Talking Back to Facebook by James P. Steyer


This a parenting book but I am not a parent (I’m still in school, I don’t need any kids right now). I mostly just checked this book out from the library because I find books about technology and social media interesting. Also, I wanted to compare Steyer’s advice for parents in a digital age to what my parents did for me and my little brother back when technology was relatively new but advancing.

Basically, this book is for parents or guardians who want to make sure their kids are being influenced in the right way in a world that’s quick to influence them in a wrong way. It’s true that a child’s natural curiosity can expose them to things that they shouldn’t be exposed to. Even though there are filters and minimum/recommended ages and censors, young kids are still exposed, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes purposefully, to inappropriate images, movies, games, websites, and music.


I know when I was growing up, we had one computer (big and beige with a tangle of wires in the back anyone?) and it was in a common room. At an early age, my parents instilled values about what was wrong and what was right, so I could basically make relatively good choices with respect to online behavior. My first cell phone was a Motorola Razr and I got it on my 13th birthday (it was pink, bleh), and social networking was out of the question until high school.

Now that the times are changing, my little brother did everything I did, but sometimes at an earlier age. His first phone was an iPhone 4, which he got at 14. Social networking? Age 13. Although we grew up with the same computer, he mostly used our first PC as a child, a flatscreen Windows XP (of course now we all use Macs but that’s a different story). At that time, we each had a computer in our own rooms (he was about 9 at the time). Even with our 4 year difference, you can see how technology has changed the environment in which we grew up. Is it for the better or for the worse? I don’t know, we might have to wait a few more years to find out.

Now I did like the book. I found it very interesting and I’ll most likely use the information for me or for any future children I have. I did skim over a few parts because, like I said, I’m not a parent. The information was a bit repetitive, then again, I read the whole book, not just the parts dedicated to a certain topic or age group like some parents may do. Steyer is the CEO of company Common Sense so you can expect some plugs for his company throughout, but I found it quite annoying. Then again, I’m not a parent, and I’m sure some parents would love to be reminded of resources that they can use to teach their children about the influence of technology. So if you are a parent of a young child or a teenager, I would recommend this book for you.


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