Straight Talk '24: Navigating the Smartphone Era
February 12, 2024 | noon-1 p.m. CST
Through all the uncertainties of parenting in the digital age, one thing is for sure: Smartphones are here to stay. They've unlocked a wealth of knowledge, entertainment, and convenience. But for our children, smartphones have also introduced a bevy of complications for their development and well-being.
Straight Talk '24: Navigating the Smartphone Era is a livestreamed event featuring top-notch panelists discussing how smartphones are impacting our children's minds, bodies, and classrooms. Councils (district-level PTAs) and local PTAs without councils are encouraged to host watch parties throughout Texas to enjoy this event together.
Sign the Straight Talk Pledge
|The Texas PTA Digital & Cell Phone Safety pledge is our effort to create a safer digital world for students and families across Texas. We are dedicated to prioritizing and practicing healthy habits around smartphone usage, and urge Texas legislators to draft and support digital safety legislation to protect our children.
Tabitha Branum, Richardson ISD's 20th superintendent, brings 25 years of educational leadership to Texas. With roles including assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent, she spearheaded curriculum, instruction, and a strategic plan. Formerly a teacher and school leader, she co-designed New Tech High School in Coppell.
Tabitha, a skilled presenter and grant writer, co-authored “Digital Learning: Meeting the Challenges and Embracing the Opportunities for Teachers.” Residing in RISD with her family, she holds degrees from the University of North Texas and is pursuing a doctorate at Dallas Baptist University. In 2022, she earned the National PTA Lifetime Achievement Award, reflecting her dedication to public education.
Titania Jordan, a mother and the chief marketing and chief parent officer of Bark Technologies, a digital safety company, is a leading voice on digital parenting. She's authored "Parenting in a Tech World" and contributed to publications like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Titania is a sought-after expert on national TV shows and was featured in the documentary Childhood 2.0.
In 2017, she founded a Facebook group for parents, now with over 300,000 members. Her passion for technology stems from fond memories of navigating the early internet with her dad in the '90s. Today, she continues to advocate for online safety and parenting in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Marvin Ruiz-Martinez is a senior at Robert Turner College and Career High School in Pearland ISD, just south of Houston. Marvin belongs to the unique generation of digital natives where Snapchat and smartphones are part of their coming-of-age story. He has experienced the ups and downs of technology that can both connect and isolate him from his peers; the support that posts can garner from acquaintances at school, and the dangers—in a post-Covid world—of high schoolers sourcing illicit drugs through direct messaging.
To that end, Marvin is active in his school’s Cats Care program, which works to help students care for their mental health. He is also active in National Honors Society, Academic Decathlon, Speech and Debate, and hopes to study computer science this fall at Duke University as a first-generation college student.
Jennifer Wagner is Round Rock ISD’s new director of behavioral health services. With more than 20 years of experience in mental health and human services, she is dedicated to student well-being and brings a wealth of mental health experience from outpatient, inpatient, and residential settings.
Jennifer has extensive patient experience dealing with substance use, addiction, mood disorders, trauma, grief, and behavioral issues. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s in Social Work from Fordham University.
12x12x12 Membership Award
Earn the 12x12x12 Award for your PTA by adding 12 new student members and encouraging them to sign the Straight Talk pledge by February 12 at 12:00 p.m. CST (12 students x 12 Feb. x 12:00 p.m.)
While we're preparing to talk about how smartphones affect children's minds, bodies, and classrooms for Straight Talk '24 on February 12, now is the perfect time to build up your student PTA members! Here's what you need to do:
≡ Recruit 12 new student members (between Jan. 25 - Feb. 12)
≡ Encourage them to sign the Straight Talk pledge
≡ Upload/mail your rosters and dues
≡ Submit your award form
Here's the fine print! Students do not need to sign the pledge to qualify. Students joining through JoinPTA.org are automatically submitted. Students should be new members joining between Jan. 25 - Feb. 12 to qualify, and CAN count toward the Student Membership Award. Award forms and mailed rosters must be received by the Texas PTA office by Feb. 12 at noon.
All PTAs that qualify for the award will receive a LAUNCH badge ribbon and a digital 12x12x12 recipient badge, and will be entered to win one of three fabulous prizes:
One FREE registration and parking pass to attend LAUNCH 2024
FREE Starbucks drinks for your board
FREE Sonic drinks for our board
One small council (27 PTAs or less) and one large council will win premium table placement and $100 toward decorations at LAUNCH 2024
Councils will receive one entry in the drawing for each of their PTAs that qualify for the award (12 qualifying PTAs = 12 entries into the council drawing)
Make sure you're following us on Facebook — we'll go live following the Straight Talk '24 livestream where Texas PTA President Jennifer Easley will draw and announce the winners!
Email MemberRelations@txpta.org with any questions!