Digital Family Summit Saturday

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Saturday at Digital Family Summit was a nerve center of creativity and excitement, as the kids and parents — along with speakers and sponsors — came together for a full day of panels, hands-on workshops, and keynote addresses. 

Tereza Nemessanyi,  founder and CEO of the advice site Honestly Now, spoke to Digital Family morning keynote attendees about “Becoming an Overnight Sensation,” which for her involves finding your voice, finding your people and making connections. 

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After that message, the hard choices among fantastic content began.

Panels included Theresa Payton’s presentation on keeping kids safe online. Payton is a national authority on cybersecurity, e-crime and fraud mitigation, and technology implementation.  

For attendees who wanted a deeper hands-on learning experience, Saturday featured the Action! Digital Video Workshop, led by Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo and the Let’s Go! Travel Blogging Workshop with Kim Orlando

Aftern0on panels included powerhouses Helen Jane Hearn, Sheila Bernus Dowd and Tauni Everett, speaking about the internet as the “20th Century Paper Route.”  

Just down the hall, three teenagers who went way beyond the paper route – Daniel BrusilovskyNick Normile, aka @foodieatfifteen and a venture capitalist who has put blogging on the back burner to study in the Wharton School at UPenn, and Tori Molnar (@myutoria@shecanmakechange) of She Can Make Change – shared their paths to business and social media success, along with a helping of philanthropy, when they were barely in their teen years. 

Want to know what it was like to meet Steve Jobs? Daniel did, and is currently in the Silicon Valley as founder and CEO of Teens in Tech Labs, forging his own path in technology and innovation. Nick got a boost from blogging, which he did to pursue and early interest in food and restaurants, but his focus now is academics. At 14, Tori’s mission is to help other young women make smart business decisions and to grow as entrepreneurs. You can find out more about her efforts here

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The Family That Blogs Together panel was fascinating, as moms and kids who work separately and together online discussed what that’s like, including how they’ve evolved as individuals and families through the course of their blogging efforts. Dwan Perrin and her daughter Tapanga Perrin, Stephanie and Xander Hansen (chat with him if you want to know the benefits of making quality — and lucrative — Minecraft YouTube videos), Michele McGraw and kids Nathan and Sami, were expertly moderated in discussion by Sarah Auerswald, co-founder of MomsLA

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After lunch and a fast-paced Ignite presentation from speakers and sponsors, another amazing panel of teens talked about “Growing up Digital.” IMG_8103 Lane Sutton is a social media coach to colleges and universities at just 15. Maili Anne McBride is an author who began publishing on Wattpad. where it’s popularity skyrocketed to 1.5 million reads (now available in print and online.) Maya Ganesan, a poet since the age of four, published her first full-length collection at 11, and has co-organized TedX Redmond (Washington) since 2010.

Each of these young people spoke about the challenges and advantages of growing up in a fully digital environment, of pursuing their goals with focus and determination, coping with peers, and relying on the support of family, who helped each of them much along the way. 

Seriously, who could choose? While panels like Is That Even Legal with Danielle Liss delved into crucial topics of copyright and fair use online, Ricarose Roque of MIT taught a wildly popular Scratch animation workshop, and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo from the Parsons School of Design taught digital photography. The afternoon wrapped with panels including Parenting Digital Kids, with Amy Mascott, Leticia Barr, and Sandie Angulo Chen, Secrets of Professional Blog Design with Dresden Shumaker and Jo-Lynne Shane. A rousing final keynote with Dave Carroll, whose customer service nightmare with United Airlines ended up in a career in public speaking. 

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What could top Saturday at Digital Family Summit? Sunday. Stay tuned! 

Laurie White

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