Friday, January 9, 2015

Growing Up Social

I was recently given the opportunity to review the new book by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane entitled Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. As I read this book the one feeling I continued to get was that of


I heard the comment once, "What parents do in moderation, the children do in excess."

The more I delved into this book, the more I became aware of how much screen time I allow myself on a daily basis. The more I became aware of that, the more concerned I became about how that would affect how my children would view screen time.

It is amazing how screens subtly make their way into our lives, our daily routine, and our family time. Reading this book made me aware of each moment I held my smartphone, picked up the tablet, turned on the TV, or sat down at the computer. It caused me to put my phone on silent during certain times of the day when I needed to be present for my children. It made me close up the entertainment center so the TV would not be visible in the living room. It made me unsubscribe to a lot of emails that I received so I would only receive emails that were relevant and important. It made me assign specific times in my day to sit at the computer for work related items.

What can you expect to get out of this book? Here is what has been said about the book.

Although parents are not able to monitor every minute of their child’s screen time, they can guide them to make positive choices by example. Growing Up Social offers practical guidance on: 

  • Parenting Your Child Through Screen Life: Using technology to educate children on social skills, communication, gratitude, responsibility, and privacy; teaching them that people come first, and technology comes second. Understanding the A+ skills of affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.  
  • Screen Time and the Brain: Understanding how screen time is strengthening some parts of the brain (quick decision making, visual acuity, and multitasking), but weakening other parts (one-on-one people skills, empathy, reading, writing, and sustained concentration). 
  • Screen Time and Love Languages: Expressing love more effectively to your child, who is often engaged in screen time, by understanding their “love language.” (physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service) 
  • Screen Time and Parental Authority: Implementing boundaries regarding screen time (i.e. during dinner time, bedtime, school hours). Advice if you find your child is involved with cyber-bullying, sexting, or viewing pornography. Abiding by a “screen safe family pledge.” 
  • Screen Time and Unhealthy Lifestyle Patterns: Preventing unhealthy habits caused by excess screen time, including a sedentary lifestyle, isolation from others, unhealthy eating habits, lack of sleep, and aggressive behavior. Also impacted is a child's inability to have healthy, positive friendships face-to-face.

Growing Up Social had so much to say. Words that will stay with me for many years to come as Brian and I raise our children in this digital age. Here are a few excerpts from the book that I hope will capture your attention and make you more curious as to what this book has to offer you and your family.

Technology is here to stay, and we believe you can find positive ways to utilize it for your relationships. No doubt your child is going to use emails, texts, and smart phones as he grows into an adult. (pg. 9) 

The AAP recommends that children older than two years old should get no more than two hours a day of screen time. This means if your child is on the computer for one hour at school, they should only have one additional hour at home. (pg. 19) 

Many screen-savvy teenagers are not taught to treat people with respect and courtesy online. Navigating friendships on a screen can seem more transactional than with humans. You can delete friends who bother you and just get new ones. People can be treating you like a commodity; they are there for your convenience to meet your needs. (pg. 63) 

Parents are needed more than ever to provide instruction, correction, and positive modeling to a child regarding screen time, even if this digital world seems like unfamiliar territory. We live in a brand-new era when children are digital natives and many parents are digital immigrants. In other words, many children know more technology than their parents, and that is quite different from how the world worked hundreds of years ago. (pg. 169) 

I am very particular about which books I keep long-term. This is one of those books I intend on keeping and reaching for every couple of years as a reminder of being intentional with our screen time as a family.

About the Authors:

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife. She has been a featured guest on Fox & Friends, The Today Show, The Better Show, TLC’s Home Made Simple, The 700 Club, Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah and Family Life Today radio. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Arlene worked as the Associate Producer for Turning Point Television.  Arlene earned her BA from Biola University and her Masters in Journalism from Regent University. Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three young children.

Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages. With over 30 years of counseling experience, he has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to human behavior, showing readers not just where they are wrong, but how to grow and move forward. Dr. Chapman holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively, MRE and PhD degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University.

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