Review: The tech-wise family

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Title:  The tech-wise family – Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place

Author: Andy Crouch 

Price: £8.44

Published by: Baker Academic (2017)

Perfect for: families wanting to make technology work for them and not be central to their family life

Best bit: fabulous section on Sabbath and also on developing the main area in the home as a place to create and rest together – loved it! I also loved the Keeping it Real sections where the author gave us an idea of how well they had applied this idea in his own family

Worst bit: all the statistics were from the US; I would love to see UK ones, and also more up to date ones, as the book was published in 2017

More thoughts:

I read this book on recommendation from a friend and it didn’t disappoint! Although it’s four years old, the book is more about principles and practices, rather than about how to deal with specific apps, so it will all be useful for many years!

The book takes this topic from the stance of looking at what we’d like our family and family life to be like, and working out ways to build that life, making technology fit into the spaces we make for it within that.

Andy gives us 10 tech-wise commitments, the first three of which are all big principles for ‘doing family life’:

1 developing wisdom and courage – he says that family is for helping us grow in our character, and this should shape what we decide to do or not do

2 creating more than consuming – he proposes that the space in the home where people spend most time should be full of things which “reward creativity, relationship and engagement”.

3 taking time to rest – he describes a rhythm of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tech-free times – very challenging!

The other 7 are more specific guides which they have taken, some of which I loved (We wake up before our devices and they ‘go to sleep’ before we do – buying an alarm clock so that my phone could ‘go to sleep’ downstairs was one of the simplest life changing purchases ever!) and some of which I didn’t think would immediately carry across to our family, although they might in the future (eg car time is conversations – we LOVE audio books in the car!).

However, whether you agree or disagree, this book is a great one for challenging our norms and re-thinking what we really want in our lives and how we can build the life we want. Andy is a Christian, so this shapes both his ideas on what family life should be like and how to do that, but I would suggest this book would be helpful to anyone wanting to think properly about these issues.