BOOK REVIEW: Raising Digital Families FOR DUMMIES

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A book recently caught our attention that seemed absolutely perfect to review. The book is RAISING DIGITAL FAMILIES FOR DUMMIES, a book in the Dummies series expertly written by social media powerhouse Amy Bair, who blogs at resourcefulmommy.com.  She’s also  a social media marketing expert with her own agency: http://www.resourcefulmommymedia.com

New book by Amy Lupold Bair about best practices for raising digital kids.

New book by Amy Lupold Bair about best practices for raising digital kids.

If you are not familiar with the DUMMIES series, they are very clear books that pretend as if you had almost no knowledge of the subject matter.  However, Dummies has broader appeal than “Neophytes.”

Because this book starts from scratch, it  is a great primer for  parents who might not understand what twitter is, or why their kid is spending all of their time taking photographs of their food, or exactly what makes a smartphone so smart. And if you happen to be pretty knowledgable about the subject, (as I am)  Amy has loaded the book full of more advanced content.

The book  covers a gamut of issues, from cyberbullying and digital footprints to your families social media policy and online etiquette.   She goes into exhaustive detail about a number of different devices and services, and how to tweak the privacy settings in a lot of them.  Some of the technical data is bound to change (even as we speak, Flickr underwent an enormous cosmetic change with some policy issues– and Facebook’s privacy settings are mercurial.)  Nevertheless, she gives you the tools, and the reasoning why, so it should be pretty easy to extrapolate on what to do.

Raising Digital Families For DummiesOne of the most useful chapters in the book details the hows and whys of creating a Digital Family policy.  She gives some excellent guidelines on how to communicate with your child clearly and effectively, and what the major pitfalls you are trying to avoid are.  She also gives you some very handy tips on how to monitor your kids online accounts.  Another useful chapter details a number of online kids networks.  Once again, these are bound to change overtime, but they are accurate right now.

There’s a whole section on gaming, including information on game ratings, and various devices for kids and another section (although a little small) on teen blogging and entrepreneurship.  You can’t cover EVERYTHING in exhaustive detail, and you could write a whole ‘nother book on online teen entrepreneurship.  In fact there is one already:  START IT UP, by Kenrya Rankin. (It covers teen entrepreneurship in general.)  

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For an entry level book, I was very impressed with the scope and info contained in this book.  I think she did a great job of explaining some pretty difficult concepts, and lays a groundwork for digital neophytes dummies to learn more. I consider myself pretty knowledgable about the subject matter, and I learned some new things.  

If you are a digital immigrant trying to understand your digital native kids, I think Raising Digital Families For Dummies would be an invaluable source of information.  And even if you are already a blogger or digital maven, I am sure you’ll learn something new from the content.  And if you are a digital teen with clueless parents, this would not be a bad book to read to see where your parents are coming from.

We highly recommend this book as a great starting place.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com
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