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The quest to end childhood loneliness

click to enlarge CAITLIN VON GAERTNER
  • Caitlin von Gaertner
Ten years ago, Daniel Kriz envisioned a tool designed for kids experiencing childhood loneliness. Through his experience as a pediatric neuropsychologist, Dr. Kriz noticed a lack of resources for children who were struggling to make friends and wanted to make a difference. Over the past year, the timing was finally right for this idea to come to life. A combination of research, dedication, and experience, was born. Friendometry is an online platform designed for parents to connect with other parents of children who have trouble making friends, so that their children can have a safe avenue to create meaningful and life-changing relationships."Childhood loneliness doesn't just necessarily mean that you don't have friends — it means that you (as a child) feel truly alone," says Dr. Kriz. "This can lead to sadness, depression and negative health outcomes like high blood pressure, fatigue, and sleep problems." Loneliness is an emotion that is hard to cope with at any age, but for a child, it can have lifelong consequences.

Children who have high-functioning autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, depression or are just quirky and different may have a more difficult time making friends in comparison to their peers. Additionally, the connections they make as kids will play a large role in shaping their future lives.

Friendometry is safe, anonymous and parent-driven. To start, parents visit the website and create a profile for their child, filling out criteria such as personality characteristics, strengths and interests. After this bio is filled out, parents see profiles of other children with interests similar to their own child's and are able to reach out to them. When a connection has been made and the parents feel comfortable, they can arrange a meeting in a safe, public environment with the parents present.

Dr. Kriz's passion for alleviating childhood loneliness is heartwarming. "My goal is to make an impact on many levels: individual, family, community, society and eventually on a global scale."

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