Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Plugged-In Parenting

Bob Waliszewski writes Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War, a must read for all parents.  Our society is inundated with media, movies, TV, video games, the Internet, ..., and most of today's technology didn't exist 15 years ago, even 10 years ago.

What is a parent to do?  Waliszewski suggests a little common sense and a lot of communication.

Waliszewski is the director of Plugged In Online (a publication from Focus on the Family).  He watches movies, listens to music, plays video games, and then reviews them, for a living.  In this book he lays out a common sense approach to teaching our children, and us adults, how to discern when it comes to their media choices.  The book is filled with quotes, interviews and research that proves that media DOES have an impact on a person. 

The book is divided into parts, and it progresses from asking ourselves WHY we should be concerned with what our children watch and listen to, then walks us through addressing these issues with our children.  His approach takes the emotion out of the situation, you know what I mean, the emotion that happens when a parent tells a child to stop watching a show, and the outburst from the child because their rights are violated.  Let us face it, no one is happy, and the situation could have been dealt with in a much more positive way.

Waliszewski challenges us to not pick the lesser of two evils, but the right choice.  He reminds us not to be legalistic in dealing with the media and our children, but to give them choices, with positive alternatives.  And, while we read this book, we should also encourage our children to read articles on media discernment.  Involve them in the process.  Bottom line, we are teaching our children to discern without the input of a parent.   

Waliszewski does take a hard line when it comes to media.  If you read a review, Plugged In will outline ALL positive and negative elements of a movie, or video game.  I understand that this book, and the reviews may put off some people.  I recommend that you stick it out, and keep reading.  The bottom line message is a good one.  Movies, music, and video games, they affect people in different ways.  What he writes about may seem extreme, but it is a message worth reading and internalizing.

***In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations: Tyndale Publishing Group gave me a free copy of Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War for this review.

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