The Big Disconnect Book Summary By Catherine Steiner-Adair

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The Big Disconnect (2013) provides parents with a comprehensive look at how digital technology is impacting their children's development.

Written by author, Catherine Steiner-Adair, the book delves into how online games, social media sites and other digital platforms have drastically changed the way that today's babies, toddlers and children are growing up.

The book outlines the potential negative effects of bringing up kids in this new era – from reduced attention spans to increased anxiety and depression – as well as giving advice on what parents can do to protect their children from these developmental hindrances.

It also offers valuable insight into how parents can connect with their kids despite the ever-growing presence of digital media in their lives.

The Big Disconnect Book

Book Name: The Big Disconnect (Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age)

Author(s): Catherine Steiner-Adair

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 14 Minutes

Categories: Technology & the Future

Author Bio


Catherine Steiner Adair is a renowned clinical psychologist and highly esteemed author.

She has extensive experience in the field of child and family therapy, as well as being an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a consultant for many respected schools.

Her renowned book “The Big Disconnect” has become an instant classic in the area, setting forth her insightful take on how technology is adding to rather than detracting from the human condition.

With such credentials and exposure to both sides of the story it is clear why she is held in the highest regard when it comes to this debate.

Cyber Risks

Raising your children in the digital age requires a unique approach.

The explosion of smartphones and tablets have made it easier (and sometimes harder) to protect our kids from potential cyber hazards.

It’s up to us as parents to not only provide them with a safe online environment, but also to know what risks exist and how to effectively guard against them.

In The Big Disconnect, you’ll find out how much access we should give our children to digital media and how to protect them from explicit or violent content.

Additionally, you’ll understand why people behave so badly in online chat rooms and why educational DVDs are not always beneficial for children.

You will be better equipped when it comes to discussing social networking issues with your children and recognizing signs of cyber bullying on Facebook.

Tackling these topics is essential if you want your child growing up in this day and age to benefit from the positive side of technology while staying safe from its potential risks.

The Dangers Of Digital Media: How It’s Reducing Empathy And Making Kids Less Focused

Excessive exposure to digital media has an undeniable and profound negative impact on a child’s development.

In fact, the consequences can be quite severe and long-lasting.

A group of Stanford researchers conducted over 70 studies that showed a 40 percent decline in empathy among college students between 1979 and 2009.

They attributed this decline largely to technology, with the strongest effects being seen in the last ten years.

Furthermore, research from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that children who do their homework on computers are far less focused than those who don’t, often spending two-thirds of their time doing something else entirely.

This is very concerning, as this lack of focus and lowered empathy may have long-term repercussions for children, such as diminished academic performance or difficulties forming meaningful relationships when they reach adulthood.

It’s crucial that parents prevent excessive exposure to digital media if they wish for their children to develop proper social skills and succeed in life later on.

The Devastating Impact Of Smartphone Use On Babies And Toddlers’ Development

It’s no secret that babies need all the love and attention they can get from their parents in order to develop both emotionally and intellectually.

But what happens when parents are too distracted by their smartphones to provide their babies with the necessary sensory interaction? It can have devastating consequences.

Research conducted at the University of California found that when a parent fully engages with her baby, it helps stimulate their brains for language and abstract thought.

TV shows, on the other hand, do not offer this type of stimulation, as digital media only provides visual stimuli but not neurological ones.

Another problem is babies often experience distress when they don’t see any emotions on their parent’s face – an expression which is all too common today when someone is staring at a screen.

This can lead to an emotionally insecure environment for the child who has grown up seeing this type of emotionless face from his/her parent more often than smiles or laughter.

When these babies start preschool after a few years, more technology troubles will emerge as they go into uncharted territory without proper emotional guidance from their parents who were too busy looking down at a device.

The big disconnect created by parental reliance on devices has damaging outcomes for our society‘s youngest generations – we must act fast in order to ensure that future generations grow up in secure environments where they feel valued and loved.

The Benefits Of Preschool Playtime: How Real-Life Games Are Better Than Digital Alternatives

Digital Alternatives

It’s clear that preschoolers need to play with each other in order to develop critical social skills.

In fact, research presented by educator Chip Wood in his book Yardsticks illustrates this point.

The fact is, playing with each other helps children build relationships – with their teachers and classmates.

This is essential for a child’s happiness and success in primary school.

Studies show that those who are given time and encouraged to play, rather than just being drilled in reading and writing have better long-term results when it comes to achieving academic success.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing a different trend when it comes to how preschoolers spend their free time now.

Digital gaming has changed the game (pardon the pun), as they become less creative and focused on more repetitive games like crashing objects into one another.

They no longer want to engage in imaginative play like tea parties or searching for buried treasure, nor do they have the attention span for more complex tasks like building paths out of towers, bridges and chutes.

This proves that digital gaming definitely doesn’t teach all necessary social skills -children need actual interaction with each other if they wish to develop properly both emotionally and socially.

Children Are At Risk Of Being Exposed To Trauma And Negative Stereotypes In The Digital Age

As children get older, they need to be protected from harmful media.

