“Growing Up in Public” Author Speaks at RPCS
At Roland Park Country School, the health and wellness of our community is a priority, and we are committed to supporting our students’ emotional well-being to help them thrive. An important piece of this is the rapidly evolving role that technology and social media plays in their lives, even from an early age.
To that end, we were delighted to welcome Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., an expert in the uses of technology and social media among children and adolescents, as the guest speaker for our annual Doug and Carol Croft Linde, 1982 Health Colloquium in October. Dr. Heitner is the author of Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World and Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN Opinion. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul University and Northwestern University.
Dr. Heitner spoke with our Lower and Middle School parent community, which was followed by breakout sessions with families in grades K-6 that included conversations around ways to set expectations and boundaries with children and how to offer support. The following day, she met with all of our students in grades 4-12 by division, as well as with our counseling team, division heads, assistant heads of school and members from our tech team and STEAM department.
Throughout her conversations with students and parents and guardians, Dr. Heitner offered realistic, research-based and actionable approaches for being thoughtful and intentional in this digital age. “Phones are a great tool for communication, but if yours is making you feel bad, it’s time to put it away,” she told the Upper and Middle School students. She discussed navigating friendships and relationships online, how “growing up in public” can affect children’s self-esteem, reputation, and time management and how parents can “mentor instead of monitor” their children’s phone use. Dr. Heitner also spoke to the students about coping strategies when faced with the fear of missing out (FOMO), ways to not let phone use interfere with sleep and the importance of evaluating how meaningful “likes” and “follows” are compared to real friendships. Dr. Heitner’s message was optimistic and non-judgmental, and we appreciated her tips and advice to use technology in ways that benefit us instead of harm us.
About the Doug and Carol Croft Linde, 1982 Health Colloquium
The Doug and Carol Croft Linde, 1982 Health Colloquium allows RPCS to engage nationally recognized wellness speakers and researchers annually to work in partnership with our students, employees and parents – as well as the local community. These academic seminars with industry professionals enable RPCS young women to explore their interests in mental and physical health while also equipping them and their families with the tools and insight needed to flourish across any stage of life. The Colloquium was originally funded by past parents Barbara and James (Jim) Robinson and supported through the Annual Fund.