Starred review for this book about a tech-wise family that is characterized by 10 commitments reflecting the proper pace of technology in a family’s life together.
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place. Baker Books, 2017. 224 pages.
- Reading Level: Adult
- Recommended For: Parents (and college students!)
We are meant to build this kind of life together: the kind of life that, at the end, is completely dependent upon one another; the kind of life that ultimately transcends, and does not need, the easy solutions of technology because it is caught up in something more true and more lasting than any alchemy our technological world can invent.
More prescriptive than 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You or Irresistible, both of which chronicle our society’s growing addiction to screen-based tech, The Tech-Wise Family is winsome, well-rounded, and most welcome. This is not a Luddite approach to 21st century technology. Instead, Crouch outlines 10 “commitments” for a family’s tech usage to help us manage the growing assault of screens on our fleeting lives. Some commitments are eminently practical (“we wake up before our devices do, and they ‘go to bed’ before we do” or “‘no screens before double digits'”) while others are more philosophical commitments that each family will have to flesh out in their own way (“We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly and alone”). Everything from random, superficial entertainment to addictive pornography to corporate worship gets a nod alongside statistics from the Barna group about our society’s tech use.
Crouch covers the more obvious tech-wise steps, such as installing internet filters and parents knowing their kids’ passwords, but he carries his recommendations further by looking more deeply at what the family is and should be. We are created for worship, and we should be seeking to develop wisdom and courage. We do these things by being in true fellowship with one another without a tech mediator and by embodied experiences such as singing, talking in the car, and spending time with one another. There is much to ponder in this straightforward book for parents, yes, but also for college students and young adults just starting out on their own. Some of the best chapters are near the end (on pornography, singing, and being fully present for the big events), but the earlier chapters lay a necessary foundation. Ironically, I read this on a kindle, and the format suffers some. If you’re a stats person, you may want to get a print copy. Personally, I found that the stats were far less meaningful than Crouch’s recommendations and his reflections on how well his own family had done with the different commitments.
Overall Rating: 4.5
- Artistic Rating: 4.25
- Worldview Rating: 4.75
*Indicates a starred review