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Culture Children's Books
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in its Proper Place
Too often tablets, TVs, and other pixelated wonders disconnect us from one another and the real world. In this book, former Christianity Today executive editor Andy Crouch shares up-to-date insights (using graphs and illustrations) into the challenges of technology. He then offers 10 commitments to put technology “in its proper place.” Not everyone will agree with all of Crouch’s suggestions, such as keeping kids away from screens until age 10. But even tech-loving parents will appreciate Crouch’s hopeful vision for how families can use technology and flourish.
Help! My Kids Are Viewing Pornography
Tim Challies & Paul Tautges
This 64-page “LifeLine Mini-book” offers front-line triage for parents in the area of internet pornography. Challies begins with stories and statistics to help parents understand the extent of the problem. He then explains why porn is sinful and points readers to Christ for help. A final chapter helps families install accountability software and other parental controls to keep pornography out of kids’ reach. Challies acknowledges the role of family communication in this battle, although he gives little instruction for building that dialogue. Overall, a good first resource for families in crisis.
Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?
In Liked, Kampakis cheerfully but soberly thinks through the dangers of putting too much emphasis on others’ approval. She uses real-life stories, Bible verses, and straightforward application to point teens to God, whose love for them cannot be shaken. Kampakis excels at coaching girls to examine their hearts as they navigate relationships. Even teens who don’t normally think about social media in theological terms will find her reasoning logical and winsome. One criticism: Though filled with much godly wisdom, the book largely overlooks repentance, a critical part of gaining and keeping God’s approval.
52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid
While McKee’s books often aim directly at teens (see The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket), 52 Ways helps parents entice kids willingly to put their phones away. Occasionally, his advice seems too laissez-faire (“If you come across inappropriate content [in their music], simply ask questions”), and his suggestions repeat themes of eating, working, and playing together. Still, frustrated parents looking to reconnect with kids may appreciate his field-tested ideas, which range from hiking and biking to buying a hot tub. Discussion questions promote listening and leading rather than lecturing.
Families with public library accounts may find apps like OverDrive and Hoopla to be cheap, convenient ways to access library resources. Both apps can be downloaded for free onto mobile devices. Patrons then use the apps to borrow e-books and audiobooks (and movies and music where available).
These apps also create potential for harm, however. Overdrive alone offers more than 2 million book titles from 5,000-plus publishers, some of which include pornographic or otherwise objectionable material. Children who access the app directly may come across these materials.
Adults and parents who keep oversight of book selection may still find the apps worthwhile. Among the dross, my library offers audio versions of kids’ classics like Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective Book 1 by Eve Titus (Oasis Audio, 2017) and The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit (Dancing Unicorn Books, 2017). —E.W.