What is ScreenStrong™?
Living ScreenStrong means your kids’ screen use is balanced. You keep the benefits of technology, but delay the harm. You hit the pause button on addictive screens (video games, social media, and smartphones) until your kids are developmentally ready.
What does screen balance look like?
- Your child has a “take it or leave it” attitude about screens.
- Your child is not arguing about screen time.
- Your child chooses time with humans over more screen time.
- Your child is not lying about screen use and there is no secrecy.
- Your child is no longer stressed or anxious as a result of screen overuse.
- Your child does not resist getting off screens.
What are the ScreenStrong recommendations?
Minimize early exposure. Don’t let your children and teens develop an early dependency on their screens. Delay smartphones, video games, and social media through late adolescence.
Maximize relationships. Change the environment to reflect a people-centered—not screen-centered—lifestyle. Replace the virtual worlds with real relationships, real play, and real life experiences.
In 2011, Melanie Hempe uncovered the dark world of video game addiction as she realized that her son’s gaming had finally crossed the line. She set out to help other struggling families and to her surprise had over 125 parents attend her first information meeting at a local school. From that meeting, the first book club for moms was organized and Families Managing Media (FMM) was born.
Turns out, like Melanie, families everywhere were not prepared for the tidal wave of technology flooding their homes, and children and teens were being lost in the world of video games and smartphones. Parents began looking for answers to the chaos and quickly discovered that FMM’s simple solutions were resulting in life-changing experiences at home.
Through our ScreenStrong initiative (launched in 2018), FMM has delivered hundreds of seminars throughout the country, written for local and national print magazines, and been featured on national TV and radio outlets.
Studies show that excessive screen use can lead to significant mental, physical, and social issues for young people of all ages, so ScreenStrong provides proven ideas for healthier alternatives that rebuild relationships between the child, their family, and the real world.
Melanie Hempe, BSN, RN (Ret.)
Melanie Hempe is the Founder and Executive Director of ScreenStrong. Melanie educates parents on the negative consequences of excessive screen use and teaches them how to incorporate healthier alternatives that rebuild relationships between their child, their family and the real world. She is also a sought-after speaker and national thought leader on these topics. Her expertise and willingness to share the personal story of her family is at the heart of ScreenStrong.
Dawn Poulterer Woods
Dawn has her undergraduate degree in English from Messiah College and her master’s degree in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has worked with adolescents, families, college age individuals, children, couples, and sexual offenders over the past 20 years in both private practice and the school system. Dawn has witnessed screen addiction steal relationships and derail the path of purpose in many people’s lives.
She speaks and writes for ScreenStrong with a goal of helping families reclaim their kids from screen addictions and reconnect in a healthy way.
Olivia Kernekin is a working professional located in Dallas, Texas. She earned a dual degree in English and Dramatic Arts from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. A true jack-of-all-trades, she has worked many jobs in theatrical, medical, financial, and humanitarian fields.
Though Olivia doesn’t have kids quite yet, she is passionate about pausing screens and returning childhood to the great outdoors.
Boards & Advisors
Jonathan Daniell, Chairman
Ronald L. Brown, MD
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
John Rosemond, Psychologist
Ronald Brown, MD
Hilarie Cash, MD
Andrew Doan, MD
Victoria Dunckley, MD
Richard Freed, PhD
Tom Kersting, MA, LPC
Sonny Long, DDS, MS
Jennifer McCauley, MD
Cris Rowan, OT
Leonard Sax, MD
Raymond L Swetenburg, MD
Kenneth D. Weeks, Jr., MD
Dawn Poulterer Woods