Totally Wired: Book Review

Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online by Anastasia Goodstein, author of is approaching a second printing and was just released in March, 2007. This book is a great read for parents of teens and tweens who may need a little information about the technological lives of their children. Totally wired provides information, a glossary, resources, and interviews with teens, professionals, and parents about Internet use, safety, and its potential for good. Being a teen is not what it used to be and we parents need a little techno-tutoring, which this easy-to-read book provides!

Ms. Goodstein provides some wonderful content, including a sidebar about the moral panic of different generations sure that youth would be ruined - reading (18th century), movie houses (1900s), dancing and jazz (1920s), comic books, (1930s), Elvis Presley (1950s), and as a boomer, I would add free love (1960s) - none of which ruined an entire generation. She provides a demographic summary of baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965), Generation X (1965-1985), and Generation Y (1985 - today), that is informative, and in a strange way, comforting, about what it means to be growing up digitally. She refocuses the fear about our kids being approached by predators into a teachable moment - teach them not to respond, and educates us about the rewards of being totally wired - some of which was new to me!

This wonderful book also reinforces the need for parents to connect with their kids - hear their music, see their Myspace page, and play their video games - in order to keep a dialogue open, share experiences, and set boundaries for them. The inner life of teens is far more public than most parents can imagine, and our kids need to understand how sharing their feelings, or pictures could invite negative judgment or outcomes from schools, employers, or college admissions staff - a new parenting task, one that this book will prepare us to do.

I encourage every parent to read this book, go to some of the Internet sites listed, and "get connected." The world our children are growing up in is changing - and we need to keep up!

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