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Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, MD
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Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, M.D., F.A.A.P., pediatrician, author, and health journalist is CEO of Pediatrics Now, a health and communications company dedicated to providing reliable information to today’s busy families. The popular parenting website Pediatrics Now is the cornerstone of Pediatrics Now’s work.

Dr. Gwenn is one of the most highly sought after child health and cyber safety experts seen and heard in the media today, with regular appearances in print, online, radio, TV, and in community and national events as an invited speaker. As a writer and quoted expert, Dr. Gwenn has been featured in USA Today, Reuters, Chicago Sun Times, LiveStrong.org, iVillage, and MomLogic, among others. Her TV work includes appearances on NECN, FoxNews Boston, ABC News, Nancy Grace, and Good Morning America. She has been an invited speaker to a multitude of groups including local parenting groups, book stores, libraries, the AAP, the National Association of Medical Communicators, and the Family Online Safety Institute. Dr. O’Keeffe also contributes material and advice to a myriad of corporate groups including WebMD, Symantec, Yahoo!, iKeepSafe, and Facebook.

Dr. Gwenn is a Fellow and National Spokeswoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a member of the Executive Committee of the Council on Communications and Media. she’s represented the AAP at the FTC’s Protecting Kids’ Privacy Online: Reviewing The COPPA Rule (June 2010), authored the AAP’s social media parenting tips and the recent clinical report, The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families (April 2011), and speaks often to the media, Nationally and Internationally, on behalf of the AAP about the impact of the digital world on today’s kids.

Dr. Gwenn’s newly released book, CyberSafe (10/1/2010, AAP Publishing), continues her journey to help parents keep their kids safe online. The first of its kind on the market by a media-pediatrician, CyberSafe empower parents to participate with their digital kids and teens by understanding how and why they use the digital world.

Dr. Gwenn lives in a Massachusetts with her husband and very digital teenage daughters who have taught her more about the online world of kids than any study ever could.

Entries by Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, MD

My Year Unplugged: How I Found My Off Switch

(2) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 4:43 PM

At the kick off of this year's National Cyber Security Awareness Month last week in Boston, the closing panel discussed "10 Years of Cybersecurity: How Far We've Come and How Far We Need to Go." It was a great review of every topic imaginable from the technologies we've...

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The Best Mother's Day Gifts Are Free

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 4:27 PM

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh


Each year, we go through the same drill. My girls ask me what I want for Mother's Day and...

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Ready to Turn Off Screens? I Am!

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 5:47 PM

Next week is Screen Free Week. The concept is a cousin of the National Day of Unplugging, except it occurs for an entire week.

It can be easy to become overwhelmed with the concept of reducing screens with school and work in the mix. After all, we...

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Preparing for the National Day of Unplugging: No Time Like the Present

(3) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 9:55 AM

The National Day of Unplugging is just around the corner -- March 1. What's amazing about this movement is it predates Facebook having started in 2002! I learned about it a few years ago and have been hooked ever since. Once I started to unplug, I honestly haven't...

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The Arts and Our Kids: An Essential Element for Success

(2) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 11:00 AM

Watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

Some moments in our kids' lives become epic in their impact on them and their ability to refocus us, as their parents. In my 18 year old daughter's life, one of those moments occurred when she was in second...

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For Kids to Play Well in the Same (Digital) Sandbox, Parents Must, Too

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2012 | 9:33 AM

It's an odd phenomenon these days. We used to tell our kids to play well together and when it doesn't go so well and they become stubborn about apologizing we scratch our heads and wonder why. It's no big mystery, actually. Just look in the digital mirror. They learned how...

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Eric Whitacre: Helping People See in Technicolor

(4) Comments | Posted November 26, 2012 | 8:44 AM

Watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

When I was asked to comment on Eric Whitacre's TEDTalk, "A Virtual Choir 2000 Voices Strong" and think about "how collective action can influence our world -- from social media driving social change to the mystical possibilities...

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Embracing Your Parenting Superpower

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2012 | 1:39 PM

Can I share with you a secret? Many days I wish I had superpowers. It's true. And, I feel much better now that you know.

My family loves all things superhero so I'm sure that hasn't helped my fantasy of one day waking up and being able to get...

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When New Social Technology Knocks, Resistance Is Futile... Or Is It?

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 5:16 PM

Have you seen the latest in digital gadgetery? If you haven't, you'll notice this latest gizmo, "Google Glass," strikes a close resemblance to Jordi's visor in Star Trek's Next Generation, as you can see here.

Talk about life imitating art. Wow!

Glasses like this are all over...

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Kids Under 13 on Facebook? Not So Fast!

(10) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 10:37 AM

So, by now you've heard the buzz: Facebook wants to allow kids under 13 into their social media club. Here's what you may not know, or remember: This isn't new news. In fact, a year ago this month, Mark Zuckerberg made the exact same statement just as a...

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Are You Feeling Swallowed up by Social Media? How About A Time Out?

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2012 | 12:28 PM

I was hunting for a quote about social media for a recent talk I was giving and stumbled upon an article that began with these lines:

"Social media is already massive. And growing at the speed of avalanche."

