Ryan Werner

By August 17, 2022October 19th, 2022No Comments

Episode 76

Ryan Werner

Head of Partnerships at Pinwheel, & Co-Founder of Fight the New Drug

In this episode of Consider Before Consuming, we talk with Ryan Werner, a Co-Founder of Fight the New Drug and the Head of Partnerships at Pinwheel. Pinwheel is a tech company that exists to put humans in the driver’s seat of technology by developing a therapist-backed smartphone for kids. Listen to Ryan talk with podcast host Garrett Jonsson about the creation and evolution of FTND, why he believes that Pinwheel is the best first phone for kids, and how Pinwheel can help kids become more healthily and gradually digitally literate.

Get 10% off your order at Pinwheel when you visit ftnd.org/pinwheel.


Ryan: Pinwheel is not of the, uh, nor, nor am I. We, we’re not of the, uh, impression that the, the solution is to put it off as long as possible. Um, I think the sooner we can have these conversations, the sooner we can start teaching our kids how to navigate the space safely, the better off they’ll be.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ryan: Um, so rather than starting later in life and, and ramping up quickly, like I, I would advocate for trying to start a little earlier, keep, uh, keep things simple on the phone and don’t give them access to a lot, but like give them a longer runway to learn how to navigate it because there’s a lot there. There’s a lot to learn.

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Garrett Jonsson: My name is Garrett Jonsson, and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming a podcast by Fight the New Drug. And in case you’re new here Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed a decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects, using only science facts and personal accounts. We want these conversations to be educational, uplifting, and hopeful. As we sit down with experts, influencers, activists, and people with personal accounts, we cover a wide variety of topics that may be triggering to some, you can refer to the episode notes for a specific trigger warning listener discretion is advised.

Today’s episode is with Ryan Werner, a Co-Founder of Fight the New Drug and the head of partnerships at pinwheel. Pinwheel is a tech company that exists to put humans in the driver’s seat of technology.

During this conversation, we talk about the creation and evolution of Fight the New Drug, why he decided to work with Pinwheel and how Pinwheel can help kids become more digitally literate in a healthy way. With that being said, let’s jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Today’s interview is with Ryan from Pinwheel. Pinwheel is a very exciting thing. Uh, I’m excited about it. We’re excited about it at Fight the New Drug and Ryan is here to convince you, I guess, to convince us still, because I’m still learning about Pinwheel is what I’m trying to say. And Ryan’s here to convince us why parents and caregivers should consider Pinwheel. If you have kids, there is gonna come a time when you have to decide when they’re gonna get a phone and what phone you’re gonna get them. And that can be a tough decision as a parent and caregiver.

And so once again, Ryan’s here to convince us why Pinwheel is superior to the other options. So, Ryan welcome.

Ryan: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Garrett.

Garrett Jonsson: Start the convincing. Let’s just jump straight into it.

Ryan: [laughter] No, I, I like that the way that you, that you even phrased it there, “the time will come.” It’s not a, it’s not an if anymore, you know, the society we live in, we’re surrounded by technology. We live in a digital world and it’s a really important and impactful tool to have a cell phone. And so the question is, yeah, which cell phone are you gonna get your child? And when are you gonna give it to them? And it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly, you know, Fight the New Drug knows this better than anyone else, but there’s, there’s a lot that goes on in the digital world.

Um, and it’s not all safe and it’s not all productive. And, uh, our kids need to be educated on how to navigate that space safely so they don’t get lost in all of it.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s right. And today you’re working with Pinwheel, but in a previous life, you were one of the Co-Founders to Fight the New Drug. That’s why we’re even more pumped about having you on the podcast is because you, you were one of the Co-Founders, which is really cool.

Ryan: Yeah. It’s been about 13 years, I think since, uh, Fight the New Drug was founded and, uh, it’s been a fun journey to be a part of it. And also to watch it since stepping, stepping back and stepping away, watch it continue to grow and, and evolve.

Garrett Jonsson: I do wanna ask you some questions about like the early days of Fight the New Drug, but before we do that, let’s start with the basics, like the foundational work.

So we can better understand, like, who is Ryan? What does your day to day look like today, Ryan? Like, for example, what’d you have for breakfast today?

Ryan: [laughter] uh, what did I have this morning? I think I just had toast. I generally just have toast for breakfast.

