Reading for Parents
This page has some suggested reading for parents to help keep children safe online, but also to keep God in your online life.
Bauerlein, Mark. The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future. Tarcher/Penguin, 2009 – An English professor takes readers on a journey into what he believes cyber-culture and technology is doing to young minds. This book is thoughtful, compelling, and worth reading/considering as it forces us to ask questions we might miss in our rush to embrace technology into our everyday lives.
Boers, Arthur. Living Into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions. Brazos, 2012. The rapid growth of technology our willingness to engage with it around the clock has hindered our ability to be quiet, to reflect, to listen, to relate to one another, and to rest. Arthur Boers offers a convincing and engaging invitation to slow down and develop what he calls “focal practices.” This is a book that will help adults not only live their lives focused on giving glory to God, but will help them teach the young people in their lives to do the same.
Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Norton, 2010. – Carr wonders if Google is “making us stupid” and looks at the growing body of evidence suggesting that yes, the Internet and our interaction with it does affect our brains. This is a look at the cultural, intellectual, and historical consequences of life on the digital frontier.
Challies, Tim. The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion. Zondervan, 2011. To date, this is the best book we’ve found that considers what it means to be a Christian and to engage with technology. After asking the question “Do I own my technology or does my technology own me?” , Challies embarked on a journey to merging experience, theory, and theology in an efficient mix that yields excellent guidance and wisdom for parents, pastors, and youth workers to integrate into their own lives and to pass on to their kids.
Chester, Tim. Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free. InterVarsity Press, 2010. With internet pornography shaping multiple generations as a result of increased prevalence, acceptance, and access, Tim Chester brings good theology to bear on the quest to break free from pornography’s deadly and addictive grip. The steps are practical, biblical, and do-able. This is a book that should be read and then kept at arm’s length by every parent, youth worker, pastor, and counsellor.
Dyer, John. From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology. Kregel, 2011. This book serves as a thoughtful and challenging primer on how to think Christianly about technology. How to use technology to the glory of God, how technology shapes us without us even knowing it, and how to manage technology while not allowing technology to lead and form us in ways that are contrary to a biblical world and life view. This is an excellent book for youth workers and parents to read as you ponder how to speak intelligently about technology use with your kids.
Groothuis, Douglas. The Soul In Cyberspace. Baker, 1997. Don’t let the copyright date fool you on this one. While the book is over 15 years old, it still speaks wisely regarding how technology affects our spirituality. Especially helpful are Groothuis’ reflections on how the truth will fare in cyberspace, and the role that technology plays in reshaping community.
Hipps, Shane. Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith. Zondervan, 2009. This book explores the hidden and easily overlooked power of media and technology in how we look at ourselves, our world, and God. Hipps trains and challenges us to see things we might miss, and learn how to use technology rather than be used by technology.
Jackson, Maggie. Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. Prometheus Books, 2008. Jackson offers a compelling case for the fact that in spite of all our great technologies and scientific advances we are nurturing a culture of diffusion, fragmentation, and detachment. She shows how our capacity for deep focus and awareness are not only eroding, but put our culture and society at risk.
Lohrmann, Daniel J. Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web. Brazos, 2008. Life in the digital age brings a host of new dangers and challenges, including the genuine threat of identity theft. Lohrmann, a computer security expert, warns readers to be mindful of technology’s ability to steal one’s integrity. This book will help us understand and address the temptations that compete for our thoughts, dreams, time, and money.
McCluhan, Marshall. The Medium is the Message. Gingko Press, 1967. The classic and prophetic work from the 1960s media critic. McCluhan argues that all media work us over. His words have proven true in the almost-50 years since he penned them. His message is sorely needed as we embark on the digital frontier.
Schultze, Quentin J. Habits of the High-Tech Heart: Living Virtuously in the Information Age. Baker, 2002. Schultze, a well-respected Christian media critic, calls listeners to think seriously about our tendency to uncritically adopt all new technologies without discerning the options, setting reasonable limits, and establishing best practices. This book offers insight and advice on how to be responsible and Godly media consumers in ways that build, rather than destroy, God’s Kingdom.
Schuurman, Derek C. Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture, and Computer Technology. InterVarsity Press, 2013. If our Christian faith is to be integrated into all of life, what does religion have to say about technology and how we use it? Schuurman looks at technology through the flow of biblical history – creation, fall, redemption, restoration – and offers sound advice on how to live with technology in ways that promote the Kingdom of God. This is an excellent book for anyone wondering what a Christian worldview has to do with computer technology.
Woods, Robert H. and Paul D. Patton. Prophetically Incorrect: A Christian Introduction to Media Criticism.
Brazos, 2010. An Introduction to Thinking Christianly and Biblically about Media and Technology.