Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World

Authors: Kara Powell, Art Bamford, and Brad M. Griffin

Feel like your kids are drowning in a sea of new questions, apps, and devices? Want to talk about digital media more with your kids, but aren’t sure how?

Help is here.

Drawing form the best research on media and youth, as well as our own conversations with parents and teenagers, this book offers new breakthroughs for your most pressing tech-repeated dilemmas:

  • How to teach your kids to use social media responsibly.
  • How to site limits on when, where, and how much you use devices in your family – without isolating your kids from their friends.
  • How to handle the tough stuff: inappropriate sharing, bullying, and porn.
  • How to make digital media a force that knits your family together rather than ripping you apart at the seams.

Navigating Our Digital World equips your family to approach this new connected world like a team. It helps you develop relationships, not rules. Supervision, not surveillance. And best of all, a plan that works without making media – or you – the enemy.

Chapter Summaries

Chapter One: What is the real goal? – When it comes a to digital media, there isn’t ONE right way to handle decisions.As parents, we need to step into the digital world of kids with greater understanding and create a specific plan that is right for your family. Ultimately, you need to choose what fits your family best.

Chapter Two: Why do my kids constantly check their phones? – Kids are growing up in a different world than their parents did, digital media is now directly intertwined with finding their authentic self, learning social skills,awkward stages, and discovering hobbies and interests. As social creatures, we have social motivation that drives us to connect with others and now these different technologies can help us as kids grow into adults.

Chapter Three: How can I help my family actually be together when we’re in the same room? – As a family, boundaries can be set to allow each member to use media in a way that creates family memories by bringing the family together. There are practical ideas on how creating media rituals, usage guidelines, and being intentional on how we connect with others through digital media can help families (especially parents) control their usage.

Chapter Four: How can I supervise what my kids are saying and sharing without making them feel like they’re under surveillance? – It is important to understand the difference between supervision and surveillance. Building trust with kids and one self can help when issues (explicit content or unwanted interactions) arise. Parents can teach their kids how to have integrity on and offline in a way that will uphold their values and beliefs.

Chapter Five: How can I help my kids become good digital citizens? – The two big topics  in this chapter are authenticity and empathy- it is vital to remind kids that we have the opportunity to be the light online and that behind every screen and avatar are other people with feelings. Parents serve as the greatest models on how we can authentically show up online and how we should interact with one another. 

Chapter Six: How (and when) can I gracefully take off the media training wheels? – Like any part of parenting, we have to think of the bigger picture- the goal would be that the kids we are raising become responsible adults who show grace, respect, and love on and offline. Architecting guidelines to protect and consequences to teach boundaries will build responsible adults.

Notable Quotes

Our assumption as digital immigrants is that screen time means being disengaged or anitsocial., but when teens use social media, the opposite is often true.

One of the best things we can in the meantime is build bridges-rather than walls- between ourselves and our kids when they fail in these areas.

We want our kids to learn how to love their neighbors and live out their faith online as well as off. But what does that even look like? How can we help our kids to get into the habit of being salt and light, an ambassadors for God’s kingdom in the digital world?

When it comes to raising kids who will become healthy adults, we must allow enough freedom so that our kids can learn resilience,self-regulation, and responsibility for themselves.

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