NextGen Connect is our new mentoring program to support young thought leaders who are striving to improve the digital landscape and reduce screen time for their peers and generations to come.
Our first cohort of NextGen Connect mentees arrived at orientation in May where we revealed which Action Network experts they would be paired with over the three month program. Spanning six different time zones and seven countries, this group of passionate people are setting big goals for their summer collaborations!
Our Mentee Projects
Our 2022 mentees are working on projects such as building an ethical social media platform, reducing misinformation, creating a digital wellness journal, understanding manipulation in digital interfaces, adding mindfulness to the day, improving safety and mental health on social media and building a healthier gaming experience.
Our Expert Mentors
Our 2022 mentors have decades of expertise in creating programs for healthy tech use, reducing screen time, raising awareness about social media harms, improving productivity, connecting humans, teaching emotional skills and creating ethical AI.
Meet the NextGen Connect 2022 Cohort
- Cameron Bogatez from New South Wales, Australia is designing an ethical social media platform called Rocket.
- Cameron’s mentor is Chris Flack from Dublin, Ireland. He left the tech industry to found Unplug, which helps schools, governments and organizations improve focus at work, disconnect after work, and develop meaningful connections.
- Ceren Dundar from Istanbul, Turkey is focused on reducing harassment and misinformation online and educating children to be safe online.
- Her mentor is Jean Rystrom, our Advisory Board member, long time Fairplay supporter, and former media literacy educator at Kaiser Permanente.
- Celia Hardy from New York, USA is creating a digital wellness journal for teens to track their digital life and to ensure it is secondary to their offline life.
- Her mentor is Sara Heaser, new to the Action Network through this program. Sara is professor at University of Wisconsin La Crosse. She created a course, “TL, DR: Reading and Thinking in the Clickbait Era” and enjoys talking with her students about healthy digital practices, digital privacy and cognition.
- Seth Bunev from British Columbia, Canada is focused on promoting his book called “Screenfarers: Nurturing Deliberate Action in a Digital World”. The book helps parents, teachers, young people and anyone else who is concerned understand the psychological manipulation techniques underlying digital interfaces and find practical ways to undermine them/diminish their influence. Seth spent 4 years totally offline and is an educator in nature-based/outdoor education.
- His mentor is Dana Tuttle, who is a physician and Co-Director of Screensense.org, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families and communities teach healthy tech use to young people.
- Ananya Roy from Maharashtra, India is focused on understanding how social media can be designed to be more humane. She founded Niyamat, a mental health awareness initiative aimed at destigmatizing therapy and also runs a podcast about Data Privacy and AI ethics called “The Fault in our Algorithms”.
- Ananya has two mentors, Bill Softky and Ryan Bell. Bill is a biophysicist who was among the first neuroscientists to understand microtiming, and among the first technologists to build that understanding into algorithms. Ryan is a new member of the Action Network and is founder of Tech Balance, which works with educational institutions, students and parents to help students build healthy and productive tech habits.
- Renee Yaseen from Indiana, USA is building a motion activated game called FriendOver. It helps kids ground their online play in the motion of their bodies through social, motion-interactive games and its multiplayer, video-chat integrated game encourages conversation, collaboration, and physical motion.
- Her mentor is Adam Derradji from the UK, also new to the Action Network. Adam won the UK Young Innovators Award and built an app that uses a fun gamified timer to help young people avoid distractions and spend more focused time on their values/goals.
- Dhisha Kukalakuntla from Texas, USA is a high school junior and the youngest in the cohort. She founded a Positivity 101 club at her school and created “mindful minutes” activities for advisory periods. She is focused on expanding the program to other schools.
- Her mentor is Erin Walsh, long-time friend of Fairplay, and recently joined the Action Network membership. Erin is co-founder of Spark & Stitch Institute, which centers their work on brain science, emotional skills and screen time.
- Timo Simonin from Massachusetts, USA. His goal is to improve youth safety on social media. He plans to interview peers about past experiences regarding interactions online and use the information along with other online safety tips to raise awareness.
- His mentor is also Jean Rystrom (see above bio).
To get involved in future NextGen mentoring programs, sign up here.