Anya Kamenetz writes about education for NPR and has her finger on the pulse of how technology is impacting the classroom. As the mother of two young girls, she’s also immersed in the practical, imperfect struggle of raising kids in this digital age. If you are a parent (or a grandparent), you should pick up this book. You’ll appreciate her forthrightness about the struggle to do the right thing by the next generation. You will also gain insights into the questions we’re all facing about screen time in our lives.
In the first half of the book, the author quickly scans through the science about kids and screen time, because there really isn’t much work being done in the field. Of course, this is a distressing fact that leaves parents and educators on their own to determine how to parent today. Kamenetz’s role is to help parents set guidelines for doing that on their own, granting a forgiving, no-judgement parenting zone for us all as we struggle with balancing work demands, the educational benefits of tech, and a desire to enjoy media. The second half of the book is a “tales from the front-line” chronicle from her life as a journalist and mother of two young girls. (As such, her advice is skewed towards younger families).
The very last bit of the book is a tear sheet, of sorts. A quick compendium of all you need to know as a take-away. Her ideas are familiar but it’s good to have them set out clearly – such as: screens and sleep do not mix and parents need to mind their own tech habits because their behavior is a primary influencer of children. Her simplest dictum goes like this (with thanks to Michael Pollen). “Enjoy Screens; Not Too Much; Mostly Together.