine about that or is
that the kind of starting? Oh? My guilt feelings about

(23:26):
that are are powerful and incredibly there. My wife and
I took Harvey. He's a big train kid. He loves trains.
So in Pennsylvania there is a Polar the Polar Express.
You can ride the Polar Express, which is just like
a train that has a bunch of Christmas lights in
it and they give you a hot chocolate Santa Santa
walks by. Sounds cool. It's very expensive, definitely not worth

(23:50):
however much it costs, but um, Harvey was super excited
about it. We got a babysitter for Polly and we
all the three of us, went, um, we got a baby.
He said, I should rephrase that. Sarah's my wife's parents too,
if they're listening to the Fatherly podcast. No, um, oh yes, Alex,

(24:12):
all of your appearances. So so we we got on
the train and the train was kind of rolling along
and he was very excited and blah blah blah, but
like you know, nothing was happening. Music was playing and
we were just kind of hanging out and I just
hope it got my phone. And my wife was like, Alex,
what are you doing? We're all the Polar Express. And

(24:37):
when we she put it in that, when she put
it in that, like strangely, that's what got through to me.
It wasn't like Alex, what are you doing because like, yeah,
I'm gonna check my phone when there's downtime occasionally, but
like we're on the Polar Express suddenly hit me with
like the oh, we're doing like a very special thing
with my son, and I'm totally disengaging. Alex. What do
you feel the internet is going to do or has

(24:59):
done too? The idea of parenting and discovery I think of, like,
you know, so much of the thrill of raising a
child is watching them learn things, and there's just an
incredibly I mean you guys you know mentioned at the top,
like you know, searching the search engines on on the Internet,
I mean, like with a with a negative um construct,

(25:22):
but I think of it as being a huge potential
positive if you're trying to, you know, if my son
wants to talking about the Great Wall of China or
he wants to find out if an alisaurus would beat
a spinosaurus. While there are at least a hundred and
seventy pages that have considered it, uh, And it's a
real thrill to be able to have those conversations and moments.
And I'm telling myself that I'm intellectually raising a child

(25:44):
with more information than possible. But are we, you know,
losing something in the process because it's so readily available. Uh. Well, UM,
there's good and bad to it. This is actually something
that I do have experience with. UM. Right now, Harvey
is obsessed with bones. He figured out he found out

(26:05):
about bones, so he asks me a lot, like what
has bones and what doesn't have bones? Um, And and
that we had we got a book about bones and
it talked about how houses have frames and the and
the frame is sort of like bones, and that concept
was really too far out for him. So I found
a time lapse video of a house being built on

(26:26):
YouTube and that was great for him. UM. But the
other thing that he's obsessed with right now is UM,
smoke detectors and smoke alarms, because the smoke alarm went
off at the j c C one day when we
were there, and now he can't stop talking about it.
So uh, it's great that I can show him this stuff.

(26:46):
But then at the same time, I was reading him
a book yesterday, UM, which had nothing to do with
smoke detectors or smoke alarms, and in the middle of
the book he kept stopping and being like, I want
to watch a video about a smoke alarm and it's like, no,
I and have my phone with me. I'm well, i'm
reading you a bedtime story. I'm not going to do it,
and he's like, no, but I really want to, which

(27:07):
is like, you know, a very three year old thing
to say. I tell my kids, I'm not kidding. I
tell my kids that Google is closed, Like, oh, I
would show you the video of the spinosaurus fighting the allosaurus,
but Google's closed nine am to two pm. Smart, okay,

(27:39):
Google play a sponsored message and we'll be back after it.
It's more from a Goldman. I always found that the

(28:00):
actual piece of knowledge that I was looking for was satisfying,
but so too what's the search of how to get there?
And it is true that with these search engines or
with like YouTube or whatever, it's very direct, like you
will find out what you want to know. You will
only find out what you want to know, like there's
no wandering down the aisles. Not that. When I was

(28:22):
like a four year old, my I wanted to know
about salami, and my dad would be like, hey, let's
go to the library. Look you know, go go look
at the Dewey decimal system and find out but there
was like you had to work for it. Sometimes when
you have to work for these things, you hold it
more closely. Whereas if your kid, if you know, Harvey,
wants to know about smoke detectors, you can just say, okay, Google,

(28:42):
what is the smoke detector and then that nice English
lady like explains it. Knowledge isn't a thing to work
for or to retain, right right, totally, totally, um I
I do feel like there was something, you know, I
used to be like a big record collector, like I
used to be really into like like in the mid

