Raising Tech-healthy humans was a well deserving shortlisted book in this year’s Australian Christian Book of the Year. Written by productivity consultant Daniel Sih, this book encourages families to pre-empt the screen/tech balance before things get out of hand. It’s not specifically Christian in content (so there’s no Bible references or justifications) but that’s a strength not a flaw because we all know it’s not just Christian families who are struggling with how to set boundaries with their children and devices.
One of the main recommendation points for this book is the extremely practical and honest approach it takes.
There are three sections. Part 1, Setting the scene, discusses the key issues parent are navigating as they consider how their children (and their family) think about tech. It looks at the impact of tech on developing brains and places the focus on the long-term goal of raising healthy kids who become wise adults. Part 2, The Starter Framework guides parents through practical steps to set healthy boundaries, including – and I thought this was excellent – starting with yourself. Part 3, The Path Forward, gets even more hands on with a step-by-step checklist and a bonus list of 100 fun non-screen activities to do with kids.
What I really loved about this book was the relational focus, turning our attention not to tech as the bad guy, but in seeking the strengths and positives we’d like to develop in our children and families (and, let’s be honest, ourselves too). Each chapter has an In Sum summary, a Something to think about question/discussion prompt and/or a Make it happen list of questions. These equip families with realistic steps to grow tech-healthy humans. I’ll admit I found many points along the way that I wanted to put into practice with my own family.
There was really only one line I disagreed with in this book and it was this: ‘Childhood is a wonderful part of life, but adulthood is the main game.’ For me, childhood, adolescence or adulthood are all the main game. They are where God meets us, he never expects any more or less of the stage we are in. And I’m sure that’s what Daniel Sih believes too, because if he didn’t this book wouldn’t be so supportive of the development stages of our kids. The point he is making is rather that as parents, we need to remember that growth is the goal, so that when our kids do eventually reach adulthood, they are equipped for wise decisions about tech, life and relationships. I love this quote from the book’s conclusion: ‘Almost anyone can disconnect from a screen for long enough to muck around with their kids in the rub of real life. Raising tech-healthy humans is as simple and as difficult as that.’
A great book, worth gifting to any family with kids and then loaned again to those they know.
My thanks to Sparklit for the review copy of this book and congratulations Daniel Sih on a fantastic resource!
All the details you need:
Title: Raising tech-healthy humans: how to reset your children’s tech-habits and give them a great start to life.
Written by: Daniel Sih
Published by: Spacemakers
Available from Spacemakers or The Wandering Bookseller.
The Penny Drops
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