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Devorah  Heitner

Devorah Heitner

Author, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in their Digital World


Dr. Devorah Heitner is the authority that parents turn to for empowering, research-based advice on raising resilient and kind kids in our always-connected, increasingly challenging world. Advocating for mentoring, not (just) monitoring, her keynotes engage audiences with fresh insights about Digital Natives, communication across the generations and what it’s really like to  grow up in the digital age. Read More >

Dr. Heitner addresses common fears and concerns with research-based, realistic approaches, and a developmentally-focused, tech-positive mindset. Her talks take on common issues ranging from repairing digital mistakes and increasing empathy in our digital interactions to understanding changing conceptions of personal privacy and creating a culture of responsible, digital citizenship. All while validating parents with a timeless takeaway: Your lifetime of social wisdom is powerful, relevant and more valuable than ever. Now, share it to mentor your tech-savvy kids.

A noted expert on young people’s relationship with digital media and technology, Dr. Heitner is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and founder of Raising Digital Natives, a resource for schools and organizations wishing to cultivate a culture of responsible digital citizenship. Her curriculum, (co-authored with K. Jacobson) Connecting Wisely: Social Emotional Insights and Skills for Plugged in Kids is used by schools to cultivate a culture of empathy and social/emotional literacy. Dr. Heitner’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple,  TIME magazine and Education Week. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology and Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern. Dr. Heitner is delighted to be raising her own digital native, too.

Dr. Heitner has spoken at many national and international conferences including, SXSW EDU, TEDx, NAIS, ISTE, NCAIS, AAUW and to numerous groups of parents, educators, students and employees (at Google, Northern Trust, etc.), consistently earning rave reviews. Described by one client as “engaging, interesting, relevant and collaborative,” Dr. Heitner is lauded for translating the digital world “in ways that honor children and adults, and that offer a vision for nurturing sound judgement and independence as they grow.” Where they once felt overwhelmed, parents and educators leave informed and empowered to mentor children through the increasingly complex digital world. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Empathy is the App

Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive in Their Digital World

Screenwise Book Trailer

Devorah Heitner on WTTW

Speech Topics

Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive in Their Digital World

Parents today worry that kids are addicted, detached or distracted because of digital devices. Often, adults are less conscious about what they are modelling with their own relationship with technology. According to Dr. Devorah Heitner, our concern should go far beyond what kids are doing today. These tech-savvy Digital Natives need mentorship to thrive, develop social skills and succeed in a future where they will likely find a job, meet their spouse and build their reputations in interactive, digital communities. Drawing from Screenwise, her popular guidebook for parents and from the latest research, Dr. Heitner provides gems of guidance to help parents become confident digital media mentors to texters, gamers and social media users from preschool to young adult. You’ll learn what it is like for children to grow up in a world where school experiences, family life and friendships are all shaped by digital connection—and how you can share your own lifetime of social wisdom to mentor children to become the best people that they can be.

Social/Emotional Milestones in the Digital Age

First email account. First gaming avatar. First social media account.  First smartphone. There are many milestones involved in growing up in the digital age. This talk for professional (counselors, educators and school leaders) informs these professionals about the latest research on digital natives and helps them to appropriately support young people as they encounter and master these digital skills. Audiences leave with a powerful message: Limiting or monitoring technology is no substitute for mentoring and engagement.

Navigating Reputation in the Digital Age (Why Branding Yourself is BS!)

Young people are told to "brand themselves" for college applications and to find work. But people are complicated and multi-faceted. You are more than a brand. Yes, you can look at your digital footprint and put your best foot forward, but you can also resist the attempt to have a perfectly curated life. And you can recognize that your peers and mentors have complex and multi-faceted lives, too. Growing up in the digital age makes social comparison too easy. This talk busts some of the myths of "personal brand" to emphasize the positives of being yourself and recognizing the pitfalls of social comparison.

From Voicemail to Slack, Navigating Different Tech Generations on Workplace Teams

This talk emphasizes how communicating about how to communicate is crucial. Heitner myth-busts the stereotypes about Generation Z and millennial workers and shares the many advantages of intergenerational teams at work.

Can You Ever Unplug in the Remote Workplace?: Finding Balance in the New Normal

The research is in. Always on is NOT the most productive. But the tools and connectivity are 24/7 and for many colleagues, they are right there at home? How can we create boundaries and get the whole team, including leadership, to buy in.

Onboarding Generation Z: Understanding Today's College Graduates

In this talk for recruiters, HR and anyone who hires and trains new and recent graduates, Heitner shares her own research and other data about Gen Z to help understand how to recruit, inspire and mentor this generation for the best results.

Admissions Myths & Realities (For K-12 Parents or For Higher Ed)

Heitner shares her research on admissions to reduce fear and increase understanding of the realities of today's admissions landscape.