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Tech Savvy Parenting: Navigating Your Child's Digital Life Review by Cristi Schwamb

Brian Housman
Randall House
114 Bush Road
Nashville, TN 37217
Reviewed in2015

Even though I can navigate Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, I still struggle to keep up with all of the technological options available for my two teenagers. What new apps are coming out? What concerns should I have about them? Why are most of the video games my son wants to play rated M for Mature? As a Christian parent, what up-and-coming technologies should I worry about?

Tech Savvy Parenting: Navigating Your Child’s Digital Life by Brian Housman answered all of those questions and more. This 144-page softcover book took a wealth of current statistics and boiled them down into an easy-to-understand format so that parents can be better informed about their children’s technological world.

Brain Housman walks parents step-by-step through the modern world of technology and shows us how to guide our children towards finding technological balance in their lives.

Balance starts with setting boundaries, and this book gives great suggestions for setting appropriate technological boundaries. Brian Housman guides parents through techniques for setting boundaries within the devices themselves (parental controls on iPods or iPhones) and appropriate limits negotiated between parents and children.

Several chapters of this book talk about privacy issues when it comes to texting, smart phone apps, and the Internet in general. I was skeptical when I started reading about how to set the privacy settings for specific websites such as Facebook. Thankfully, the book speaks in a general sense so parents can learn what settings they need to look for and typically where to find them. The directions were clear enough to follow but not so specific that they will be useless the next time Facebook decides to release a new version.

I was particularly impressed that this book went beyond the discussion of normal privacy rules and talked about protecting your online reputation by making sure that social networking does not paint an unflattering picture of you. My teenager found the section about colleges and employers looking at Facebook pages very interesting. It does make a difference which activities/interests you list online and which pictures you allow yourself to be tagged in.

This book talks about both the major social media sites and some of the smaller, up-and-coming sites (or apps) that are perhaps not as familiar to parents. Many of this information was eye-opening, if not downright shocking. I’m familiar with some video chat options, but I was unaware of how pornography has crept into and, in some cases, taken over the realm of video chat. I now have more knowledge so I can tell when I should be concerned about what my children are doing online.

Although most of this book deals with Internet websites and applications, the section on video games was also very well done. The research statistics are presented in a clear, unbiased manner, and the ESRB game rating system is fully explained so parents can be better informed about the game choices available for their teens. In the end, Brain Housman advocates that parents set a standard for their family and stick to it.

Throughout his book, Brian Housman emphasizes that technology is not an evil presence that should be completely banned from all homes. Tech Savvy Parenting doesn’t simply teach parents to rule over their children’s technological lives. It teaches parents to be involved in determining appropriate boundaries so that everyone in the family is using technology in a way that honors both themselves and the people around them.

-Product Review by Cristi Schwamb, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2015