Discover more from Techno Sapiens
Oh hey there!
And so we meet again
Welcome to Techno Sapiens! Subscribe to join 10,000+ other readers and get research-backed tips for living and parenting in the digital age.
One of the strangest things that’s happened since I started writing Techno Sapiens is that every so often…people know stuff about me. It doesn’t happen much, and I can assure you I haven’t crossed remotely into the realm of “fame” or even “my own friends and family actually read this thing regularly,” but still! I get a kick out of it every time.
I’ll be at a party, for example, and meet a friend of a friend, and I’ll say, So great to meet you, what’s your name? And they’ll say Did you end up buying that cream-colored Athleta sweater you kept getting Instagram ads for?
Or I’ll hop on a Zoom call with a professional acquaintance, and I’ll say, Remind me what your company does? And they’ll say Is your son’s favorite food still bean soup?
Writing on the Internet is an odd experience. Most of the time, you’re just sitting at your desk, wearing your favorite slippers1 and oversized sweatshirt, clicking letters on your laptop keyboard, and shifting your fingers ever so slightly to press the “send” button. And then you’re standing in front of your open fridge with a thousand-yard stare, eating leftover chicken tikka masala straight from the container, and suddenly thousands of people you’ve never met are reading about that time you broke all the plates while waitressing in college.
The even stranger part of it all is that I feel like I know all of you, too. As I nestle myself comfortably into your inbox each week, and I dig into your email replies and survey responses and comments, I feel happily enveloped in this weird little Internet community we’ve created.2
And yet, there are many things we still don’t know about each other. As the Techno Sapiens community has grown, it’s become harder to know even the basics: Where are you from? [Connecticut] How old are you?  Do you have kids? [Yes, one]. Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? [Horse-sized duck, obviously].3
So let’s re-introduce ourselves.
A little bit about me
I’m a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at Brown. Before that, I got my PhD at UNC Chapel Hill and my undergrad degree at Harvard.
I’m a researcher who studies how technology and social media impact mental health (especially for teens), and how parents can help their kids navigate it. As a clinical psychologist, I’m also trained as a therapist—mostly in CBT and DBT. I’ve been lucky enough to share my work in some cool places, from testifying before congress to interviews with the Wall Street Journal and (my personal favorite) Emily Oster.
A year and a half ago, I became a parent myself, and after 22 years of schooling, the real learning began.4 I started writing Techno Sapiens to share the latest research on psychology, technology, and parenting, plus what I'm learning along the way.
Oh, and I live with my wonderful husband (who doubles as my editor) and son (who doubles as my alarm clock). My hobbies including: running, yoga, crossword puzzles, reading non-fiction (mostly memoirs), watching Jeopardy!,5 and searching for the best coffee and bagel in New England.6
K. I think that about covers it.
Please fill out this 2-minute survey
Over the past year, Techno Sapiens has grown into a bigger and more important part of my life than I ever imagined. I have lots of exciting plans for the near future: new essays and interviews, more insights on the latest research and tips for tech parenting, experiments with audio and video, and paid subscriptions with new perks and bonus content.
But before we get there, I want to get to know you a little better.
Techno sapiens, please help me learn more about you by filling out this very brief (less than 2 minutes), anonymous survey.7
Thanks for your help and, as always, thanks for being here.
You may remember that in a recent post, I happened to mention my ongoing love affair with the L.L.Bean Women’s Wicked Good Moccasins. The number of people who reached out to share that they, too, love these slippers was truly astonishing. Sure, a few also expressed barely-concealed judgement over the fact that I “love these slippers as if they were my own child,” but I assume that’s because they’re not thinking straight due to their cold, uncomfortable footwear.
I even learn very specific things about you from all your emails and notes, like the fact that you’re a grandparent who’s wondering about the effects of screen time on your grandchild’s brain, or that you’re a therapist who’s interested in the concept of hedonic adaptation, or that you’re a parent who once brought a vibrator to your needle-phobic child’s vaccination appointment in an attempt to recreate the $50 “Buzzy” device that claims to reduce children’s pain during shots. Let me tell you, bringing-a-vibrator-to-your-kid’s-vaccine-appointment-and-not-caring-one-bit-what-other-people-think-about-it is exactly the energy I think we should all be bringing into 2023. Please, techno sapiens, keep sending me these kinds of stories.
Too many variables unaccounted for with the 100 mini-horses. They could team up on you. They could go for your eyes! Imagine 200 tiny hooves battering your kneecaps! Horse-sized duck is absolutely the safer bet. See this video of Bill Murray for a deeper analysis.
Another thing that happened when I had my own child is I developed a newfound respect for my own parents, who had an astonishing six kids over the course of 16 years (I’m second oldest), and are somehow still thriving?
Love the trivia, love the efficiency (14 minutes per episode if fast-forwarding through commercials), love the overall vibe of the official Jeopardy! Twitter account. Do not love the contestant fun facts halfway through each episode. Watching contestants struggle through these horrifically awkward stories gives me the same feeling I get when watching The Bachelor: absolute teeth-gritting, eye-covering, palm-sweating, second-hand embarrassment. Why, Jeopardy?! Why do you do this to your contestants?
A current contender for best coffee and bagel: White Electric in Providence, RI. Please send other nominations, preferably in Connecticut (where I live) or Rhode Island (where I work), though I am open to traveling for a particularly good everything bagel. Will share results.
I recognize that a two-minute, anonymous survey does not actually constitute me getting to know you, so I’d also welcome emails to email@example.com with any other information about yourself you’d like to share: fun facts, stories, further analysis of the horse-vs-duck issue, etc. I promise I read them all!