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter]

Ryan: Um, but yeah, my, uh, I mean my, my professional life has kind of always evolved around kind of a business acumen. So whether it be setting up businesses, running businesses, uh, a lot of sales, a lot of marketing business development, working with partnerships and helping businesses grow at a high level, um, has kind of always been where, where things, uh, uh, where my skillset was best applied. So my day to day is just that it’s looking for, so I’m head of partnerships with Pinwheel and, uh, I’m looking for ways to grow Pinwheel, to get the word out there.

Sometimes that means, you know, working with retail partners other times that means working with non-profits education, advocacy groups, like Fight the New Drug who are speaking to, um, like-minded individuals. Um, but in almost every case, it’s working with people who want to, to protect kids online or help them develop digital literacy, um, in one way or another.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. And based on what I know about Pinwheel, I hope that you are able to scale to the level that it should be scaled because from what I can see, it, it’s just a great tool all around. And so I’m excited to learn more about it and for our listeners to learn more about it as well. Um, so you have toast for breakfast…

Ryan: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: … and the kids what’s that life like? Family life…

Ryan: Yeah. Like family life. Yeah. I’ve got four littles, uh, a nine year old, an eight year old, a three year old and a one year old.

So a little bit of a gap there in the middle. Um, but we’re, we’re having fun with it. I, I love him to death and, uh, it’s great.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s great. That’s a lot of work and a lot of reward as well. Well, we talked briefly about how you were one of the Co-Founders of Fight the New Drug. And I mentioned that I have some questions about like the early days of Fight the New Drug, what your role was or what your, what part you played in that. Can you talk to that a little bit? I’m just kind of interested in how this all went down.

Ryan: Sure. Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve, uh, if you’ve, if you’ve talked about it previously, but, uh, I mean, as is the case with any, any young company it’s, uh, it’s a few people wearing a lot of hats doing, doing everything they can.

Uh it’s you know, we were dreamers. We were, uh, I think, I think if we knew the amount of work that would have to go into building Fight the New Drug before we stepped into it, uh, we may not have gone forward with it.

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter]

Ryan: Uh, and so those early days were, you know, it was largely conceptual. We were kind of self-identified entrepreneurs. And, you know, we saw, we saw a problem. We saw a world, uh, becoming more and more sexualized and, and addicted to pornography. And I think for, for me personally, I think all of our, you know, there were four Co-Founders originally, I think all of us had kind of our own, our own journeys and, and, and motives behind it. But, uh, yeah, I read a book called The Drug of the New Millennium and it, it struck me, I, I didn’t realize there was such a, you know, that this problem was so research back, that there was, uh, a foundational science behind, uh, compulsive pornography consumption and, uh, and how it was impacting people, you know, individuals impacting societies, impacting families, relationships.

And so we started talking about that as a group and just realized something had to be done. And so personally, you know, I started digging into more of the science reading, a lot of the, the research around it. And, uh, I think the consensus amongst all of us was this needs to be packaged in a way that people can digest it, that they can consume it. And particularly it needs to be taken to the youth. Um, the young people who are, who are coming into this, again, this digital world, this digital age,

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: Where it’s more and more accessible and, and, uh, more and more anonymous. Um, and yet, uh, just as potent, if not more potent than ever before. And so, you know, we, we decided we needed to make an organization that was speaking to youth in a way that they would understand and helping them catch the vision and, and see the reason why this was something to the point that, uh, we recognize that, you know, it had to be cool.

It had to be cool to be anti-pornography. It couldn’t be, it couldn’t be based on, on morals or religion or, or, uh, politics. Um, but just really, because it’s, it’s super unhealthy for a variety of reasons.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Yeah. Well, you asked like how much I have talked about the early days of Fight the New Drug. And I, we haven’t talked about him much to be honest, but I have talked with clay on the podcast about it. And his explanation was very similar to yours. And, um, one thing that stood out that I found funny in your explanation, funny, and then I also have one thing that’s kind of interesting, a follow up question to it. The funny thing was you referred to yourselves as “self-identified entrepreneurs” [laughter]

Ryan: We were all in college, those of us that, that were going to college, I think.

