The Voices Behind Wait Until 8th
Brooke Shannon lives in Austin with her husband Michael and three daughters. She has a Master's in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University and B.A. in Political Science and Communications from University of Miami. She believes all children should experience a childhood filled with outside play, long afternoons with a books and puzzles and time without the presence of a screen. After many conversations with friends about the smartphone problem, she wanted to make a change in her community and hopefully beyond. Please join her in equipping and blessing children with more years without the dangers and distractions of a smartphone.
ashley and Ben cannatti
Ashley and Ben Cannatti are parents to four very active and engaged elementary and middle school aged children. They are both involved in their church, their children’s schools, and their community. They have taken the Wait Until 8th Pledge for all four of their children.
Stephanie Strain is a wife, mother and local artist based in Austin. She was born and raised in California and received her BA in Linguistics from University of California at Santa Cruz. She is very involved in her community and serves as the Booster Club president of her children’s elementary school. She encourages her two children to be independent thinkers and to love travel, the outdoors and reading.
Stephanie believes that middle school can be a tricky time for children and that those years are better spent away from the added stresses of social media and the pressures that come with having a smartphone.
Tera Ferguson lives in Austin with her husband, Douglas Rivera, and their three children. Tera has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke University. She has more than 14 years of professional experience in business and technology consulting and high tech marketing and product management. She is currently a part-time independent consultant, full-time mom, and active volunteer in the Austin community.
Tera and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling and watching movies together. She believes the social pressures we all face in an online environment take confidence and maturity to navigate, and that delaying access to social media will help her children handle it in a responsible way.
Elaine Trull is a native of Austin, graduated from the University of Texas and is a full-time mom. She and her husband, Asa, have two children. Elaine has observed that young minds are like sponges; they are wildly curious, but lack discernment. Elaine believes our children deserve the opportunity for their minds to be filled with all the wonder this world has to offer, free from the dangers of the internet, predators and the snares technology uniquely provides. Without the distraction of a smartphone, children can foster relationships, build communication skills and grow their imagination - priceless assets for life.
Kim Levell was born and raised in Dallas and now lives in Austin with her husband Michael and two children. She has a bachelor's degree in Child and Family Studies and Psychology, a Masters in Counseling, and is a former Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. As a former special education teacher and behavior specialist, she has seen firsthand how an overindulgence of screentime can negatively affect mood and behavior in children. As a full-time mom, Kim is actively involved in her children's schools and her family's church.
Erin Breitenbach lives in Austin with her two sons. She has a PhD in Health Education from The University of Texas and works as an Associate Professor and Department Chair for a Doctorate in Health Education program (DHEd) and a Doctorate in Education (EdD) in Health Professions Education program. Erin believes that the hours a child could spend on screens could easily be replaced with time spent on meaningful relationships, experiences, activities, and skills development. She is a firm believer that childhood is the easiest time to develop the habits and skills that will last a lifetime. Erin enjoys athletics, traveling, reading, and lots of outdoor adventures with her children.
Cathy York lives in Austin with her husband Brian and their four children. She received her BBA from the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active volunteer in her children’s schools, church and community.
Cathy thinks children are maturing at a faster rate now than previous generations. She believes in growing a strong foundation of self-confidence and self-esteem in her children to help them navigate the risks of social media. She wants her children to take full advantage of their childhood and feels smartphones can impede this.
Dr. Natasha Burgert
Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP is an innovative general pediatrician in Kansas City, MO and National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In her full-time private practice, she strives to leverage the traditional values and teachings of medical science within today's digital health revolution. She does this through real-time media channels and innovative digital tools that allow her to add reputable impact to daily health care decisions.
Her work with patients has been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Parents magazine. She also has been highlighted on NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning, and other local news programs. She has had the opportunity to keynote at various health marketing, vaccine advocacy, and physician-led organizations.
She is fueled by her husband and two young children.
Melissa Byrkit lives in Austin with her husband, Doug, and their three children. Originally from the Seattle area, Melissa has B.A. in Speech Communications from University of Washington. She has worked more than 15 years in professional investment planning and management. Currently Melissa takes care of her young children and helps lead a kid’s bible study. Melissa’s hope is that families will develop healthy habits as it pertains to online activity.
Krista's passion for the next generation is an extension of her background as a middle school teacher. She earned bachelor's degrees in English and Psychology at the University of Kansas, and her Masters in Education at Rockhurst University. Krista dreams of a world where kids can be kids a little longer, so that when they are adults and facing giants of their own, they can refer back to the years they spent looking up--not down--for answers. She loves encouraging and empowering local communities to link arms for the good of our kids--our future leaders. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Scott, and their four children.
Chris Gerosa lives in Westchester county, NY, in a suburb just outside NYC, with her husband and three children. As a full-time mom, Chris is very active in her school PTA and started a committee called PASS - Parenting Around Screens and Social Media - using the Wait Until 8th pledge as a starting point. Her PASS committee hosted an event at their local school where the pledge was rolled out and a panel discussion was led between parents and Clinical Psychologists, who could speak directly to the overwhelming effects of smartphones and screens in our lives. The PASS committee now hosts group discussions to discuss ways to parent around the distractions of smartphones, video games and other screens. Chris believes in giving our children support to resist the pressures and addictive nature of smartphones, social media, video games, and their effects on our children’s wellbeing, and has signed the pledge for all three of her children.