cover image Who’s Raising the Kids?: Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children

Who’s Raising the Kids?: Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children

Susan Linn. New Press, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-62097-227-4

Psychologist Linn (The Case for Make Believe) delivers a stunning examination of how marketing, technology, and consumer capitalism impact the well-being of children. Arguing that children are “essential targets” for advertisers and technology companies, Linn cites evidence that “toddlers are more prone to tantrums when they transition off being on a screen than they when they transition from engaging with a book,” that virtual prizes won through video game education products undermine “the value of experience” while “promot[ing] the value of acquisition,” and that companies use online games to encourage children to nag their parents into purchasing a product. Linn also discusses campaigns to stop Disney from marketing Baby Einstein videos as educational for babies and Google from “collecting and monetizing children’s personal information on YouTube Kids.” Highlighting how cuts in public education funding exacerbate the issue, Linn notes that supplemental teaching materials donated or discounted by corporations often promote brand recognition or offer a slanted perspective on such issues as energy production and addiction. Throughout, Linn’s copious case studies and lucid explanations of the latest research into childhood development build a convincing argument. This is a must-read for parents and educators. (Sept.)