Okay. You know, um, but it was that it was that era of our lives, um, Clay had had a business, I think at the time he was doing some marketing stuff and yeah, at the time someone brought it up, “You know, something has to be done about the pornography problem.” and it felt super left filled. Um, but again, as we dug into it and started to consider it more, I think it impacted each one of us in a different way and for different reasons perhaps, but um, we all saw that the desperate need for, for this to be tackled. Yeah. So from there, it kind of, you know, it, it grew organically. Um, we, uh, you know, it was, those days were, were obviously really fun. You know, it’s always fun to conceptualize and to, to build a vision about around, like, what what’s this gonna be?

I remember, you know, shooting, shooting hoops with Cam Lee, one of the other Founders outside our apartment, and just talking about touring the nation and talking to kids all over. And, you know, as, as ambitious as ambitious youth, that this was a fun idea to just travel the world and talk to people about the problem. And, um, again, of course it was a bit naive to think that that that could come from pretty much nothing, but we, we did other, I remember, you know, we did some focus groups. We invited friends over to our apartment. We were all crammed into, I think we had to separate into two different, two different apartments because we had so many people, but, and we were talking about what to name this concept and all these ideas, and we did some voting and it was just fun. You know, know it was a fun time to, to dream about what this, what this could be.

Garrett Jonsson: One of my follow up questions was you mentioned the book, The Drug of the New Millennium. Yeah. Can you talk to that a little bit more because I have never heard of that book and I feel like I maybe should know what that book is.

Ryan: I mean, I it’s been so many years since I read it it’s it has to have been, you know, 15 years ago. Um, but it, he really just details, you know, kind of takes, takes a lot of the research that had been done and was just detailing how, you know, how pornography is impacting the individuals and the re and the research to support it. Um, so it was an interesting find. It was an interesting book and I mean, as indicated by the name obviously had influence on, on naming Fight the New Drug. Right?

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ryan: Um, so yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Thank you for your early days.

Ryan: Oh my, and thank you. I don’t, I hope your, I hope your audience knows how much you’ve done to contribute to, to the cause and the mission and Fight the New Drug in general. You’re, I mean, you’re a hero in my mind, so it’s a pleasure to be on the call with you.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh, well, I think the reason why I did what I did and do what I do is because I’ve reaped the benefits. So I’m just in debt to Fight the New Drug and I’m just paying it forward is how I look at it. So fast forward to today, Ryan, and, uh, like we talked about you’re you work with Pinwheel.

Ryan: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And I’m wondering if your experiences with fight the new drug or your knowledge gained, uh, during those early days of Fight the New Drug influence, continue to influence you today and specifically, did they influence your desire to work with Pinwheel?

Ryan: Oh, without question yes. Resoundingly being at Fight the New Drug, um, you get exposed to a lot of the ugly things on the internet. Uh, I’ll get a little bit personal here, but I even learned early on a lot of, a lot of what, uh, what I did for work at Fight the New Drug and some of the stuff that I saw as is the case I’d come home. And I talked to my wife about my day, I’d talked to her about the things that I saw and the, you know, and, uh, I quickly learned that it was too heavy for her. There was too much too, too many terrible things that I was exposed to through the work that, uh, that she couldn’t process or handle. Um,…

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, it can get really heavy.

Ryan: Yeah. It can get really heavy in it. And so, you know, props to, to everyone at Fight the New Drug, you know, Garrett, yourself included, but it’s, uh, it’s not easy work.

Um, there’s, there’s a lot of people who are suffering, um, in all different parts of this industry and, uh, either, you know, as a result of, of pornography or people who are in it, or, uh, it’s ruining lives in a lot of ways, but, you know, for me personally, I think that exposure and that, that kind of initial introduction, when we, when we started Fight the New Drug, obviously shaped my passions and what’s important to me and me, uh, the efforts I put into changing the world for good and hopefully leaving a positive mark.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: And, uh, obviously having my own kids has had an impact on that, but, uh, you know, from Fight the New Drug, I’ve worked with other, other organizations that are, that are fighting, you know, child sex trafficking, um, and doing other things to protect children online. And so it’s a space that I’ve, that I’ve stayed in… I won’t say because I enjoy it. I don’t think, uh, it’s not, it’s not fun. It’s not glamorous. Right?

