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This is a series of interviews with the speakers of Digital Family Summit, June 29-July 1.
Read all of the speaker interviews
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Sandie Angulo ChenSandie Angulo Chen is the senior movie critic for Common Sense Media, a leading provider of reviews, information, and tools for parents to make informed decisions about their children’s media consumption. She’s also a contributing entertainment writer for The Washington Post, Variety, Aol’s Moviefone, and MTV’s Next Movie.com. Sandie is the founder of Teen Lit Rocks , an intergenerational online book club and young adult literature site. She’s also the editor in chief of the collaborative local blog The DC Moms, and writes about motherhood, movies, and more at Urban Mama. Sandie lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and three children.

Twitter: @urbanmama, @TeenLitRocks, @CommonSenseNews
Website: Teen Lit Rocks, Urban Mama
Session: Parenting Digital Kids, Saturday, June 30, 04:15 PM 

How did you get involved with blogging?
I got involved with digital media because it was a growing industry when I graduated from college in 1998. At the time, I landed a job at the online edition of a major Time Inc. magazine — but it wasn’t respected the way it is now. But having acquired the skills of a “new media journalist,” I continued to work online as a content writer and editor at AOL. Then in 2003, a good friend who worked at Six Apart encouraged me to start blogging, so I started my Typepad blog and wrote about parenting in Brooklyn. Nine years later and my personal blog isn’t updated that often, but I write for at six professional entertainment outlets, edit a collaborative blog and run a teen lit site — all online, obviously.

If you could travel back in time and send yourself a message, what would it be?
I would tell myself not to listen to the voices of self doubt and to instead listen to voices of encouragement to pursue what really matters to me. I would tell myself not to worry, because unconditional love and friendship will be there for me every step of the way, even when things are difficult. And I’d tell myself to savor every moment/spend as much time as possible with my mother, because you can’t take parents for granted in this life — they don’t all live to be 90 like we would hope.

Any advice for young bloggers?
Don’t give in to the powerful (and trendy) pull of snark and negativity.There’s a place for it, but too much of it can make your content toxic and unapproachable. Read everything you can online and offline; write often and re-read everything you write before you hit the publish button.

What do you think is the greatest opportunity for digital teens today?
Teens have an immediate outlet for their ideas and their projects to make a difference and reach a wider network than their real-life circle of friends or communities. It’s amazing how one person, regardless of age, can reach people around the world by putting something online — a call to action, a funny story, a video — it can have a global impact.

What are you going to talk about at the conference?
I’m speaking on a panel about internet safety basics and tools for parents and their teens to be aware of, whether their kids are creating or just consuming digital media.

What’s next for you after the Digital Family Summit?
I am a senior critic at Common Sense Media, which is a must-read for parents who want to make sure their families are making wise choices when it comes to the media they consume (movies, TV, books, sites, apps, music, games). CommonSenseMedia.org

I run a site called Teen Lit Rocks, where young and adult lovers of young adult literature come together to read, review, and recommend our favorite authors and books. TeenLitRocks.com

And to get my pop culture fill, I write features for sites like MTV’s Next Movie (nextmovie.com) and the Huffington Post’s Movies section, Moviefone.com. That’s where I can be found regularly.


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 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com

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