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Devorah  Heitner

Devorah Heitner

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

Biography

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.

Empathy is the App

In the digital world, no skill is more crucial than empathy.  Dr. Heitner’s research with Digital Natives shows that kids are highly attuned to the relationship challenges and stressors that constantly-connected digital lives can create. Expanding on her popular TEDx talk, she shows how to mentor kids and teach them the criteria for making thoughtful decisions. This inspiring presentation addresses empathy, boundaries and etiquette that can set children up to for a lifetime of success as digital communicators. Dr. Heitner’s compelling stories from her research with young people demonstrate the urgent need to mentor our children. She also shows that kids are ready to co-create solutions, if we just listen to them.

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.

Kids Don’t Always Love Technology: Engaging Communities with Tech Initiatives

Drawing on her research with young people, parents and educators, Dr. Heitner offers a helpful framework for thoughtfully engaging parents and kids with educational technology initiatives. By sharing experiences from a range of independent and public schools, she can empower educators to understand parents and students at a deeper level without resorting to assumptions that can hamper engagement and undermine success.