Clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair takes an in-depth look at how the Internet and the digital revolution are profoundly changing childhood and family dynamics, and offers solutions parents can use to successfully shepherd their children through the technological wilderness.
As the focus of the family has turned to the glow of the screen—children constantly texting their friends or going online to do homework; parents working online around the clock—everyday life is undergoing a massive transformation. Easy access to the Internet and social media has erased the boundaries that protect children from damaging exposure to excessive marketing and the unsavory aspects of adult culture. Parents often feel they are losing a meaningful connection with their children. Children are feeling lonely and alienated. The digital world is here to stay, but what are families losing with technology's gain?
As renowned clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair explains, families are in crisis as they face this issue, and even more so than they realize. Not only do chronic tech distractions have deep and lasting effects but children also desperately need parents to provide what tech cannot: close, significant interactions with the adults in their lives. Drawing on real-life stories from her clinical work with children and parents and her consulting work with educators and experts across the country, Steiner-Adair offers insights and advice that can help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence as they engage with the tech revolution unfolding in their living rooms.
In a book that should be required reading for all parents, Steiner-Adair examines the extraordinary negative impact of the digital revolution on parents and children. A practicing clinical psychologist and parent, Steiner-Adair shares cautionary tales from her work with children and adolescents, families, and schools, as well as the work of her colleagues. Her deepest concern lies with parents who, because of their use of technology (smart phones, iPad s, the Internet), are distracted from their children at moments when they would otherwise have been engaged. From birth, babies sense this distraction, so she suggests that parents follow the consensus of expert medical, scientific, psychological, and other child development opinion to leave tech out of your baby s life for the first twenty-four months. She sounds the alarm consistently throughout her book. Preschool-age children have told her how disheartening it is to have to vie for their parent s attention and often come in second to technology. She ties the dramatic rise in ADD/ADHD diagnoses to the negative effects of media and screen play on children s self-regulation, attention, aggressive behaviors, sleep, and play patterns. In addition to discussing examples of cyberbullying, she explores tweens and teens lack of real-life connections as they conduct more of their social lives online. Throughout this highly readable study, Steiner-Adair offers sound and sympathetic advice regarding this unprecedented revolution in the living room.