5 Must-Read Books about Screen Time, Social Media, and The Mental Health of Kids & Teens

Note: We loved these books so much that we interviewed all 5 authors – watch those interviews here.

The digital landscape changes fast. As parents, we’re constantly navigating uncharted territory when it comes to raising our children in a world dominated by screens and technology. Just when you think you have one challenge addressed, a new one develops. 

Our concerns are real. We all feel them. We worry about our kids’ and teens’ screen time, their mental health, social media habits, strangers online, video game addiction, or simply their ability to balance technology and real life. 

At GoZen, we’ve been doing a lot of research and are excited to share a few of our favorite resources. If you’re a parent, teacher, or professional concerned about kids and technology, here are five must-read books to help guide you in the digital age. Each of these books offers valuable insights, practical strategies, and research-based advice that will help you foster a healthier relationship between your children and technology.

  1. iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us by Dr. Jean M. Twenge
Anxiety cause by screen time in kids

iGen explores the unique characteristics of the generation born between 1995 and 2012, who have grown up with smartphones and social media as an integral part of their lives. Twenge dives into the complex relationship between mental health and technology, shedding light on the challenges faced by today’s youth. 

Why we love this book: Twenge highlights the surprising finding that iGen’ers are more risk-averse than previous generations. This book will help you understand the forces shaping your child’s life and provide guidance on how to support them through these challenges. She takes a deep dive into these ideas during her interview at the Reconnected Kids Summit.

  1. Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner
Resilience in a Digital World

As a digital parenting expert, Heitner shares her insights on how to guide children in developing healthy digital habits. Screenwise offers practical advice for parents, including setting boundaries, modeling responsible screen use, and fostering open communication with children about their online experiences.

Why we love this book: Heitner’s concept of “mentorship over monitoring” emphasizes the importance of being a positive role model for your children rather than merely policing their digital activity. This approach helps build trust and encourages children to make responsible choices online.

  1. Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology by Diana Graber
Screen time, social media, and mental health

Raising Humans in a Digital World emphasizes the importance of teaching children to use technology as a tool to enhance their lives, rather than letting it control them. Graber provides actionable strategies for parents to help kids develop crucial skills, such as empathy, critical thinking, and digital citizenship. 

Why we love this book: Graber introduces the “New Digital Natives,” a concept that stresses the importance of teaching digital citizenship, empathy, and critical thinking. This book will inspire you to raise well-rounded children who are prepared for the challenges of the digital world. Graber expands on these ideas during her interview at the Reconnected Kids Summit.

  1. The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen
Helping kids with distraction, lack of focus, screen distraction and more

In The Distracted Mind, Gazzaley and Rosen delve into the science behind our brain’s struggle to cope with the constant distractions provided by modern technology. They explore the impact of multitasking and digital distractions on our ability to focus, learn, and connect with others. This book provides parents with a deeper understanding of the cognitive challenges faced by children growing up in a digital world and offers strategies to help them succeed.

Why we love this book: The authors reveal the surprising link between ancient survival instincts and our modern-day struggle with digital distractions. Understanding these cognitive challenges provides a solid foundation for helping your children navigate the high-tech world.

  1. Taming Gaming: Guide Your Child to Video Game Health by Andy Robertson
Video games and mental health of kids

Taming Gaming is a must-read for parents concerned about the impact of video games on their children’s lives. Robertson offers expert advice on how to manage gaming habits, identify age-appropriate games, and foster a healthy gaming culture within the family. This book not only helps parents understand the benefits and potential pitfalls of gaming but also provides a roadmap for establishing a balanced relationship with video games.

Why we love this book: Robertson’s “Family Gaming Recipe” provides a practical, customizable framework for families to establish a balanced relationship with video games. This book empowers parents to make informed decisions about gaming, turning it into a positive and engaging family activity.

Technology isn’t going anywhere, which makes it critical that we keep up with advancements, understand trends among youth, and learn how to talk to them about their digital lives. We know these books will give you a great foundation, but we wanted to offer even more. So…

Want to hear interviews from all five authors? Get access to the Reconnected Kids Summit here!

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1 thought on “5 Must-Read Books about Screen Time, Social Media, and The Mental Health of Kids & Teens”

  1. This blog post featuring five must-read books about screen time, social media, and the mental health of kids is a valuable resource for parents and educators. It’s wonderful to see a curated list of books that address these important topics, providing insights and guidance on navigating the digital world. Thank you, GoZen, for sharing these valuable recommendations!


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