Childhood Unplugged

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A book review of Childhood Unplugged: Practical Advice to Get Kids Off Screens and Find Balance by Katherine Johnson Martinko

A book review of Childhood Unplugged: Practical Advice to Get Kids Off Screens and Find Balance by Katherine Johnson Martinko

Stars: ****

New Society Publishers (2022)
176 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: Screens are everywhere. Children spend an average of 7.5 hours on digital devices every day with profoundly negative consequences. While some tech may “amplify” real life experience (online music lessons or Zoom calls with faraway family, for example), the vast majority “amputates” by limiting physical activity, creating anxiety, or damaging self-esteem. Childhood Unplugged takes a bold approach to creating healthy boundaries around the use of digital media, suggesting kids should be offline for the majority of their time.

Drawing on her own family’s experience, plus interviews with digital minimalists, educators, and child development experts, author Katherine Martinko presents:

  • Meticulously researched analysis of the impacts of excessive screen time on children’s physical, neurological, emotional, and social development
  • Specific pathways to reduced screen exposure, naturally leading to more time spent outdoors, increased confidence and empathy, more creative and active play, and other benefits
  • Inspiration for caregivers overwhelmed by the thought of severing ties with the digital babysitter
  • Age-appropriate advice for fundamental change, with specific sections for babies and toddlers, school-aged children, and adolescents.

Taking a calming, nonjudgmental approach, Childhood Unplugged is a lifeline for parents, caregivers, educators, and anyone who questions the role of digital media and yearns for the young people in their life to experience the profound beauty and magic of childhood.

Childhood Unplugged

My children (and me) are very plugged in so we needed this book. It’s a bit more strict than I was expecting but is still good advice. It proposes cutting out electronics until grade 8 at the earliest and even then, just a flip phone. She doesn’t agree with electronics in schools which I have to say I have to agree with for the most part. Online learning was the last straw for us and lead us back to homeschooling although it was only one of the reasons. In our homeschool we use electronics sparingly because my kids use it so much outside of school.

I do want to use some of her points to unplug us more but I’m not willing to go tech free. I feel this book is better for those with young children who can start no tech right from the get go. It will be a lot easier although she does give advice for moving from a tech household to a tech free or tech limited household.

I appreciate the Amplify, Don’t Amputate chapter which explains how when you DO use tech, how you can use it for good. It shows the difference between what amplifies your life and what amputates it.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.