Screen Kids: 5 Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World
By Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane
“It seems to be creating more bad than good. Why won’t they just shut it down?” I lamented to my husband after watching Netflix’s documentary, The Social Dilemma.* The it I referred to being social media.
I’m the first to admit I’ve never been a big fan of technology as a whole and social media in particular. Hear me out – I’m on board with it’s convenience, accessibility, ability to quickly produce information and opportunity to connect people around the world (love that! I am a blogger, after all). While there are many pros that support technology use and social media participation, I have always viewed technology as more negative, disconnecting, and overbearing. Of course, that is my opinion based on my personal experience but if I’m being really honest, I think the world would be a better place if the internet world would take a day off for 24 hours each week.
I totally understand if you have an opposing viewpoint and that’s okay, we’re allowed to disagree and think freely for ourselves. However, so many people love to debate and fact-check, so let’s take a moment to consider the facts and humbly ask – Is technology making us better, stronger and smarter as a human race? Or, is it contributing to dependence, laziness, and loneliness?
No worries. I’ll wait while you search or develop your response.
Alright – I’m sure you’ve discovered the publicly known fact that tech moguls like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Evan Williams, amongst other tech developers in Silicon Valley, radically limit the amount of time and access their own children have with technology. If that is the case (if you didn’t find it, go ahead, look it up), shouldn’t the average person at least question why the developers behind technological innovations and social media networks place restrictions or limitations on their own family’s exposure to technology? It’s interesting, isn’t it?
Posing that question is like opening a can of worms – statistics spew all over the internet with most of them leaning negative.
Still, there are benefits to technology and we know them to be true. The world’s Covid-19 pandemic is proof of so many good things that can come from technology, like the ability to work a job remotely, continue education, and communicate with friends and family. But just like the Garden of Eden, what started off as a good thing became something that desired more. More of a person’s time, energy and brain space, yet are we feeling more capable, more joyful, or more fulfilled?
For better or for worse, technology is a vital part of life in the 21st century. And friend, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
But take heart – you don’t have to be tech-savvy to become tech-smart. Really, all you need is to acquire a few skills and exercise the discipline of responsibility.
Screen Kids: 5 Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane is a resource that can assist all people in safely navigating the technological world we live in. It is possible to weave technology into your life without having it dictate your life.
Screen Kids may be marketed as a parenting tool but frankly I believe it contains information that is suitable, adaptable and applicable for any human being who is exposed to some form of technology.
Chapman and Pellicane have come together, yet again, as a power-team of writers, parents, and researchers who are also very relatable and practical in their teaching and approach. These authors have collaborated on several other projects (including my 2017 review of Cool, Calm and Connected and my 2018 review of Parents Rising). They noticed a lot has changed in the world, specifically in the tech world, since the 2014 release of their book, Growing Up Social. Based on significant research over the last five years, Chapman and Pellicane updated and rebranded Growing Up Social into Screen Kids in hopes to empower families to take back their homes from an overdependence on screens.
Screen Kids is strategically divided into three parts:
- Kids on Tech: This section is heavily rooted in research and statistics while examining behavior resulting from tech-use
- The A+ Social Skills: This section is the “work” portion of the book that motivates individuals to take action against the negative effects of technology
- Restart Your Home: This section ties the previous sections together and encourages personal assessment and application
Screen Kids will encourage you to evaluate personal technology use along with examining how technology is affecting those you love. The A+ Social Skills section is the antidote against technology dependence pr addiction and will teach the reader how to develop the traits of affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.
This book is raw and real and exposes the gritty truth most people gloss over – technology is taking over our lives and its addictiveness is robbing children of their youth while also stealing precious time, energy and focus/attention away from anyone who uses a screen. We spend so much life behind a screen but screens can never replace authentic emotions or relationships. They can, however, remove empathy and replace it with indifference and loneliness (not to mention other damaging side effects).
Likewise, Screen Kids is interactive by including assessments, challenges, questions, and quizzes that will inspire you to apply what you learn to your daily life. There is a Q&A at the end of the book that is valuable as well – addresses some commonly asked questions targeting struggles you may encounter while implementing the skills taught throughout this book.
One thing I found very refreshing was the constant reminder that what is best isn’t always easy. In fact, several times in this book the authors tell it like it is and recognize it may not be what you want to hear. I really respected their boldness and appreciated their love for the reader’s wellbeing over their “like” for applause, praise or a pat on the back. The truth spoken in love is the only way our souls can receive the nourishment needed to thrive in this world.
There is no doubt that Screen Kids will equip you to take back your home from an overdependence on technology, but you must take the initiative.
“So what kind of home will you create for your family? A home that is centered around screens or a home that is centered around people? When you have the latter, you will be drastically different from the average tech-driven home. Your home will be like a castle on a hill, providing light not only to your children, but to your world.” ~ closing statement from Screen Kids
That passage (above) gives me chills and I hope it does the same for you, too.
Screen Kids: 5 Skills Every Child Needs in a Tech-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane releases TODAY and is available wherever books are sold. What’s more – there is a companion book titled, Grandparenting Screen Kids: How to Help, What to Say and Where to Begin.
You need this book in your life – for your sake as well as for those you love.
*I highly recommend viewing The Social Dilemma documentary on Netflix along with educating yourself on the importance of safe and responsible technology use. Visit https://www.humanetech.com to learn more.
**I received this book from the publisher and was a part of the Screen Kids book launch team in exchange for my honest review. I openly endorse Screen Kids and believe it is both a helpful resource and an applicable tool. The thoughts, opinions and beliefs expressed throughout this review are entirely my own.