Reason Podcast

Why Parents Shouldn't Flip Out Over Too Much Screen Time: Podcast

Jordan Shapiro's The New Childhood boldly embraces technological innovation and the interconnected world it's creating.


"How do I prepare my children for a future I can't imagine?"

Adults project their fears onto children—our own or other people's—and especially tend to view new technologies (the internet) and cultural products (video games) as mortal threats to the way things have always been and should always be. That leads to a lot of really bad policies and ridiculous urban legends (Momo Challenge, anyone?). And constantly being in a state of panic over change makes life pretty sucky for kids and grown-ups alike.

My guest today is Jordan Shapiro, author of The New Childhood: Raising Kids To Thrive in a Connected World. Unlike virtually any other book about kids and digital culture that I have read in recent years, The New Childhood doesn't begin from the presumption that smartphones, tablets, and online gaming are making kids dumber, less focused, and unhappy. Shapiro, a psychologist who teaches at Temple University, has produced a thoughtful analysis of the benefits of new media for younger people. As important, he shows how adults need to understand the uniquely interconnected world in which their children now live. This deeply researched, historically conscious, and powerfully argued book blends academic rigor with personal experience and practical advice. In it, Shapiro takes free-range parenting into the cloud.

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