After reading this book, I went to the internet to learn more about the author and publisher. I love watching a movie, then reading all about it on IMDB. I wish that there was something similar for books. Goodreads is nearly there – but imagine having a page where you could click on trivia about the book, character break-downs and then click through to learn more about the illustrator or publisher. It is the sign of a thought-provoking book when you want to learn more about it.
Parenting for the Digital Age is written by Bill Ratner, a voiceover artist perhaps best known for voicing ‘Flint’ in the 1980s GI Joe cartoons. He learned a lot through having a father work in advertising and through his own voiceover and promotions work in advertising. This book is quite simply his explanation of advertising, television and the kind of harm it can do to children.
Not in the least dry or prescriptive, this book is very engaging, with quite an engrossing narrative. Bill is quite an accomplished storyteller (he even competes in storytelling competitions) and his book mostly outlines his experiences. He focuses heavily on the purpose of advertising and his commitment to limit the influence of this advertising on his family. He talks a lot about how he and his wife decided to be very deliberate about what their children were exposed to – they do not oppose all movies or TV for example, just unexamined, mindless watching.
There are no lists or directives, rather Bill seeks to persuade you of his approach through his accounts. It is more persuasive I think for presenting his information this way. However, some quick summaries of his main points might have been useful. There are, though, references and suggestions for websites to assist parents if they wish to get specific tips on digital parenting.
This is a very simple to read book, and a good starting point for thinking about parenting in a world full of devices.
Reviewed by Emma Wong-Ming
Parenting for the Digital Age
by Bill Ratner
Published by Familius