(29:04):
mid nineties, you know, I was collecting records like crazy,
and then I went to college and got hardwired internet,
and then I like lost my taste for record collecting
forever because there's no I didn't need to I didn't
need to retain anything. I didn't need to know anything
anymore like it did. There was no cash in knowing it,

(29:25):
there was no challenge to knowing it, there was no
reward for knowing it. And this it was like it
was like the same as not having to remember cell
phone numbers once I got a cell phone. But what
do you store in that empty space? You know? God,
I don't know, like useless trivia about sort of internet

(29:46):
scene fights within tiny hobbyist communities on the Internet. That's
sort of what my brain is used for, you know, uh,
not to do our job or make you do our job.
But what do you hear from parents when you know,
when you tell people what you do, or people come
up to you and ask you parenting internet kinds of
what are the what are the hot topics right now?
Would you say? I think that everybody just sort of

(30:09):
thinks of the Internet as this unwieldy, out of control
thing they can't seem to figure out how to tame.
You know. The only thing that gives me hope is
that we weren't born of this age and there might
be a shoulder generation who I feel like we're the
shoulder generation that has the ability and is kind of

(30:30):
freaking out about it because we were not Internet native.
But our kids are going to grow up with this
being the baseline of the world, and then so they
can develop morals and they can understand, they can they'll
have an innate understanding of it so won't throw their
compasses out of whack. I feel like, for me particularly,

(30:51):
I feel like the Internet through my moral compass totally
how to whack and I still struggle with it. I
just think that like some of like the peer pressure
stuff has moved online, or like some of the joy
of everyday life has been has been taken out of things,
you know, in the same way that you're talking about.
And I apologize because my only frame of references radio

(31:11):
because all I do is listen to podcasts um in
the same way that you talked about, like how you
couldn't be in the moment with your kid. There was
a this American life story which was about teenagers feeling
super stressed out because they constantly had to update their instagrams.
And I was like, I was like, oh god, that's
a really like that is really a feeling I am not.
That is so alien to me, And I'm never going

(31:31):
to understand, like I'm a little too old even for
online dating. Like I've met my wife in two thousand five,
like right before are we started dating in two thousand five?
We met before then. I get the only like bright
side is that we're all going to die in a
climate change apocalypse. So a lot of these questions about
how the internet will continue to develop our moot. Yeah,

(31:53):
That's another thing I keep thinking of. It's like, well,
you know, by the time my kids are are in
their seventies, it's going to be like max out there anyway.
So you know, they'll need Instagram and online dating. Right,
all they'll need is water. There's an app for that.
Just from a you know, practical application standpoint, you know,

(32:16):
straightforward question. I'm a parent, I have small children, iPads.
Screen time is an issue for me. Do you have
any sense for what is the you know, the the
if we if it's not let them do whatever they
want they want or just you know, raising them like
it's what is sort of the smart middle road? You think?

(32:38):
Oh boy, I I don't know. Um, the smart middle
road for me is um, like an hour an hour
a day, That's that's what That's what we arbitrarily decided on.
Might you're too little, might be too much? Yeah, I'll
I'm gonna double check that and we'll a little. I

(33:02):
mean it seems a little high. Like my kids are
like a solid two hours, so I mean, I mean,
not out of anything that I'm proud of, just out
of trying to make dinner and you know, them fighting
like crazy people and just wanting not to yell at
them all the time. This is what a Google Google search,
A quick Google search tells me. Most parents say their

(33:24):
children watch two or more hours of TV a day,
despite a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics the
kids two to five spend no more than an hour
a day with screens in any kind. Gold Man nailed it,
Steined failed Alex. I am not entirely sure whether you
answered the question of how I should approach the Internet

(33:46):
with my kids, but I did enjoy talking to you,
and hey, thanks so much for having me, and I'm
sorry that I'm not a better interview. Otherwise I would
have answered the question. No, you are a wonderful interview.
It's a question that no one can get their arms around.
I think you're just a human interview. You're a human interview,
and that's what I love most about you. Thank you,
Thanks for having me. Thanks that it seems like our

(34:11):
impulse as a society, and his parents too. It's like, well,
who knows, let's try it. Let's just see. No one
is saying, well, actually, let's hold back because we don't know.
I mean, like, that's exactly the dilemma at heart of
do you share Instagram pictures of your kid publicly? They
might be okay with it and actually love it, but

(34:32):
by the time they're old enough to object to it,
it's too late. It we'll have already done. So it
takes a special kind of person that I'm not that
person to say, well, this might not work out so well,
but we don't know, let's not do it. I mean,
I'm old enough to remember the first time I saw
a writer who had a personal website, you know, it's

