Looking at People Looking at Screens


The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life by Anya Kamenetz,
PublicAffairs, January 30, 2018

Schools have to play catch-up in our accelerating world. Each year, campuses increase their Wi-Fi, companies vie for technology budgets, administrators revise handbooks to include the latest social media, and teachers post more assignments online. In The Art of Screen Time, and in search of practical advice, NPR correspondent Anya Kamenetz wades through the click-bait studies that demonize or deify screen time. Parents are her intended audience, but educators should take note. Her measured synthesis of the research seeks to contextualize findings, identify extreme outliers, and address fears. As she “un-garbles” the mostly frightening research, Kamenetz offers candid experiences from surveys and her own parenting. Her balanced approach identifies warning signs, but also empowers parents to intentionally embrace the positive potential of technology. As she contemplates the role of screens in schools, Kamenetz critiques the often-unintentional use of technology and reminds us to be wary of the commercial motivations behind grabbing adult and child attention. The book then moves to address adult relationships to devices, and the shaming, guilt and harmful modeling that constant connectivity entails. This book is a timely read that extends to the digital world the Sizers’ caution that “the students are watching.”

Submitted By: Kelsey Berry, Holderness School, Holderness, NH

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