The first word that popped to my mind was "yes!"....

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Texting While Driving vs. Digital Space Squatting: When in Doubt, squat!

(2) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 6:09 PM

It's true. I sometimes linger in parking spaces to text, talk on my cell phone or check email. I've been doing it for a while. It drives me bonkers when I see people walking and using their phones, checking their phones in line at Starbucks, or, worse, using their phones...

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Disney's Habit Heroes: A Review From a Pediatrician Mom Who Experienced It

(42) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 4:25 PM

It was incredibly serendipitous that my family was vacationing at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. when the scuttlebutt over the Habit Heroes exhibit erupted. As a mom, pediatrician and health expert, I've learned over the years to not buy into the emotional uproar of these situations...

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Parents: Your Media Use Is the Blueprint Your Kids Use for Theirs

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2012 | 5:39 PM

When you think of the word 'social', what comes to mind? Is it a happy, positive image, or an unhappy, negative one?

Technically speaking, the adjective 'social' is defined by dictionary.com as "pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social...

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Teen Responsibility Doesn't Happen -- It's Nurtured

(9) Comments | Posted January 27, 2012 | 8:46 PM

"If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, 
put some responsibility on their shoulders." 
-- Abigail Van Buren

Do you feel kids today are as responsible as kids a generation ago?

This recent conversation with a mom opened my eyes to this age-old concern:

Mom: Are...

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Lights, Presents, Sugar... Action! Minimizing Holiday Overload, Maximizing Holiday Family Fun

(2) Comments | Posted December 20, 2011 | 11:46 AM

The countdown has begun, for young and old.

This is one of my most favorite times of the year, except for one thing: Christmas Day starts too early in the Dr. Gwenn house. We celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah and, I'll admit, one of my most favorite parts of...

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Let Kids Be Kids

(10) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 3:31 PM

A's in school. Elite sports teams. All-year sports. Weekend sports games. Weekend music rehearsals. Evening play rehearsals. First chair in orchestras and bands. National competitions in academics, sports and the arts. Hours of homework each night. State testing. School tests and projects.

This is our kids' life.

If...

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Teach Kids Healthy Social Media Habits by Having Them Yourself

(1) Comments | Posted August 16, 2011 | 3:09 PM


Does this Oscar Mayer commercial remind you of your family?

If so, you're very much not alone. I don't think there's a parent among us who hasn't experienced this at least once. If the truth be told, I've lost count how often I've had to resort to some interesting tactics to get my overly plugged in teens' attention, recently and when they were younger. I've texted, IM'd, stood in front of the screen and hit the off switch... but shutting off the house power... brilliant. Honestly. I wish I had thought of that one.

I'll add, though, that I worry less about the kids using technology at the end of the day than I do when I see a family out to dinner, or during an outing, with kids and adults both plugged in and not engaging. How will our kids learn to experience the 'real' world if they are always plugged in??

I was at a local mall not too long ago when I saw an entire family whip out techno-devices during a quick food court lunch. The table had more digital devices on it than food!

When I think of the big picture of our kids digital lives, there are two simple ways to help them learn balance and be OK with living a life more unplugged:

1. Keeping them busy with activities that don't involve plugs.
2. Being a role model for technological balance and appropriate use.

Our kids are savvy enough to see through us if we try to preach one path but follow another. Our kids watch us closely and pick up on everything we do, especially our lapses. So, if we tell them to not text and drive but do it ourselves... we lose credibility and they'll test it out. If we tell them to not be on Facebook so much but are always checking, at home and on our cellphones, they'll follow suit. 


With school around the corner, now is the perfect time to think about the type of digital home you want to have and inch towards a more healthy one. Here's some thoughts to ponder between now and Labor Day to get you on your way: 


1. Unplug and often. Think about where you plug in. Do you really need to be on the phone while at a coffee shop or Target? How about grocery shopping?

2. How often do you check email or obsess over your Facebook, Google+ or other social media accounts? If you can't go a good 4-6 hours with out checking, you may have a problem. We can all get hardwired to think we need to check, but we actually don't. What are you worried you are going to miss and from who?

3.Think about who are friending and why. Are you collecting people just because or do the folks on your various SM lists have meaning and provide value to you personally or professionally?

4.Post smartly and judiciously. If you are a poster but never respond to anyone, why is that?

5. Good connections have boundaries. Be careful how you post, who you post to and make sure your privacy settings are what you want them to be.

6. Have home family use rules that make sense and everyone needs to follow. Here's my family media use plan that you can use or modify for your family.

Over the coming weeks I'll tease through these issues in more detail. This is one area in our lives we can have our cake and eat it, too, if we're willing to make the necessary changes ourselves. It's all in balance and moderation... and remembering that what our kids see us do today are what they'll try out tomorrow....

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Internet Safety Month: A Guide for Educating Kids, Parents

(4) Comments | Posted June 19, 2011 | 1:50 PM

Have you ever noticed that the minute you attempt to inform your kids about something they tune you out with that all too familiar look. It plays out for them like a scene in Charlie Brown with our sage words of wisdom sounding like muffled, meaningless noises.

Clearly we...

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