(34:53):
like Joe Schmo dot com, And I was like, what
an asshole this guy thinks he can just make his writers,
I mean, you know, put his writings online and thanks.
Everyone's just going to be naturally interested in it. And
now it's literally just you know it is. It is
a perfunctory step in the career of anybody who does

(35:16):
this for a living. And I feel like the Internet
is just kind of a series of that repeating itself.
That behaviors that we once found completely insane are now
completely commonplace. So knowing that though it's like, do I
let my seven year old he'll be seven by the
time this airs, Do I allow my seven year old
encourage him even to have like a social media account

(35:38):
because he's gonna have it at some point. Why not
have him what's the word I'm looking for? Customize? No,
it's like acclimatize. They're like, why not let him get
used to it now, so by the time he's older,
he will like have gone through the swings, oversharing or whatever,

(36:01):
you know what I mean, like pop Warner football like
that kind of Yeah, yeah, what is the version of
Instagram that's interesting? Maybe there should be, you know, maybe
there's an opportunity there. I think that, like, look, we're
at a big crossroads at least in this country of
what um the impact of all this stuff has been.

(36:23):
And for the first time that I you know, I
just feel like the pendulum has really, absolutely, un categorically
tipped the other way and we're looking at the negative,
dystopic effects of all this um and the sort of
sunny idea of like, hey, it's a great man, I'm
out there is quickly fading in the rear view. Well.

(36:44):
To wrap up, the upside of this is that our
kids are young enough that by the time their teens
and tweens enough will have changed that maybe the pendulum
will have swung the other way, like maybe this mess
will have been cleaned up by then. It's interesting. Alex
talked about records and how that was a habit of
his and he stopped doing it. I thought what he

(37:07):
was gonna say was just on the idea of like
discovery and buying records, but also and you know, if
you bought records, you know what it was like to
buy records occasionally be like, oh this sucks, Like I
just blew eight bucks or ten bucks on this thing,
and it's got one good song on it. And now
you can just cherry pick your culture and just only

(37:28):
get the stuff that you want. And I do wonder if, like,
you know, this inclcates a feeling of just you have
to be satisfied at all times, and you have to
be stimulated all times, and you have to find it
perfect at all times. Uh. And that's a very bizarre
kind of thing to bake into your personality. Yeah. I
just hope that in the next like ten years before

(37:50):
our kids are teenagers will have cycled through climate change
in the apocalypse and come back to like a healthy um.
You know, you're sometimes happy, sometimes not, but you can survive,
be great. What episode will you be on of this
podcast by then h by the time the apocalypse. It's
what is this? Six? This is eight? I don't know twelve? Okay, Um,

(38:16):
well that was Alex Goldman, co host of Reply All,
father of two, great conversationalist. I think I really, you know,
I don't. I don't think he has an annoying voice.
I like his voice and and and you know, you
cannot be more squarely in the center of the culture
than what he does with his podcast or ours. I

(38:46):
think that's a wrap. My name is Joshua David Stein.
I am the host of the Fatherly podcast. The guy
drinking a Starbucks Chi latte is Jason Gay. My co
host me wonderful dude. If you have parenting issues or questions,
give us a call. Someone might answer it one of
these days. Seven three to four one six four five

(39:09):
seven one. That's seven three two four five seven one.
That is our parenting advice hotline. If you call it,
we will listen, we will answer. Um. That's it for me.
Subscribe to this podcast if you would like. Uh, oh,
this other guy, he's not chopped liver. His name is
Max Savage Levinson. He is our producer. Andrew Berman is

(39:32):
our executive producer. I guess I helped co produce it
in some way. At least I was here. Jesse Schultz
is an engineer. Uh, this is probably brought to you
by someone, but I'll let someone else handle that. I'm
not really on social media, but if you want to
give me feedback, you can um email me at jd

(39:53):
s at fatherly dot com, or I guess you could
call me my numbers two one, two to zero seven.
I'm the kind of guy that will always pick up
my phone, it doesn't matter. Yeah, I'm excited by it.
You know, like some people are scared when they get
in a known number. I'm very like, I'm just like,
who could who wants to talk to me? I mean,

(40:15):
I've crossed the threshold that I think everybody calling me
is now an automated like call trying to sell me something. Hello,
we have come into information about your home loan. It's
just like Alex Goldman. Anyway, Thanks guys, talk to you
next week. Oh are you calling me? Max? Thank you

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