Screens and Teens – Kathy Koch

Screens and Teens Kathy Koch

QUICK HIT: In Screens and Teens: Connection with Our Kids in a Wireless World, Dr. Kathy Koch provides a balanced  presentation of using technology. She never errs to the side of condemning technology, but instead is careful to present technology as a magnifier—it simply makes some mistakes easier to make. If you have a teen that’s struggling with phone issues or simply want to be proactive, this is the book to read.

Screen are taking over our lives (hey, you’re reading this, aren’t you?). From smartphones to computers to tablets to TVs, it seems like everything we do in life involving looking at a screen. This has implications for us in the real world. Family conversation gives way to iPhone games at dinner. Playing outside with friends migrates indoors to online gaming. Reading gives way to television.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these different kinds of technology, it’s simply our obsession with it that causes the problem. So how do we cure ourselves? In Screens and Teens: Connection with Our Kids in a Wireless World, Dr. Kathy Koch leaves readers with a strategy for success.

We’ve all seen it. The family of five out to dinner. Five sets of eyes glued to their respective phones. Mom’s tapping out a work email. Dad’s checking on the game. The kids are playing various games. Everyone is there. No one is present. Or, take this example that Koch relates from the book. A child was playing and her mom was taking pictures. The child’s only concern: Is that picture good enough for Facebook?

Very quickly, Koch draws us in to the power of screens and the effect they have on our life. And she’s quick to point out that it’s not just the kids. Parents get sucked into screen time just as easily. The first half of the book sets up Koch’s context, dealing with lesses and mores. Less screen time, more family time. And so on. But the latter half of the book, while focused on fixing screen-obsession, really does well for any context by focusing on five lies teenagers believe.

Of those five, I want to quickly highlight #5: I don’t need teachers because I have information. We are a googly age. Why memorize something when I can look it up in three seconds? With the internet in my pocket, I can become an insta-expert (or so believe myself to be) on virtually any subject. Koch expertly (real expertise, not the googly kind) explains the difference between information and knowledge and highlights the benefits that good teachers bring.

Koch’s presentation is quite balanced. She never errs to the side of condemning technology, but instead is careful to present technology as a magnifier—it simply makes some mistakes easier to make. If you have a teen that’s struggling with phone issues or simply want to be proactive, this is the book to read.