It’s hot off the press: Right Click, a book on parenting teens in a digital age, brought to you by the same research institute that wrote the well-known book Sticky Faith. Now, I’m no digital novice and my son is only in elementary school, but this new resource offered valuable key insights.
First off all, I so appreciate a book on this topic that is not downright negative and judging about the digital age our kids grow up in. I’m so tired of well-meaning people lamenting the good old days—they’re not coming back and besides, in many ways the new technologies have brought improvements I truly appreciate.
What’s also refreshing is that the advice doesn’t focus on rules, but on principles and conversations. I quote: “A host of resources […] tell parents what to do about the latest digital media fad, rather than how to think about digital media more comprehensively.”
As (grand)parents, youth leaders, teachers, etc. we are from a different generation. We know deep down that we approach media differently than teens, but we don’t always take the time to understand how differently. This book makes clear what social media mean to teens for instance, what their goals are and the incentives (‘perceived needs’) for using them.
The focus in Right Click is purely on strengthening the relationship with your kids, by continuous conversations about digital media. The authors give multiple examples of how technology can actually bring you closer together as a family, instead of making each family member an island unto him/herself.
One key insight for me, was how much adults model the wrong behavior. We don’t want our kids to use phones in the car, but we do it all the time. We want kids to behave well online, yet adults constantly show their ugly sides by leaving nasty comments, using foul language, or trolling. It’s adults who ‘teach’ kids bad online behavior, for instance by inappropriate behavior.
The book offers suggestions for media covenants you can set up as a family, shows how you can mentor your kids in becoming responsible digital citizens, and much more. It’s practical, warm, and above all realistic.
I loved the quotes and stories from other parents, which communicated what was said early on in the book: this kind of parenting is new and we are making it up as we go along. So there’s bound to be fails and mistakes…and that’s okay. Right Click may help you prevent a few though.
[Disclaimer: I received an advanced reading copy of this book in return for an honest review. I happened to really like the book, but if I hadn’t, I would have said so. Just so we’re clear.]
P.S. Right Click is also for sale through the Youth Cartel!