Parenting in the digital world is something that has been on my mind SO much lately. I’ve been wondering about everything from the best apps to keep my kids safe online and what kind of screen time limits to enforce, to how my own phone use affects my kids.
That last one is a doozy and has been especially worrying me lately as my job is online so I’m definitely on my phone more than I’d like… In fact, after I read this list from our in-house children’s librarian, Janssen, I raced to get the audible version of The Big Disconnect.
I’ll try to give you guys an update in the newsletter soon!
(P.S. Listening to parenting books is the only way I find time to actually read them. Right now Amazon is running a special where you can try Audible with two free books of your choice here.) Here’s Janssen with the goods…
A few weeks ago, my five-year-old daughter looked up from her book and asked, “Mom, what’s a dial tone?”
If you’d ever like to feel a thousand years old, this is one quick way.
I got my first email account when I was thirteen, which I shared with my two sisters, and Facebook didn’t exist until I was in college. My first cell phone had exactly one game on it (Snakes, anyone?) and I didn’t get an iPhone until I’d been married for six years.
It’s going to be very different for my children, and one of my jobs as a parent is to figure out how to help them develop a safe and healthy relationship with technology, from deciding when they get their first phone to setting limits on video games and helping them avoid being the target (or perpetrator) of cyberbullying.
Of course, like any good librarian, the first place I look for advice is from a good book. Here are eight to help you navigate the complicated digital road ahead!
by Catherine Steiner-Adair and Teresa H. Barker
This book is one of the best I’ve read on parenting in the digital age. Steiner-Adiar draws on her clinical work and research to demonstrate how constant access to the Internet and world at large is splintering families and erasing meaningful parent-child connections, resulting in children who feel alone.
She describes what children and teens really want from their parents and how to create the family bonds that parents and children long for. I like this book because not only does it focus on how technology use affects young people, but also how parent use can affect the family dynamic and alienate children.
It can be unpleasant to see yourself reflected in the parents who are addicted to their devices but it’s also eye-opening to see what an impact you can make by changing your own habits and the influence it will have on your own children’s behavior.
by Clayton Cranford
If you feel completely overwhelmed by all the social media apps and sites available to your children and teens, this book is just the help you need. It carefully goes through all the major apps with screenshots and detailed descriptions of the safety settings so you can make good decisions for your child and help them know how to use them safely.
How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids: Tricks, Tools, and Spontaneous Screen-Free Activities
by Matthew Jervis
There probably aren’t many parents today who haven’t handed over the phone or tablet at least once in a while to buy a few minutes of silence, whether it was to get dinner on the table, make an important phone call, or just stare at the ceiling for a sixty seconds.
But if you feel like you’d like a few other tricks in your arsenal for entertaining the troops, this book is jammed with fun activities and games that require no screens. Whether you need an activity that takes two minutes or two hours, this book has you covered.
by Gary D Chapman and Arlene Pellicane
You likely know Gary Chapman from his best-selling books about The Five Love Languages. This book discusses how children develop emotionally and socially and how screens play into that.
If you’re worried about quality family time and how to balance it with television, phones, and tablets, this book is full of suggestions from real families that have made it work, plus it specifically deals with teaching your children five vital relationship skills that will affect them throughout their lives: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention. And like his other books, this one is totally readable – you won’t get bogged down in long scientific passages.
by Janell Burley Hofmann
Do you remember that Huffington Post piece about a contract for a child’s first cell phone that went viral a few years ago? That was Janell Burley Hofmann and this is the longer version about how parents can thoughtfully deal with cell phones for their children, with her framework of Slow Tech Parenting.
She’ll help you figure out what rules make sense for your family and what should be included. This is the perfect book for making you and your child feel comfortable about adding a smart phone to the family.
by Bob Waliszewski
Setting rules for digital entertainment can be tricky. Not only does every family have different rules for how they deal with screens, but there is so much violence, sexuality and addiction that can come along with the wonderful parts of the Internet.
This book gives straightforward advice for parents who want to set limits without alienating their children or creating feelings of resentment. I especially appreciate that it gives you tools for helping children make their own good choices about media, since as a parent I know I won’t always be around to enforce family rules.
lol…OMG!: What Every Student Needs to Know About Online Reputation Management, Digital Citizenship and Cyberbullying
by Matt Ivester
Written by a Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur who saw first-hand how teenagers and college students interacted online, this guide helps parents and their teens understand how long-lasting the things you put online can be and the impact the can make on schooling, employment, and social life.
This book explains the dangers of cyberbullying and why many people are much more unkind online than they would ever be in person, and it gives families the tools they need to maintain a positive online reputation and be a responsible citizen of the digital world. The HR director at LinkedIn called this “a “must read” for every college student, every high school student and the parents of each” and I agree.
What resources have you found to help navigate your family the digital world?
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