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Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age Paperback – May 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Jim's book could not be more timely."--Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City

“Steyer has penned a vital wake-up call for parents and government. He is a champion of both kids and the digital revolution. But he's neither giddy nor an apologist. He recognizes that companies like Facebook and Google and video game makers sway our kids, how they think and read and study and behave. If you're a parent and want some shrewd tips on parenting in this digital age and how to protect your children, read this book.”--Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of the World as We Know It

“In this courageous book, Jim Steyer pulls no punches. Whether or not you agree with his critique of Facebook and its Silicon Valley siblings, you must grapple with the deep issues that he raises.”--Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Jim Steyer is a relentless advocate for kids. Focusing on how the media intersects with their lives, Jim boldly takes on the issues, exploring the good, the bad, and the ugly alike—always the first to begin the conversation. I urge every parent to read this book, so that we can be prepared to navigate how new forms of media and communication are transforming children’s lives.”—Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Group

"Smart, savvy, sophisticated, down-to-earth. A book that parents and children can read together. A conversation-starter for families."--Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together

“For two decades Jim Steyer has been among the most prescient commentators about media and our children's lives, providing essential advice to parents about how to navigate these treacherous digital interactions. If Jim's approach has a fault it is tremendous faith in information to empower parents. What a wonderful faith to have.”--Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D.

“Steyer’s ‘common sense’ medicine for parents, educators, and others will promote better information, better decisions, and ultimately, better health --for our kids, families and communities.” --A. Eugene Washington, M.D., M.Sc., Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences, and Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

"Jim Steyer is the Paul Revere of the pixel universe, warning parents of the perils of social media. Whether they're adding friends on Facebook or meeting friends at the park, kids need to be kept safe from danger. Steyer's book is an indispensable safety tool for parents everywhere."--Congressman Ed Markey, U.S. House of Representatives

“James Steyer has provided a road map to transform the seductive online world into a healthy environment for families.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A wake-up call…. To get the most benefit out of the Web’s vast offerings, we need to more closely examine how we, or how our kids, are spending time online. It’s a hard thesis to contradict.”--Washington Post

About the Author

James P. Steyer has spent more than twenty years as one of the most respected experts and entrepreneurs on issues related to children's policy and media in the United States. As founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, he is responsible for the overall leadership of the nation's leading nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the media lives of kids and families. Steyer began his career as an elementary school teacher and went on to become a nationally respected child advocate, public interest lawyer, and Stanford professor. Jim lives with his wife and four children in the Bay Area. 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Original edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781451657340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451657340
  • ASIN: 145165734X
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James P. Steyer is founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, the nation's leading advocacy organization for kids and media, a founding board member of the Center for the Next Generation, a nonpartisan organization supporting programs and policies that benefit the next generation of young Americans, and author of Talking Back to Facebook (Scribner, 2012), a timely look at how digital media is effecting our children's social, emotional and cognitive development.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cannon on May 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Road rules for the information superhighway. From the science behind changes in the brains of our youth to the direct feedback from a 20+ year college professor who notes what our kids don't do well anymore.... focus, write clearly and effectively, and pay attention, here's a book from someone who embraces technology, but respectfully requests that we exercise self control in how we implement that technology into our lives.

You may not feel that there's much "new ground" in terms of what amounts to relative common sense suggestions for how to limit technological and social media influences, but there's more here than just a laundry list of suggestions. This is a well thought out, well reasoned manual for planning to succeed with social media. There is no complete shunning of all things world wide web related, but there is an thorough exploration of the practical application of technology.

I appreciate that the author doesn't attempt to shock and awe the reader, but instead chooses to provide meaningful insight on a subject that can be scary because of how ill informed older generations are. Here is an author who encourages us to get to know this world in which our children play and interact with one another. He suggests that we understand it by experiencing it so that we can help influence children to make the right decisions for themselves.

Finally, there is a wise message in these pages...that adults should embrace their roles as setting firm guidelines for the use of technology and then serving as good examples. Easier said than done....but necessary all the same.

Enlightening, thoughtful, and more complete than other books that attempt to cover a similar point of view. Well worth anyone's time - especially parents.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Weatherless in Texas on June 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Attention Parents, Teachers, and School Administrators! I have never written a recommendation before, but I have come across a book of such exceptional relevance, practical advice, and readability, I am taking this opportunity to do so now. The book is Talking Back to Facebook - The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age, by James Steyer.

The author is a professor at Stanford where he teaches civil rights, civil liberties, and children's issues. He is CEO of Common Sense Media. He has strong credentials, but his highest is the fact that he has four kids...all digital natives.

The book is a MUST read if you are a parent, but it also offers outstanding guideposts and advice for questions most parents are -or should be - asking. He tackles hard issues straight-on and avoids being patronizing or unrealistic about the range of choices and decisions both children and parents must make in today's technology-driven social and educational environments. I found different sections of this book appealed to me as an educator, father, and grandparent of a 4 year old with another due in the Fall.

To give you a flavor of his thesis: he addresses digital media issues based on the acronym RAP - Relationships, Attention/Addiction, and Privacy. His rule of thumb for living in the Digital Age (where data never dies)- which I've already quoted to my teachers, some parents, and my Sunday school class - is that children/students/teens must learn (be taught) to SELF-REFLECT before they SELF-REVEAL.

In his classes at Stanford he has observed that today's students are less able to concentrate, write well, think coherently, or synthesize information than students of a few years ago.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Murray VINE VOICE on November 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
James Steyer, acclaimed founder of Common Sense Media, has written often in articles and websites on the affect that social networks are having on our children. In his latest book, "Talking Back to Facebook" (Scribner 2012), Steyer discusses worries on every parent's mind about the social media engulfing our children.

With so much of education and play time revolving around digital devices like iPads, computers, Wii, apps, and more, parents have a right to be concerned and should question whether this tsunamic trend is healthy for a child's developing cognitive and psychological functions. Steyer's premise is that the obsession with Facebook and its ilk, as it seeps into younger and younger age groups, can be dangerous and must be controlled. To support his hypothesis, he covers important topics such as:

*Self image
*Addiction issues
*Your child's brain on computer
*Loss of privacy
*Why your child is at risk
*The end of innocence
*Embracing the positives of digital media
*Kids as data to marketers

He also provides a much-needed guide for parents on digital media topics their children face at different ages and what parents can/should do about it, including:

*An age specific summary
*What parents want to know
*What parents need to know

Pleasantly, much of his advice is common sense. Moderation is good. Extremes are bad. Pay attention to your child's life. Don't be afraid to step in. He gives parents permission to trust their instincts and create rules/guidelines for the digital natives they are raising. His approach in dispensing advice is to act as a mentor--a trusted adult from whom we seek advice.
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