Director Biography – Krista Riihimaki (CHILD DISRUPTED)

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KRISTA RIIHIMAKI, M.Ed.
Documentary filmmaker, Educator, Artist

Krista Riihimaki, the founder of White Poppy Media, is a Montessori educator who over the years taught children of all ages, ranging from 22 months and 14 years of age. She decided to make Child, Disrupted because she wanted to learn more about how the widespread use of technology at young ages was affecting children’s development.

Krista has a B.A. in biological sciences from Smith College, with concentrations in developmental biology, animal behavior, marine science, and psychology research. She obtained her Masters in Education from the University of San Diego in association with the Montessori Institute of San Diego. She holds teaching certificates from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) at the Assistants to Infancy (ages 0 to 3), Primary (3-6), and Erdkinder (12-18) levels.

While developing Child, Disrupted, Krista was able to integrate her skills as a scientist, researcher, observer, and educator in order to gather the information needed to help adults understand the relationship between technology overuse and child development.

Krista holds a Certificate in Documentary Filmmaking from the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking where she began the journey of making Child, Disrupted. She went on to become a Bay Area Video Coalition TechSF fellow.

In addition to filmmaking, Krista is a visual artist who enjoys backcountry snowboarding and surfing. She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

Director Statement

We’ve all seen it by now – children in restaurants staring at a tablet for the entire meal, or a parent handing their phone to a crying toddler in their stroller. It can be easy to judge the adults who make these choices, but are they really as bad as some say they are?

Before becoming a filmmaker in the Bay Area, I was a Montessori teacher, and I observed my students at increasingly younger ages spending large amounts of time tied to digital devices. I couldn’t help but wonder whether there were any effects on their cognitive and physical development. While living and working in Silicon Valley, the heart of the technology “gold rush”, I felt that technologies’ impact was being felt among even the youngest children. At conferences with parents, I would advise limiting device usage, citing AAP guidelines for children, but I wanted to know just how much is technology overuse affecting children today?

In my short documentary film “Child, Disrupted”, I interviewed experts from the fields of neurological development, psychology, occupational therapy, sociology, and addiction, to reveal the truth behind my worries about screen time and child development.

The film shows how time spent using technology specifically impacts children’s behaviors and offers insight into how guardians can curb it’s influence while equipping children to develop healthy relationships with technology.

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