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Devorah Heitner Helps Kids Survive in the Digital World

Apr. 11, 2017
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Unlike previous generations, today’s kids are digital natives, having grown up with mobile devices, computers and the internet. Most children in the United States get their first smartphone around age 10, and according to research published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend an average of 10 hours and 45 minutes a day, seven days a week, with media. That translates into 75 hours and 15 minutes per week, nearly twice as many hours as their parents put into their full-time jobs. 

Alarming new research about the effects of technology on kids’ sociability, emotional connectedness and mental health have caused many parents and educators to wonder if an over-reliance on digital communication is doing more harm than good. Media expert Devorah Heitner, however, believes that technology offers kids huge opportunities, and that by positive mentoring and monitoring, we can help all kids succeed in our collective digital future. In her book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Survive (and Thrive) in the Digital World, Heitner argues that technology can be an overwhelming force for good in children’s lives. Her insightful book serves as a practical guide to understanding what it is like for children to grow up completely immersed in technology and offers quick ideas to supplement and positively direct kids’ digital savvy. 

Heitner is an educational consultant who focuses on helping schools foster responsible digital citizenship. She received her doctorate degree in media/technology and society from Northwestern University, where she has also taught. Heitner will speak about Screenwise at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 17 at University School of Milwaukee. This free event is co-sponsored by Boswell Book Co.

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