Back to School with Teodora
This piece was originally published on the Linewize blog in September 2021. To see the original, please click here.
As we find ourselves in a school year unlike any other, it’s hard to tell whether we feel more excitement or apprehension - or a confusing mixture of both. It’s no surprise given that, for so many children, this back-to-school season marks the first time - in a long time - that they’ve walked their school halls alongside friends and teachers.
Many of the complexities of this global pandemic played out on one grand stage: The Internet. Those who were fortunate enough to have access to it were able to remain connected to friends and family, stay up-to-date on the latest global developments, and continue to work and learn even while in the confines of their own home. Nearly 18 months later, the verdict is in: Yes, tech access was at times critical (whether to reliably access Google Classroom, Zoom, or TikTok), but it was also often overwhelming, unsafe, and detrimental to our well-being - our children’s especially. This is where my work as a psychologist and digital wellness expert comes in, and why I am beyond thrilled to be joining Linewize by FamilyZone as the Lead Cyber Safety and Digital Wellness Expert.
Linewize: Protecting every child's digital journey
Having worked with children and adults internationally for over a decade in many diverse settings, I came to the realization several years ago that I could no longer care for children’s and parents’ well-being without taking into consideration the impact modern-day technology was having on them, both as individuals and as a family unit. To address this, I have spent the recent half of that decade exploring how digital technologies are designed and how we relate to them, and through my one-on-one work as well as my workshops, writings, and public speaking engagements I have sought to help youth and adults make intentional decisions about their technology use and build healthier and more balanced tech habits.
Now, as part of Linewize, I will be able to expand and elevate this work to an entirely new level, and reach millions of students while doing so. Our Community Digital Wellness Program combines state-of-the-art content filtering and cyber safety tools for schools with expert-approved education and guidance for parents, students, and teachers. My focus will be on building out informative and practical resources on our Online Safety Hub, ensuring that parents always have the most up-to-date information on trending apps, games, and cyber safety issues, and that they have access to specialized digital wellness programming that will help simplify issues like negative online behaviors, how to set up a cyber safe home and how to encourage digital citizenship in your children, among many others.
My joining the team comes at a critical time for our schools just as much as their families, and as we all take steps to help ourselves and our children emerge from one of the greatest trials humanity has ever gone through, I am grateful - and hopeful - for the opportunity to support these communities in making healthy, safe and informed decisions around the new-and-improved role technology will play in our post-pandemic reality.