In our book Anna, Age Eight, which focuses on preventing childhood trauma, we have a full chapter devoted to trauma-free kids and the promise and perils of technology.
The good news is that the technology at our fingertips today can vastly improve the prevention of adverse childhood experiences or ACEs.
There are ten ACEs that include: physical and emotional neglect; physical, emotional and sexual abuse; and living in households where adults misuse substances, have mental health challenges, are violent to partners, parents are separated, or a family member is incarcerated.
In the four steps of data-driven ACEs prevention: assessment, planning, action and evaluation, technology plays a vital role; building a strong sense of community and care with no one left out.
Mapping software in each county helps us understand the magnitude of ACEs and trauma that impact families, students and our workforce. We can pinpoint which communities have the highest rates of trauma, acknowledging that ACEs impacts all socio-economic groups, then customize strategies to achieve optimum results.
Digital Surveys of parents and students help track access to the critical services that have been shown to prevent ACEs and treat trauma, informing community leaders of which areas are underserved. Paired with immediate, online feedback on how well those services are performing — similar to commercial websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp — we can ensure that services are performing at the highest level and valuable taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.
Online conferencing software, like facetime, skype and google hangouts, help connect health care providers, social workers, tutors and mentors to vulnerable families in urban and rural settings. Empowering residents and helping them navigate services that were once inaccessible.
This same technology also provides avenues for professionals to consult with, mentor and support one another, strengthening networks of local caring professionals and rapidly spreading the best ideas.
Artificial intelligence, no longer just science fiction, creates virtual coaches, mentors and educators, providing every student and parent with 24 hour advice, information and resources. We can see this in action today with online AI Coaches like Pocket Confidant, which is already being used to help college students overcome challenges in real time.
Championing these technology solutions helps bridge the gap between public sector agents of change and private sector innovators, forming profound new partnerships that can evaluate and launch groundbreaking efficient strategies so communities and cities get the most out of every resource dollar.
Technology does not replace human compassion or courage, it magnifies it.
This is why technology is a key component of the Anna, Age Eight Institute proposal, guided by the book Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment.
The Institute will focus on strengthening community systems and lifelong learning to create:
Join us in this groundbreaking work developing a first-of-its kind center devoted exclusively to family safety and success.
For questions or to help establish the Anna, Age Eight Institute, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Anna, Age Eight Institute is guided by the strategies presented in the book Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment by Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello. You can download the book free-of-charge here: www.AnnaAgeEight.org/anna.