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: Um, but I think it’s a need that, uh, that we address.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ryan: Fortunately, my work at Pinwheel is not, is not nearly as heavy as, as I felt it was as Fight the New Drug, but it’s still in this space, um, that I feel is desperately needed. And in that we’re protecting kids online, we’re helping them learn how to navigate the online world, the digital space to do so safely. And, uh, and you know, to really make technology, uh, a tool that, that helps them accomplish good work in the world rather than just, you know, uh, uh, a means to entertainment, which I think a lot of us far too many of us use use technology, as, you know, simply a means to entertainment.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Throughout this conversation already you’ve been convincing us with little bits and pieces of like, what is Pinwheel and why should we be interested in how it’s superior to the, to the competition, but now’s kind of like the time where we’re actually gonna jump into it. So now’s when the, uh, the convincing starts.

Ryan: Yeah. So maybe I’ll just kind of touch on real quick, um, the philosophical approach of Pinwheel versus versus some of the competition out there. And I’ll also start by saying, um, there, there aren’t a lot of kid friendly smartphones on the market, um, there’s a very small handful.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ryan: And, and so, um, each has taken a, uh, a different approach when the opportunity to work at Pinwheel became available. Um, I dug in a little bit to the competition just to see if this was a unique approach to the problem, first of all.

And then if I agreed that this was the correct approach to the problem, and it’s different from the competition in the, uh, well, one of the ways it’s different, it’s not a static phone. So I’m trying to tie this back to Fight the New Drug, because I think it’s very similar to how Fight the New Drug approaches, the problem of, of pornography. Um, you know, you can protect kids in a variety of ways. You can build walls around children and keep them from ever having exposure to terrible things, but that really doesn’t help the child develop the, in the, the strength that they need to overcome things once they’re, once they’re on their own or they’re in an independent setting.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ryan: And so, you know, I I’ve liken this in the past to, to maybe, you know, like when our kids are little, we put, when we go to the swimming pool, we let them swim in the, in the shallow end, in the kitty pool. And we put floaties on ’em even still and make sure that they’re safe.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: But if you leave your child in that, in that sort of environment, until they’re 18 and they’re on their own, and they’re able to jump off the high dive, that’s not gonna be a safe activity for them, right. There’s, there’s graduation points. There’s steps that need to be taken. You need to have your, your child swim in deeper waters. You need to eventually take the floaties off you need to, you know, and there’s, you’re gonna hold their hand at times. You’re gonna let, ’em go for a few seconds and then you’re gonna hold ’em again. But there’s, it’s a process, right? It doesn’t, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: And so, you know, filtration devices, for example, Fil you know, filtering porn, I think is good for, for kids who, for avoiding unwanted or, or accidental exposure perhaps.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ryan: Right? But the real objective as a parent and as a society would be to educate our kids, to know why pornography is harmful and to avoid it because they recognize its harms.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ryan: Um, and, and the phone is no different in my mind. Like, and that’s what that’s Pinwheels approach Pinwheels approach is to develop a tool that can graduate with the child that can mature with them. And, and, you know, so you can, you can give it to them at a young age, knowing that they’ll be safe on it, but then you can also introduce opportunities for them to, to, to further develop their digital literacy, to start to swim in deeper waters, to eventually take off those floaties. So that, so that as a parent, we’re comfortable launching them into the real world and, and knowing that whatever they get exposed to, they’ve got the tools and the knowhow, um, to, to navigate that space effectively and safely.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Fight the New Drug ad: If you’ve enjoyed listening to Consider Before Consuming, consider making a one-time or recurring donation to support the podcast! Your contribution, whatever the amount, helps support our efforts to educate individuals on the impacts of pornography. Help keep this podcast going by donating to Consider Before Consuming today at ftnd.org/support. That’s F-T-N-D-.-O-R-G forward-slash support.

Garrett Jonsson: As I prepared for the conversation, I was navigating your site to do a little vetting of my own. And one of the things that I found interesting on your website was where you talk about the Vegas Effect. I’m wondering if you can elaborate on that and speak to what that is and why it’s important for caregivers and parents to understand.

Ryan: Sure. Um, I mean, if you, if you imagine a casino in general, uh, you know, it’s a, it’s a space where, um, what the casinos are, are trying to do is to steal the attention of, of those who are in their casinos. And so they do this by removing natural light and, you know, it’s all artificial lighting in there. There’s lots of, there’s lots of fun sounds and, and, uh, flashing lights and fun images. And, you know, they even serve up free or discounted alcohol.

