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Book Review: Raising Humans in a Digital World by Diana Graber

If you can’t remember what color your teen’s eyes are because you feel like they rarely look up from a screen, you’re not alone. So how do we balance our kids’ digital world with the real one?

Parenting in the 21st century comes with challenges never experienced in previous generations. Now we’re swimming in the digital ocean of internet memes and texting jargon, just trying not to drown (or look clueless). Digital literacy educator and advocate Diana Graber throws parents a much-needed life raft with her practical, hands-on guide, Raising Humans in a Digital World.

What makes Raising Humans stand out from a sea of recent similar books is Graber’s extensive experience with the subject. She is the cofounder of Cyberwise, an online safety and digital literacy organization, and the founder of Cyber Civics, a digital citizenship and literacy program used by middle schools across the country.

Graber acknowledges the importance of technology in our kids’ lives. But she also believes in setting age-appropriate limits for devices, screen time, and social media. “Remember, it’s all about balance—finding it and maintaining it,” Graber advises in the book.

Yet knowing when—and how much—technology our kids should have in their lives is tricky.

Parents and teachers have to find a way to compete with devices for teens’ attention. Cyberbullying, internet predators, and sexting are just a few of the topics concerning parents when they hand over the password to the home computer or activate their teen’s new smartphone. Graber addresses all of these risks and more, offering balanced and rational advice for navigating the dangers of the digital world and finding calm in the storm.

At the heart of Graber’s advice is a very low-tech suggestion: communication.

She encourages open discussion between parents and teens about all aspects of technology use. And she recommends parents lead by example. Other tips include using technology to manage technology, connecting to nature, and staying educated on screen-time guidelines.

With a variety of relatable topics, useful tips, and helpful exercises for the entire family, Raising Humans in a Digital World is a practical guide that parents will return to again and again.

Kristina Wright is the digital editor at Your Teen.

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