Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet. By Kathryn C. Montgomery. MIT Press. $29.95.
The Guy’s Guide to Surviving Toddlers, Tantrums, and Separation Anxiety (Yours, Not Your Kid’s!). By Michael Crider. Da Capo. $12.95.
Here are two attempts, one very sober and the other very lighthearted, to say something about childhood and parenting in the digital age. Generation Digital takes itself so seriously that its footnotes and index are more than half the length of its text (120 pages vs. 225). It is an advocacy book – Kathryn C. Montgomery is founder of the Center for Media Education (CME) as well as a professor at American University’s School of Communication – and is, at bottom, more for policy wonks than for parents (except when the policy wonks are parents). Montgomery makes a good basic point about modern, media-driven perceptions of today’s children and teens: on the one hand, they are the most technology-savvy people ever, far more connected to far more devices holding far more information than has ever been widely available in history; on the other hand, they are innocents who can and will be corrupted by the nature of much of the information to which they are exposed, unless something can be done to protect them. Just what that something should be is by no means clear. For example,
Michael Crider’s concerns are as focused and humor-filled as