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 Families Managing Media (FMM) and the Screen Strong initiative launched in 2018. 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 FMM.
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 Families Managing Media 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. She has worked for Families Managing Media since 2018.
Meagan Church is a writer, wordsmith, and storyteller by trade. She earned a BA in English from Indiana University. She has worked as a freelance writer for over a decade, melding her storytelling talents and writing expertise with a variety of projects for an array of publications, readers, and clients.
Even while raising kids in a digitally-saturated culture, she and her husband have delayed entertainment screen use for their three kids. They believe in the importance of building grit, teaching life skills, and leaving space for boredom. They are advocates for family time over screen time.
Amy Colgan Eytchison is a writer, editor, and educator based in Nashville, Tennessee. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina Journalism School, Amy worked as a lifestyles reporter for two daily newspapers, writing about issues related to family life, before switching to public relations and advertising writing. When her children were born, she began freelance writing and editing, as well as homeschooling.
Because Amy became interested in the research surrounding electronic screens and their effect on childhood development when her children were young, she and her husband limited screen time and instead substituted read-alouds, music, art, sports, drama, and other creative activities throughout the growing up years. She’s passionate about sharing the message of Families Managing Media so that she can help encourage the next generation to become creators, rather than consumers.
Boards & Advisors
Michael Salamone, 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