From terrifying movies or shows that gives kids nightmares, to hurtful and abusive online interactions – these will take a toll on their mental wellbeing.

Just imagine what happened to Trevor – the 10 year old client of the author of “The Big Disconnect” book – who started receiving sexualized insults from an address he did not know.

It was later revealed that it was a ten-year-old girl who was taking revenge on him.

Furthermore, children need protection from racist and sexist stereotypes in video games, as well as fashion and beauty focused online media which are often seen as indicators of girls’ worth.

A study conducted by Nicole Martins and Kristen Harrison illustrated how playing video games can have both positive and negative effects on different genders and races; while white boys had increased self-esteem after playing them, girls and non-white boys felt worse later on due to the negative representation of women and non-white men in gaming.

Therefore, it is important to supervise our children’s technology usage as well as provide an environment where they can learn about acceptance for all races and sexes.

The Dangers Of Social Media And The Internet On Young Minds

Adolescence can be a trying time for any kid, but with the advent of social media and the internet, it has become even more complicated.

For instance, three 11-year-old girls had lunch with three boys of the same age, and the boy ended up taking a photo of them and then cropping their heads onto a picture of three naked women that he distributed online to their school.

It was an embarrassing moment for them as well as mortifying.

The Internet also can further complicate sexual issues for teenagers.

Statistics from a 2012 Pew survey show that young teenagers are playing age-inappropriate video games online; half the boys and 14% of the girls named mature or adult-only games as their favorites.

This enables them to get exposed to very sexualized content when they still haven’t quite processed what is appropriate or not.

It might even lead to believing that unusual practices like violent fetishes are normal.

And it doesn’t stop there – 13 year old Alexa learned this lesson when she received sexualized messages after accidentally calling someone she knew in her past, who took revenge by posting her number on Craigslist with suggestive text alongside it.

In order to move forward, she had to get a new phone number in an effort to put this ordeal behind her for good.

Social media and the internet have made adolescence even more difficult for kids these days – exposing them in ways they can’t control and enabling access to inappropriate content at times where their knowledge about sexuality isn’t fully developed just yet.

Digital Personas Can Lead To Loss Of Friendship And Inability To Develop Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships

Digital technology can make it very difficult for teenagers to develop healthy identities and relationships.

Consider the example of three high school friends who kept in touch through digital technologies such as text messaging.

When one friend, Jill, posted a picture of her online boyfriend, her friends found out that he didn’t actually exist – she had made him up.

As a result of the lie, Jill ended up losing two of her closest friendships.

This may be just one example, but it illustrates how communication through digital technology can create a lack of empathy – when an exchange between two hormone-driven teenagers reduces each other to their sexuality (as was the case with Nora and Mike).

It ultimately hinders their ability to develop meaningful connections with those around them.

These patterns demonstrate that digital technology can often interfere with people’s ability to create healthy identities and relationships.

This is further complicated by people’s tendency to believe they are safely anonymous while online, creating alternative versions of themselves which they can present to the rest of the world.

The lies these personas tell and encourage has damaging long-term consequences.

The Key To Protecting Kids From Online Danger: Building Trust Through Respect

For parents, it’s essential to earn the trust of their children so that their problem can be shared with them.

It’s especially important when it comes to online issues, like bullying, pornography or online stalking.

That will help protect them from more dangerous situations.

Parents need to respect the same rules that they want their children to respect.

An example of this is a father who drives his two daughters to school every day but breaking the speed limit and texting while driving.

He snaps at them when they try to point out what he’s doing wrong and they may mimic his behaviour.

This lack of trust only undermines parent-child relationship and the daughter won’t come up if any issue arises in future.

When something does happen it’s important for parents not too overreact as this will discourage children from coming forward in future issues.

For example, a 15 year old client of the author was hesitant to show his father emails exchanged between him and teacher regarding lessons because he knew if his father saw that he didn’t get an immediate response from the teacher he would call the latter directly without discussing first with his child – which naturally made him avoid telling his dad about it altogether.

If parents want to gain their children’s trust about digital media problems then being honest and open with them is essential – providing a calm environment for discussion where both can talk freely is vital too.

This encourages kids to come forward when faced with tough situation instead of dealing with it themselves which could put them in danger later on down the line..

Wrap Up

In The Big Disconnect by Dr.

Catherine Steiner-Adair, the final message is clear: technology can be beneficial and open up great opportunities for children, but it must be used wisely in order to protect them from potential harm.

Young children should focus on socializing and playing without any digital media until they’re at least five years old; as they grow older, it’s important for parents to maintain a healthy relationship with them so their children feel comfortable coming forward with problems.

To ensure your family’s safety when using technology, consider taking regular breaks from devices and not bringing them into nature – leave your phones and laptops at home when you go camping or take trips to the seashore.

The Big Disconnect emphasizes the importance of having a responsible connection between parents and their kids in order to maximize the positive benefits of technology while mitigating the risks involved – a goal we can all strive for.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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