cover image Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-connected World

Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-connected World

Mike Brooks and Jon Lasser. Oxford Univ., $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-19-066529-6

Educational psychologists Brooks and Lasser have created a serviceable, if less than timely, handbook showing families how to get the best from technology while minimizing its negative effects. Their Tech Happy Life model, with its color-coded levels—green for preventing problems, yellow for addressing emerging concerns, and red for intervening when things get difficult or dangerous—calls for “warm” yet limit-setting and “authoritative” parenting. They set the scene by warning that when kids’ screen-time gets “out of balance,” the result is sleep loss, distractibility, diminished face-to-face interaction, shorter attention span, decreased productivity, limited physical activity, loss of interest in recreational activities, and a decreased sense of well-being. The allure of the screen is powerful and ever-present, the authors write, and uncooperative kids who won’t relinquish their devices may isolate themselves or underperform at school. But, Brooks and Lasser say, if parents model good behavior by limiting their own screen time, communicate effectively, set appropriate boundaries, and levy consequences, they will help kids learn self-regulation and achieve balance on their own. Plenty of other books have already addressed the screen-time issue, often in greater detail, but parents should find Brooks and Lasser’s advice to be easily understood and solidly commonsensical. (Aug.)