Parenting Beyond Screens

Becoming a Face-First Family in an Age of Distraction

Non-Fiction - Parenting
139 Pages
Reviewed on 11/22/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Dr. Jordan Alexander for Readers' Favorite

I’ve just finished Parenting Beyond Screens by Brandon LaFontaine. It's so good, I will read it again. Where was this book a decade ago when I desperately needed advice on managing kids and new technologies? How to navigate this new “crossroads between parenting and technology” raises issues of how much screen time, what to censor, how to set hard boundaries and when to hold firm to reclaim family first time. Fortunately, this book has answers. Starting by framing your family as an ecosystem - and appreciating we all start from different families - LaFontaine carefully weaves science and research (but not too much) with practical stories that make sense (but don’t insult your intelligence), leaving you with options to consider for your family, without judgment or preaching (despite that being his day job). This well-written yet succinct book gets you thinking. “What is something you wish you would have been taught as a kid that you can pass on to your children?” What’s that got to do with technology you may ask - well, a lot as it turns out. This is a parenting book after all, and that's exactly what it delivers.

This book acknowledges how technology scratches the human need for connection, but quickly distinguishes the QUALITY of the connection comparing a movie date where there is little or no ‘meaningful connection’ while watching the screen. Connecting with your kids in the digital age is challenging; fortunately, LaFontaine doesn’t leave us hanging. He provides exercises in each chapter, and the ‘Stop and Think’ questions are invaluable to help digest the content and his advice. I especially loved the how-to process he outlines in section three that helps your family identify its values.

If you seek to better understand this age of distraction, this book will provide you with a sense of direction for your family and confidence for you to steer toward face-first family living. LaFontaine encourages us not to use technology as an excuse to step away from parenting responsibilities just because some tech baffles or today’s culture makes us feel “uncomfortable exercising authority”. Instead, he allows readers to understand the paradoxes of parenting and helps us appreciate and accept technology has an impact on our families - like it or not. LaFontaine has a warm, straightforward, tell-it-like-it-is style that helps diffuse any bad parent guilt you might have. Focusing on how to make your family better in your space at home, how you communicate, and ways to address the impacts on our hearts, minds, and bodies provides readers with much to think about regarding the appropriate use of tech in our lives. “As the world is spinning and flying by for kids in the midst of this culture change,” LaFontaine says “they need an anchor.” His book helps parents learn how to be that anchor.

Jon Michael Miller

In Parenting beyond Screens, Brandon LaFontaine presents a methodology for becoming a "face-first family in the age of distraction." He presents a brilliant and systematic codification of digital technologies' dangers and usefulness in our homes. In doing so, he also presents the age-old difficulties and rewards of parenthood, the former often presented with humor and irony—"teens don't want our authority but need it." He presents parenthood as a balance between authority and free choice. He views a healthy household as a balanced ecosystem where the various components function harmoniously. And he exposes the invasion of digital screens as a serious new threat not only to happy homes but to culture in general. He shows examples of how kids and parents sometimes use apps to prevent the healthy development of the mind, body, and heart.

More importantly, however, Mr. LaFontaine explains ways to fight against the easy misuses of this new invasion of technology. He gives us steps we can take to bring our families together. His book is in three sections: first, a sociological discussion of what he calls "the crossroads of parents and technology"; second, some suggestions of practices to unite families; and third, actual exercises in creating a family meeting in which core values are established, and a mission statement developed. Finally, he lists the resources he used in his work, leaving us with proof that he is deeply knowledgeable of the science behind his ideas. For me, however, his wit, compassion, and experiential understanding of the joys and sorrows of parenting make his book a guide that any parent can embrace and even enjoy. Parenting Beyond Screens: Becoming a Face-First Family in an Age of Distraction by Brandon LaFontaine is a guidebook for parenting that should be close at hand in every household.

Edith Wairimu

As digital trends continue to impact society, parents are faced with a new challenge: how to help their children develop a healthy relationship with technology while helping them grow in other significant areas. In Parenting Beyond Screens: Becoming a Face-First Family in an Age of Distraction, Brandon LaFontaine offers timely and applicable tips to achieve this balance. The guide notes that the first step should be determining the core values you want to instill in your children as they grow up and understanding that introducing a new form of technology affects a family’s balance. Another significant initial step is to acknowledge that technology changes who we are. Other sections in the book examine how technology changes different aspects of an individual and how these can be reclaimed.

While reading Parenting Beyond Screens, I loved how the book was strategic when approaching the topic. It begins by offering a starting point on where and when to establish the right boundaries. It also analyzes specific negative impacts technology has on the heart, mind, body, and culture. It considers the benefits of technology but also examines its hidden costs and results. Chapters also contain questions that help readers to pause, think, and apply the content included. There are also engaging illustrations and humorous anecdotes, and remarks that help revitalize and explain the guide. A helpful step-by-step process for discovering family core values is also included at the end. Parenting Beyond Screens by Brandon LaFontaine is a relevant guide on parenting in a technological age that every parent should read.