Book Review: Growing Up Healthy in a World of Digital Media January 02 2020

Waldorf and Technology/MediaGrowing Up Healthy in a World of Digital Media
A guide for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents

This is an essential and timely book that addresses the dangers of screen time, addiction, and EMFs on human beings, especially on young ones. It helps empower parents and teachers to be mindful and vigilant. The overwhelming acceptance of digital media (digital everything!) happened as if without Input from us, parents, teachers, everyone! Schools, businesses, and ordinary people were, within a decade, all managing, reading, learning and communicating on wired, digital devices. Only recently have the deleterious effects of free-range use of digital media become well-known.  Behavior disorders, depression, addiction, loss of concentration, and general feelings of malaise or unhappiness have been traced back to screen time for many.  The younger the user, the more powerful the impact.

Rather than scolding about something none of us were warned about, the book works systematically through points of empowerment for parents and teachers, emphasizing the positive effects of human attention and attentive caring for the young. The book quietly reminds us of our potential as parents and as teachers, and the responsibility we hold to protect our children from the possible harm that can come to them — Digital media is no exception! This book guides in how to monitor and protect children from dangerous sites, predatory infiltration, overuse and addiction, cyber bullying, sexting, and porn; all things open to our children on the internet, on screens.

There are good insights to remember and discuss openly and inclusively. Our communities are vulnerable to the current tendencies toward polarization. Rather than blame each other for screen use or for not being “with it” enough, the book offers a middle path of speaking openly together and developing agreements around electronics — with our children, our partners, our students, and ourselves.

In the first part of the 21st Century, Waldorf teachers suffered being the brunt of jokes for holding the line on not including digital and electronic media in the classroom.  Now we might have the only classrooms left in our culture in which human connectedness and human interactions are valued as the highest level of learning possible. Heart to heart, children learn most effectively and most deeply. It turns out that what we knew then has proven to be true. The widespread exploitation of young people as a “market” to sell electronics turns out to be more destructive than helpful. With the rising statistics on teen suicides, this good book proves helpful in paying attention to what matters most in our lives — our children! Focused attention on them, and not focused attention elsewhere or on a screen is a powerful force of positivity in a young person’s life. 

Waldorf Publications is honored to be included in the publishing of this book for North American readers. Growing Up Healthy in a World of Digital Media was originally published in the EU in collaboration with InterActions Publishers in England. We were asked to participate in order to amplify the book’s impact and were very happy to do so!


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