116: How to Navigate Your Child’s Digital World with Mom and Kids-and-Media Expert Devorah Heitner

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What worries you about technology and your kids?
Is it online predators? Cyber bullying?
The idea that they’ll disappear into their little devices and you’ll never see them again?

My guest today, Devorah Heitner, is an expert at helping us understand technology and our kids – and ourselves.

Because like it or not, we are raising digital natives; we need to get this right!

Devorah has appeared on the Today show, NPR, the Discovery Education Channel; she’s been featured in Time magazine and Real Simple. Most recently, she’s written Screenwise, a book about raising kids in this digital age, highly recommended!

Today – election day if you’re listening in real time – Devorah is on the show to help us understand both raising kids in our digital world, and how to teach civility in this era of utterly uncivil political/public discourse.

To read more about my conversation with Devorah, view her amazing TED-X talk, and to listen to our conversation, go to weturnedoutokay.com/116!

Earlier in her career, Devorah did something really interesting: she helped privileged college students connect with underprivileged third-graders.

As she became interested in technology, the lessons she learned while watching those connections stayed with her, because the very fact of the connections had to do with a key human trait:


Devorah’s TED-X talk, “Empathy is the App,” shares about her research with middle schoolers, kids just a little bit older, most likely, than your kids are right now.

She talks about how much it hurts when your friends are posting pictures on instagram of a birthday party that you weren’t invited to; about kids learning not to continually text-spam when they’re not getting a response; about how tough it is for kids when their parents get so buried in their phones that they ignore the child standing right in front of them.

Each of these issues’ solutions is the same: empathy.

In fact, empathy comes up in just about every part of our conversation, from her new book, Screenwise, about raising kids in the digital age, to how we parents can model the correct way to disagree (hint: it’s not the way the political candidates have been disagreeing!)

I hope you enjoy our conversation. I know it’s one I’ll return to again and again in my quest to remember that empathy must be the basis for how I interact with the world.

Key Links:

Devorah’s book, Screenwise, is a must read if you are raising kids in this digital culture.

Along with her son, Devorah recommends the Finn Caspian podcast.

Also, check out Black College TV, which comes up in our conversation today!