The non-fiction reading bug bit me. Over the past month I’ve been curious about the latest parenting books for managing technology in the home. What can I learn from leading educators, psychologists and other parents about best practices for healthy media use? Am I in alignment with their thinking as I set media rules for our family? The publications did not disappoint, and my notes in the margins showed I always have something to learn. Here are the key takeaways I gained about media use from these authors:
Do kids still care about what their parents think?
The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD: Author Leonard Sax drives home the point that as peers gain more communication channels with other peers, peer validation becomes more important to kids than parental validation. In other words, kids care more about what other kids think than what parents think. This cultural shift may lead to a culture of disrespect, and it’s more important than ever to keep family members connected and relevant to each other. Having regular days of doing chores together, spending time together, and thinking of each other before ourselves can keep the “me” generation in check and encourage long lasting family ties.
What if families learned alongside one another?
Naked Parenting: Guiding Kids in a Digital World by Leah DeCesare: Author Leah DeCesare’s balanced and realistic perspective was a pleasure to read. She followed an outline of hot topics such as family communication, online privacy, digital citizenship and media planning. I appreciate that she holds humanity in the highest regard with her statement about undivided parental attention: “Giving kids our full attention sends a powerful message to them that we care.” She also advocates for digital literacy among all family members, encouraging us to learn alongside each other. Vigilance, honesty and respect should provide effective tools for navigating a modern world.
Increase our understanding by learning the facts
Media Moms & Digital Dads by Yalda T. Uhls, PhD – Author Yalda Uhls integrates social science research into key segments of the book to balance current perspectives with data. The result is helpful for giving our assumptions about media use more context, and potentially an alternative point of view. The chapters on social media are especially helpful as my girls continue through middle school. I learned about FOMO (fear of missing out) which can be amplified for teens over today’s social media networks. She also covers the rise of selfies and how they are becoming normalized in today’s culture. I will keep this in mind as the kids head out into the new media landscapes, and keep a close eye on their self esteem.
I’m glad all three of these books are in my library, and thank the authors for taking time to create educational materials for parents in a rapidly changing world.
Photo Credit Flickr [Sam Greenhalgh]