And so they try and make the environment, um, uh, the, the reward for being in the environment, enticing.

Garrett Jonsson: There’s no clocks.

Ryan: Yeah. There’s no clocks.

Garrett Jonsson: No easily accessible exits. [laughter]

Ryan: Exactly. So it’s easy to lose track of time in there cuz they know that that the longer individuals spend in the space, the more money they’re gonna pull from their wallets. And so we, we live in a world today where a lot, and I won’t, I won’t say all social media or all video games or all things, internet based function this way, but a lot of ’em function primarily to just capture your attention.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: They’re, they’re intentionally designed to keep you coming back over and over again. And so often we, you know, we download apps and we utilize these things, thinking that there’s no cost they’re free or they’re super cheap.

But what we don’t realize is that if you’re not paying for a product, then you are the product. And that’s what a lot of internet based businesses have learned is that they can sell your attention. They can sell that to the highest paying bid, be it through ads or through selling your data, um, the way that you interact with the device, the personal data that you actually punch into the device, um, there’s, there’s value in all of that, uh, to, to a seller that, you know, it’s something that’s actually marketable. And so we need to recognize that as parents, because we’re surrounded by it, even if we don’t think we’re a part of it, we probably are a part of it. And in one way or another, we are, we are a product to somebody, whether or not we realize it. And so, um, the whole, the whole concept of, of Pinwheel is to help kids again, develop their digital literacy, help them understand the power of technology and intentionally leverage it toward realizing their full potential so that ultimately, you know, they’re contributing to a better society.

And just by being aware of other companies, other apps, other platforms attempts to, um,…

Garrett Jonsson: Keep our attention…

Ryan: … keep our attention. Yeah. And to hang onto it and have us keep coming back. I think just the awareness of it helps us know to turn it off or to see it in ourselves. Like, “Hey, I’ve probably spent too much time here.”, or “Hey, I’m, you know, I’m heading, heading down a rabbit hole here. Maybe I ought to pull myself out before I get too deep.”

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Um, and I loved your example of the casino cuz I think it explains the Vegas Effect so well, but every one of us, if we’ve ever had a phone, we can relate that the phone, we can spend hours on a phone or on a social media platform. And before we know it, like I said, it’s been hours. So I think we can all relate to that.

And it seems like Pinwheel has identified that issue, especially for, for kids. And it also seems like Pinwheel gets it, that tech can be a good thing. Um, but nothing can replace like real, meaningful, healthy relationships and, and conversations. And it seems like Pinwheel is, is a company that does move the needle toward, uh, you know, improved wellbeing.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah, we are not, Pinwheel is not anti-tech by any means. Um, there, there is technology is a tool. Um, the cell phone, the smartphone is a, is an incredibly powerful tool, especially coupled with the internet. Um, the, you know, the ability to connect with people all over and all of the different, different ways it can enhance our lives. Um, there’s, there’s an enormous amount of value there. But as is the case with any powerful tool, is there is there’s an inherent risk. And so, you know, I mean literally think of any tool and if you don’t know how to, how to use the tool properly, it becomes very dangerous.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm. Yeah. Well, I really liked your swimming example that drew a picture for me of like the progression that it takes to finally jumping off of the high dive, in a sense you start in the kiddie pool or you start, um, on a splash pad and then go to the kitty pool and then you eventually don’t have the life vest on and you’ve taken swimming lessons and all these things. And then all of a sudden you’re on your own having fun. And I’m wondering if you can speak to, how does a parent or caregiver utilize Pinwheel to like gradually help them become more and more digitally literate?

Ryan: Yeah. So there, there are a lot of, uh, internal tools inside of Pinwheel that help help parents navigate this space and help them, uh, incrementally teach their children digital literacy. Um, but I think first it’s also important for parents to recognize that this is not a hands off tool like teaching your kids about this doesn’t happen on its own.

Uh, it takes, it takes time and attention from the parents in order to make it happen the right way I believe. Um, but we’ve, we’ve, we’re doing the best that we can to make it easier for parents because just handing your kid an iPhone and you know, having a couple of conversations here and there with them just isn’t enough. I mean, just as Fight the New Drug always states, like it’s not, it’s not having the sex talk once with your child and thinking you’re, you’re done.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ryan: Like this is an ongoing conversation that evolves over time. And you, you start with, with, you know, simpler discussions and your child is younger and it evolves as your, as your child grows and matures. Um, but some of the things Pinwheel does to, to help parents navigate this space is first of all, the pinwheel phone can be, you know, as simple as controlling.

