S4E4: How to Thrive in the Digital World with Susan Reynolds

In this episode, Cathy interviews Susan Reynolds about improving our tech-life balance and digital wellbeing. 

My guest today is Susan Reynolds. As co-founder of the nonprofit organization LookUp, Susan helps young people minimize the negative effects of technology and lead healthier, more balanced lives. She also teaches, speaks, leads workshops, and facilitates panels to educate and empower Gen Z to find and implement their own solutions to the detrimental aspects of social media and digital distraction.

Previously, Susan was an English and social studies teacher and curriculum developer. In addition, she was the first Director of Academic Technology at the Fenn School in Concord, MA. There, she developed a curriculum that focused on harnessing the positive aspects of technology while mitigating the negative ones. She graduated with a BA from Dartmouth College and a Master’s in Education from Tufts University. As a yoga and mindfulness teacher, Susan brings mindful technology to her work with LookUp’s youth leaders and innovators.

In this episode, Susan and I discuss the harmful effects social media and digital technology can have on mental health and wellbeing.

And how she works with youths to help them take advantage of the positive aspects of technology and mitigate the harmful ones. We also talk about why she believes Gen Z is well positioned to be agents of change, which may also be a tailwind for new legislation that regulates digital media—specifically, the California Kids code. Unfortunately, since we recorded this episode, Susan has shared that California Kids is now facing an even bigger uphill battle than she previously believed due to aggressive push back from tech lobbyists.

Lastly, we talk about the influence the Covid-19 pandemic had on our technology habits, as well as the challenges of undoing some of those habits now that we’re returning to pre-pandemic norms. Susan also shares her definition of digital wellbeing and how it differs from mental health advocacy.

I think digital wellbeing is a really important issue that affects everyone in one way or another.

Susan offers a unique perspective on how we can have better relationships with technology at any age. With that, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Susan Reynolds as much as I did. 

Episode Highlights

  • [12:04] Why technology is so addictive and how it’s contributing to our mental health crisis

  • [20:04] How digital wellbeing relates to self-care.

  • [28:33] The pending legislation around digital wellbeing at the state and federal levels.

  • [41:38] Susan Reynolds describes some of the work her nonprofit LookUp.Live is involved with.

  • [47:29] The effect the pandemic has had on technology and social media habits.

  • [50:08] Susan Reynolds shares her vision for the next five years.

  • [57:30] How people can get in touch with Susan Reynolds and become more involved with the digital wellbeing movement.

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