Reducing the amount of time my family spends mindlessly glued to the television or computer is an ongoing battle. Before having kids we routinely fell asleep to the news on the TV in the bedroom, read Face Book posts from our phones to each other at the dining room table, and watched television marathons and Netflix movies every weekend. With little ones in the house, the type of viewing we pursued had to change (for instance Dexter and The Walking Dead needed to be silenced), but the overall amount of time we spent looking at screens also needed to be reduced. Studies have shown over and over again that screen time for children under two is an unwise move that can potentially have unpleasant consequences such as reduced attention span and limited interest in engaging in play and interaction with other children. I finally got a look at what that really looks like a few weeks ago at a play date I had scheduled for my daughter. The entire visit the other child spent most of her time on her tablet, looking up only when her mother turned the tablet off. The tantrum that resulted from the tablet being turned off was unpleasant enough that I was all to happy to pack up and leave and end the visit early. “Growing Up Social,” by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane helps parents assess whether or not they and their children are overly reliant on screen time, identify potential consequences of too much screen time, and develop a plan of action for setting limits on screen time in the home.
“Growing Up Social” is a call to action and reminds us that screen time is not always the best use of time for us or for our children. The book quickly identifies the many ways in which screen time can take over family time, eating away at the special bond that families can and should share. Each chapter provides examples of how screen time can interfere with fundamental values and disrupt quality social time among siblings, parents, and friends. The book encourages parents to focus on teaching children affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention. Non-screen based activities are suggested to strengthen these qualities. Discussion questions are also included at the end of the book and would easily lend themselves to a bible study group or book club.
Many of us struggle with merging technology and family life. Television, tablets, computers, cell phones are all here to stay. Chapman and Pellicane respect that families will continue to use technology, but they do suggest structural changes within the home that set limits on screen time. Investing the time and energy to reclaim a home life that is getting swallowed by computers, phones, and television may be one of the best investments towards a child’s social and intellectual development. This book is worth reading and sharing!
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From the Publisher:
Is technology bringing your family closer together…
or is it driving you farther apart?
Children today are no longer playing hide-and-seek outside or curling up with a good book—instead they’ve been introduced to a world of constant digital entertainment through television, video games, and mobile devices. And while technology has the potential to add value to our lives and families, it can also erode a sense of togetherness and hinder a child’s emotional and social development.
In Growing Up Social, Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the necessary tools to make positive changes . . . starting today. Through stories, wit, and wisdom you’ll discover how to take back your home from an overdependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every healthy child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.
- Equip your child to be relationally rich in a digital world
- Replace mindless screen time with meaningful family time
- Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
- Discover what’s working for families that have become screen savvy
- Learn healthy ways to occupy your child while you get things done
Now is the time to equip your child to live with screen time, not for screen time. No phone, tablet, or gaming device can teach your child how to have healthy relationships; only you can.