So you can control which contacts can can call in and, and which contacts your child can reach out to. So, um, if you wanna only put Mom and Dad and maybe Grandma and Grandpa in there is like emergency contacts and only allow your child to call or text with those individuals. And there’s no apps, there’s no other functionality. It just does that. You can do that, but then maybe as your child starts to get a little bit older, you want to turn on picture messaging. For example, there are some dangers with picture messaging. We know that in this world. And so before I do that with my child, I’m gonna talk to them like, what is an appropriate picture message? When do we do this? When do we not do this? I talk to them about frequency. I talk to them about good pictures, bad pictures.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: Um, and so, and that might look different for different parents for different children. Like we, we wanna, we wanna leave, um, the, the, the parents and the caregivers, they’re the ones in the driver’s seat. So they get to decide based on their own parenting techniques, based on the children that they’re working with, um, how this evolves for the child. But then, uh, as your child starts to mature, you’re going to start to introduce different apps and we’ve done, we’ve done a good job at Pinwheel of vetting, which apps are and are not available. Um, we don’t, we don’t dictate everything. Um, but right now we’ve got, uh, just over 400 apps that parents can choose from. And if there’s one in there that we haven’t gotten to yet, parents can also request a particular app. Um, but as your child ages, they’re gonna need more functionality.

They might need, you know, some sort of communication app to communicate with their, with their, uh, their sports team or something like that. Or they might need, you know, different tools for getting homework done, or educational apps or, um, music apps, music apps are some of our most utilized, um, apps. And so, but there comes a time and a place to introduce those to your child depending on their maturity level and what they’re ready for. Um, so we, so the parents through their caregiver portal, they can, they can unlock or lock certain apps. Um, another feature that we have inside of Pinwheel is so when you have a Pinwheel, the parents have a, what they, what we call the caregiver portal and inside of the caregiver portal is where you control all of this. Right? Um, so one of the, what I think is one of the coolest features is, uh, scheduling.

So I can actually set up a schedule so that when my child is in school, they can only call and text with their trusted, with their emergency contacts being me and my Wife

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: Um, and maybe I’ll give them access to a calculator app. Um, but they don’t have access to several other tools that, that they might normally have when they’re out of school during homework mode. I can, I can have it switch over so that it gives them access to other, other tools, other resources, other apps…

Garrett Jonsson: To music…

Ryan: Perhaps prob I don’t know, maybe during homework.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Some classical music or something…

Ryan: Um, and then during free time mode, we don’t have any, any like addictive games or anything like that in there. So, um, but there could be, you know, other, if they want to, if they wanna dig into some educational tools or if they wanna go, you know, utilize some of the other kind of dual lingo or something to practice their, their Chinese or their Spanish or whatever, you know, maybe they have that for a, a couple hours in the evening.

Um, and so you can kind of control what appears on the phone and when, and create these schedules that are dynamic to help the children learn that, “Hey, just because I have access to this app during school, that doesn’t mean it’s time to use that app.” Um, you know, so it’s a very flexible phone to meet the needs and the demands of the individual parent and the unique circumstances of them and the different maturity levels of children and, uh, which are super dynamic. And everybody is different. Every situation, every environment is different. And so we’re not looking to dictate that for parents, we’re, we’re giving them the flexibility to, to manage it.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And to elaborate a little bit more off what you said regarding scheduling. I think one of the things that’s important to talk about and it’s relevant to Fight the New Drug and the harmful effects of pornography is there’s evidence that the highest amount of consumption happens at nighttime when it comes to pornography.

So I think that’s one of the cool features about pinwheel is that you can schedule and say from this hour to this hour, from 10:00 PM until seven in the morning, there is no access to the internet.

Ryan: Exactly. Yeah. And, um, for what it’s worth the way Pinwheel is right now, there is, there actually is no access to the internet. That’s something that we’re looking to resolve, but to be perfectly frank, we’ve not yet found the perfect tool. We’ve not found, um, a browser that we fully trust, um, to keep kids entirely safe online.

