“Looking back at my life I see that my foundation was truly tech-wise,” writes Amy Crouch, the 19-year-old co-author of My Tech-Wise Life. The household she grew up in includes her co-author father, Andy, her mother, and her brother. As parents of young children, the Crouch’s recognized technology as a possible detractor from the important things of life. They intentionally shaped their family time in a way that allowed books and games, reading and conversation to have a valued priority.
The younger Crouch, a Cornell University student, partners with research from the Barna Group in sharing her growing-up tech experience, inviting her readers to consider the ways in which technology finds its way into every facet of one’s day and night. Living with technology is a sum of many little choices that have a huge impact on thriving or deprivation. After each chapter, Amy’s father responds to what she has written. As much as the father/daughter idea is lovely and the elder Crouch is affirming, there is little added value in content and might even be a turn-off to some readers.
The Barna Group’s research touches on a wide range of human and technological interactions, from family choices to binge watching, anonymity, and secrecy. Crouch unpacks the ways in which a person and relationships are diminished if dependent on technology. This reader appreciated Crouch’s invitation for her readers to consider a Sabbath from technology, a practice she has continued into adulthood: a rest from technology one hour a day, one day a week, one week a year, and no phones in the bedroom.
The book is published in the same format as The Tech-Wise Family, Andy’s previous book on the same subject. As much as that was perfect for the parent audience it wanted to reach, My Tech-Wise Life might fall short of appeal for its intended audience. Crouch’s desire for her “readers to react not yawn” might be hampered by not getting into their hands at all. Those in Crouch’s own age group who are challenged by the invasiveness of technology in their lives will likely not pick up this book.
The Barna results, though invaluable to the text, lack visual clarity because of design choices, including font size and graph and diagram color tones.
This book is most likely to find its way into the average tech-saturated 15- to 20-year-old’s hands through someone else, and that someone would do well to consider his or her own tech-wise practices as well. My Tech-Wise Life is well suited as a reflective study for senior high students or youth groups. (BakerBooks)
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