Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review - Talking Back to Facebook by: James P. Steyer

Title: Talking Back to Facebook
Author: James P. Steyer
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Source: Turkish edition, personal purchase

Description:

Now, more than ever, parents need help in navigating their kids' online, media-saturated lives. Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media and the father of four children, knows that many parents and teachers — unlike their technology-savvy kids — may be tourists in the online world.

Now, in this essential book, Steyer — a frequent commentator on national TV and radio — offers an engaging blend of straightforward advice and anecdotes that address what he calls "RAP," the major pitfalls relating to kids' use of media and technology: Relationship issues, Attention/Addiction problems, and the lack of Privacy. Instead of shielding children completely from online images and messages, Steyer's practical approach gives parents essential tools to help filter content, preserve good relationships with their children, and make common-sense, value-driven judgments for kids of all ages.

My thoughts:

I remember when Jurassic Park hit theaters in Turkey, I begged my mom and aunt to take me and my sister to see it. All my friends at school had seen it, which then meant I had to had to! see it as well. After they saw what it was all about, mom and aunt referred the situation to my father. He went and saw it with his friends, then decided to not to take us; his reasoning was that "everyone looked very scared when they were getting out of the theater." In middle school when I finally watched the movie, I realized and understood the reasoning behind my parents not letting me see it when we were so young...
When I was at the grocery store the other day, I saw a small kid sitting in the shopping basket, playing with her mother's phone, watching videos as the mom was comparing prices on an item. Of course, this made me remember my Jurassic Park anecdote. If I were a kid today, I would have found that movie online and watched it without anyone even knowing. James P. Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, touches upon social media, which can be even more dangerous than movies, and its place in children's lives in his book Talking Back to Facebook.

When I was a child, most of my friends' mothers were stay-at-home mothers like my own. Before my mother gave me a book to read, she would read it herself first and decide if it was appropriate. My mother, aunt and grandmother would watch cartoons and movies with us, knew what was being coded into our brains as we enjoyed the colorful moving pictures. Today, however, most parents have to work and work hard all day and don't really have the time to pay that kind of attention to their children. I'm not judging anyone; I know personally how hard it is to make a living. But I also cannot deny feeling sad when I see parents handing their children an iPad or an iPhone so they can chat and have their tea in peace. This looks innocent, but it also leads me to think that they do not really know or think too much about the fact that technology has a very dark side.
In the book, James P. Steyer gives examples from his own life with his kids and their relationship to social media as he gives clues about how children can benefit from technology's advantages and be protected from the hard it can cause. At what age should your child be introduced to the digital world? What kind of problems does the overuse of digital media cause? How can you prevent your child from being addicted to their computer or TV? How should you monitor what they're sharing on social media? These are the kinds of questions Steyer is trying to answer. It's very obvious that in order to protect children, a lot falls on the shoulders of parents, as well as governments and the founders of social media giants.

I won't go into too much detail because there is a lot to talk about and it's all in the book, but I can say that everyone should read this whether or not they have children. Sometimes, you'll go "I already know this," but then when you think about it a little bit, you'll realize you don't dwell on it too much, and that it'd be better if you did. I really wish there was an organization like Common Sense Media in Turkey as well because both children and parents really do need to be educated on how technology, especially social media should be used correctly and carefully.

2 shout outs:

Dark Angel said...

definitely sounds like a book I need to look into as my kids are at the addicted stage. They did great when we had Power Outage back 2 years ago during Hurricane Alfred I wish in some ways it was back as the kids wouldn't be addicted to electronics and the internet and to them that is usually you tube. Great review I will definitely look into this book!

Simay Yildiz said...

Thank you! I really liked the information it provides and the tone it takes with the reader. Hope you find it as useful as I did!