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. See, I didn’t know that. So I’m still learning. You’re still convincing me of this and okay, that makes sense.

Ryan: Yeah. So as it stands right now, I mean, yeah, there there’s, no, there is no access to pornography.

Garrett Jonsson: Okay.

Ryan: That being said, I think, I think the product will evolve to the point, uh, where, I mean, a browser is something that kids need eventually, they need to learn how to navigate that landscape.

And so, so that’s, that’s one, one tool that we’re actively looking to, uh, to implement on our device, um, to, to make it, uh, to make it suitable for more mature audiences as well.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Do you have any data showing that pinwheel is moving the needle toward improved wellbeing?

Ryan: Man, such a good question. I mean, ultimately at the end of the day, this is our objective, right? Is to keep kids safe online and not just while they’re using the devices, but helping them mature in a way that they are safe. So it’s a super difficult thing to measure. Um, you know, we are working on some things in internally to be able to measure that in comparison to perhaps kids who didn’t have an opportunity to learn digital literacy incrementally. But, uh, I do think we’re, I do think we’re moving the needle. I really do.

And I think we’re making an impact. Um, and we’ve got, you know, circumstantial evidence. We’ve got individual parents who, who praise us and say that we’ve saved their children. Um, but, but…

Garrett Jonsson: Anecdotal evidence like that is really, really significant.

Ryan: It’s still, it is it’s significant and it’s powerful and it’s meaningful to us in the day to day of, you know, business.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, no, yeah. I think sometimes anecdotal evidence is, is just as powerful, but in, in a different way, obviously it’s, it’s ideal to have both and it’s great to have both, but anecdotal evidence can be very, very powerful, so… as we’ve gone through this conversation, we’ve talked a lot about kids and their importance and their role and they are the future. Um, and we have a lot of listeners who have kids and you’ve done some good convincing, uh, my kids are, my oldest is nine and my wife and I are still in that journey of deciding when we will get them a phone and what type of phone we will get them.

And personally I would choose Pinwheel at this point. Um, yeah. And so, because we have listeners that are interested, I’m wondering if you can hook us up with a discount and funny story about like asking for a discount. My dad’s friend asks for a discount everywhere he goes. And so I learned this from him, like if I’m at Home Depot or like the other day I was at Fan buying a hat and at the register, I’ll just say, “Hey, can you hook it up with like a brother-in-law discount?”

Ryan: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Or like, “Can you give me, can you give me a brother-in-law discount?” And usually people are like confused a little bit, and then I kind of laugh it off. And, but sometimes I end up getting a discount from it. And so I’m just wondering if you can like hook us up with a brother-in-law discount, uh, to use Pinwheel?

Ryan: Yeah, for sure. Of course. Yeah. I, I mean, Fight the New Drug is super dear to my heart, obviously, and I want all the Fighters out there to, to be utilizing Pinwheel devices because I think, I think it really is the best for, for our society and to help kids learn that digital literacy, but, uh, but yeah, uh, use, uh, use code F-T-N-D, Fight the New Drug, FTND10. So F-T-N-D one zero, for 10% off, uh, the purchase. And, uh, yeah, I think, uh, I mean, I really hope parents recognize the value of this. I, uh, you know, Garrett, my, uh, my oldest is nine years old, too, so we’re, we’re in similar boats there, right there. Um, and I’m not, uh, even though I work for pinwheel, we actually tried pinwheel, um, for, uh, for a few months.

And I just felt like it wasn’t time. We weren’t ready. And I think some of that has to do with child temperament. Um, uh, I was right. I was debating saying this because I’ve got an eight year old as well. I actually think my nine year old could handle a cell phone. I don’t, but my eight year old thinks that she should have everything that her sister should have. Her nine year old sister. So it’s, it creates a little bit of a difficult dynamic for us. And I don’t think that she’s mature enough for it yet. And so it does create some internal conflict in my family.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: Um, but I will say this, that, you know, pinwheel is not of the, uh, in nor, nor am I, we, we’re not of the, uh, impression that the, the solution is to put it off as long as possible.

