The newest generation of children is exposed to ubiquitous technology, more than any generation that preceded them. They are photographed with smartphones from the moment they're born, and begin interacting with screens at around four months old. Is this good news or bad news? A wonderful opportunity to connect around the world? Or the first step in creating a generation of addled screen zombies? The truth is, there's no road map for navigating this territory.
But while many have been quick to declare this the dawn of a neurological and emotional crisis, solid science on the subject is surprisingly hard to come by. In this book, Anya Kamenetz--an expert on both education and technology, as well as a mother of two young children--takes a refreshingly practical look at the subject. Surveying hundreds of fellow parents on their practices and ideas, and cutting through a thicket of inconclusive studies and overblown claims, she hones a simple message, a riff on Michael Pollan's well-known "food rules": Enjoy Screens. Not too much. Mostly with others.
This brief but powerful dictum forms the backbone of a philosophy that will help parents survive the ubiquity of technology in their children's lives, curb their panic, and create room for a happy, healthy family life. Kamenetz's sophisticated yet practical thinking is a necessary cure for an age of anxiety.
Anya Kamenetz is the lead digital education correspondent for NPR. Previously she worked as a staff writer for Fast Company magazine. She's contributed to the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, Slate, and O, the Oprah Magazine, and has won multiple awards for her reporting on education, technology, and innovation. She is the author of three books on education and technology, Generation Debt, DIY U, and The Test. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.