Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World

TarcherPerigee. Sept. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780593420966. $26. CHILD REARING
Heitner’s (Screenwise) goal is to close the technology knowledge gap between parents and kids through education. These days, parents are afraid of a myriad of issues, like their children’s texts, online bullying, sexting, and a private post becoming public and destroying one’s reputation or job possibilities. But Heitner indicates that a fear-based approach leads to children feeling distrusted. She believes conversation is a wiser strategy than reading texts, though she acknowledges that tracking can feel easier than building trust and having challenging discussions. She also addresses parents’ own social media usage, or “sharenting,” which can cause college pressure, social embarrassment, and discouragement in their children. The book addresses neurodiversity, mental health, and sex and gender identity. It also offers readers sound ideas for supporting BIPOC kids and promoting antiracism. Sexting and sexual harassment are also tackled here.
VERDICT A comprehensive resource on a topic that interests many parents. Will prove essential for parents of children in the elementary through teenage years.
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