Um, I think the sooner we can have these conversations, the sooner we can start teaching our kids how to navigate the space safely, the better off they’ll be.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Ryan: Um, so rather than starting later in life and, and ramping up quickly, like, I, I would advocate for trying to start a little earlier, keep, uh, keep things simple on the phone and don’t give them access to a lot, but like give them a longer runway to learn how to navigate it, because there’s a lot there there’s a lot to learn. And I mean, parents are the perfect example, us adults out there, like we’re still figuring it out. A lot of us are still figuring it out. You and I are examples of this. We’ve, you know, we, we recognize the, the potential harm. And so we’re, you know, we’re actually pulling, you know, features off of our full-fledged iPhones because it’s too much for us as adults to handle.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh yeah.

Ryan: You know, the, the average age of cell phone, uh, I think a report just came out that says it’s 10.3, uh, years old.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: And, uh, even though I state that I don’t want, I don’t want any of your listeners or, um, parents out there to think that, to use that as a, as a personal guide of like, “When I’m supposed to give my child a cell phone.”, because, because it’s so individualistic, like a children are different. Our parenting techniques are different. Our needs are different. Um, I had this conversation with, with, uh, a colleague where, you know, I was saying, “I would never give my nine year old a cell phone.” And they were, this was early on in, in my Pinwheel days. But, and she was saying, you know, “Well, my, my child is taking a, a taxi to, and from school every day, there’s no way I’d let, ’em go without a cell phone.”

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm.

Ryan: And so like, circumstances are different environments are different needs are different. You know, a lot of, a lot of parents are growing up in households where, where it might be necessary for them to have a phone or to be able to communicate with the adults in their lives or the parents in their lives. And so, yeah, I would just advocate for, um, for us a slower ramp up, like don’t, don’t try and teach your kid to swim when they’re 14 or 15 years old, like sure. They’ll, they’ll learn how to swim, but it’s gonna be, you know, I, I just think there’s, there’s advantages to maybe starting a little earlier and just slowing down the whole process.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. Yeah. In no way, are we trying to make a decision for parents and caregivers of when to give their kid the device, they have to decide.

Ryan: They have to decide, and they know their children and every child is, is mature in different ways and they can handle different amounts of technology so…

Garrett Jonsson: All those dynamics.

Ryan: Yeah. But I would just, I guess, yeah. As is the case with talking to your kids about porn, like “When’s the right age to start?” I would say it’s probably younger than, than you realize.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Ryan: And I think, I think, you know, introducing them to technology and cell phones is probably the same, like maybe start ’em a little younger than you think, but again, simplify it, don’t just hand them an iPhone, but like give them a device, preferably a Pinwheel.

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter]

Ryan: [laughter] Um, yeah. And, and really tighten down, you know, what they can do on that device.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, Ryan from Pinwheel, as I said, Ryan from Pinwheel a couple times, what popped in my brain was Jake from State Farm. [laughter]

Ryan: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: you are the equivalent of Jake from State Farm for Pinwheel.

Ryan: Well, that’s funny cuz whenever I walk into the office, Jordan’s like, “Hey, it’s Ryan, the Fight guy. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: “Ry the Fight guy.” [laughter] Oh that’s hilarious. They should do an ad campaign. And you are the new Ryan from Pinwheel instead of Jake from, from State Farm. This has been a, a good time. I’ve enjoyed this and I’ve learned some stuff and yeah, we’re grateful. I’m grateful. I’ll speak for myself. I’m grateful for, for tech companies that are working to keep my kids safer online.

Ryan: Well, thanks Garrett. Yeah. I appreciate you taking some time and uh, it’s been a pleasure being with you.

Fight the New Drug ad: Having a first phone is an inevitable part of growing up, but kids don’t need unlimited access to graphic, explicit content online. Pinwheel is reimagining the use of technology to help kids become responsible digital natives by designing a phone that promotes healthy device use with the help of licensed therapists. With Pinwheel, you have the tools you need to work together with your child to introduce healthy tech habits, all in a phone free from explicit material. Get 10% off your order today when you visit FTND.org/pinwheel that’s FTND.org/pinwheel.

Garrett Jonsson: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming. Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and a non legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects, using only science facts and personal accounts. If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest and the conversation we had, you can check out the links included with this episode. If you’ve enjoyed listening to Consider Before Consuming, consider subscribing and leaving a review again, big thanks to you for listening to this conversation. As you go about your day, we invite you to increase your supple awareness. Look both ways, check your blind spots and consider before consuming.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.


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A database of the ever-growing body of research on the harmful effects of porn.

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