Angela K’s Thoughts-
“Growing Up Social” Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane
Growing up Social: raising relational kids in a screen-driven world appears to be a focused book detailing specific strategies on how to help kids limit their screen time and find healthy boundaries. While the book does a very good job sharing these strategies, it is also helpful in a much broader sense. It goes deeper to explain why kids need screen-free time, and how parents and other caregivers can replace technology overuse with genuine relationships.
In the first few chapters, authors Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane discuss how much screen time may be unhealthy, and provide suggestions on how parents can set practical limits. They go into detail citing a number of research studies which link too much screen time to physical and mental health problems in kids.
Next, Chapman and Pellicane explain five positive character traits which kids growing up today need in order to form strong and healthy relationships. These ‘A-Plus skills are; Affection, Appreciation, Anger management, Apology, and Attention. An entire chapter is dedicated to each skill. The authors explain how too much screen time works against the development of each of these skills, and they give many practical and helpful ways to help build these skills into kids.
The next several chapters take readers through specific parenting issues, and how they are related to screen time. These topics include Shyness, Brain development, Love Languages, Security, Parental Authority, and Single Parenting. The authors explain how the overuse of screens has made each of the above areas problematic, as well as giving many simple and practical ways to get a handle on these potential problems, not only through limiting kids’ screen time, but by by using good parenting strategies which are outlined in the book.
The book would be incomplete without addressing parental screen time. One of the last chapters is dedicated to explaining how parents own screen addictions rob their kids of much-needed attention, and how parents can set good limits on their own screen use, which models a healthy pattern for their kids to follow.
I liked this book very much. My own kids have less than an hour per week of screen time, and I feel these limits have been very healthy. Growing up Social helped me understand how important these limits are, as well as giving tons of excellent parenting advice. I would recommend this book to parents, grandparents, or anyone who looks after kids. It can be so easy to allow screen time to babysit kids, but this book explains well that the richness of a deep relationship often hinges on turning the screens off! This book is not only for families who want to find ways to move past overusing screens, though it is an excellent resource for any family stuck in this rut, but it is a great general resource for all families! I especially liked the pages of quick suggestions that would be easy for me to copy and put on the fridge to look at often!
Parenting and child-rearing strategies have changed so drastically since the advent of the smart-phone generation, and those of us who grew up before all this technology existed have to raise kids with technology at their fingertips. This is a new parenting requirement, and a challenge parents will feel confident to face after reading Chapman and Pellicane’s Growing up Social.
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