Reviewed by Tiffany Markman, copywriter, editor and mom to an almost-three-year-old, who tries to balance her workaholism with cuddles, books, caffeine & reining in her intrinsic kugelry. Follow her on twitter.
In Tech-Savvy Parenting: A Guide to Raising Safe Children in a Digital World, parenting expert Nikki Bush and tech guru Arthur Goldstuck put their considerable brains together to guide us, ‘digital immigrants’, through an increasingly scary world.
This world is peopled by ‘digital natives’ – our children – who are tech-savvy but not always life-savvy; application-literate but not always emotionally literate; conversing but not always listening. And we, the immigrants, barely speak the language.
One of the reasons I really value this book as a reference work is that it’s comprehensive; containing the info, explanations, lists and additional references that a parent would need to dip into at each phase of his/her children’s development – both in terms of age and in terms of growing technological involvement.
For instance, my 3.5-year-old doesn’t give me grey hairs when it comes to over-sharing on Facebook or downloading violent games, but I do find it hard to manage her iPad use, especially before bed-time. And in-app purchases? My worst!
In Tech-Savvy Parenting, you’ll find guidelines, tips and advice relating to:
• The fact that kids are still conversing, but in multiple layers
• The different categories and age-appropriateness of games
• NetNanny (and other filtering software) and what to block when
• When to give your kid a cellphone
• How to manage the ubiquitous and annoying in-app purchase
• Being honest with yourself about your own attentiveness
• Online reputation, pornography and privacy issues
• Practical parenting guidelines (that are tech-related), per age group
Be warned: If you’re an active tech user yourself, you may find Chapters 1 and 2 a bit patronising. I’m a 30-something parent who fully appreciates the attractiveness and appeal of the small screen, interactive media and tiny devices. I get why my kid wants to play with tech, because I want to play with tech. I’m not the post office generation, nor the library generation – at least, I haven’t been for 20 years. So I only really got into this book from Chapter 3, which deals partly with gaming.
Look out for: Lists – towards the end of the book – of common text message acronyms and emoticons, as well as useful teacher guidelines and digital policies.
Bottom line? This book is great. Yes, it unpacks the technology, but the authors (both of whom are parents) never ignore the human element; placing children’s use of technology in the context of the relationship between themselves and their parents. If you have kids and don’t live off the grid, under a small wifi-less rock, in a remote corner of the Klein Karoo, you need to own this book. Serious.
Tech-Savvy Parenting: A Guide to Raising Safe Children in a Digital World is available at all good book-stores and was supplied for review by Nikki Bush.