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The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships
Steiner-Adair, Catherine, Ed.D. with Teresa H. Barker
HarperCollins / Softcover / 2014-08-01 / 0062082434
Families and Parenting
price: $19.99 (may be subject to change)
256 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

Now in paperback, Clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair takes an in-depth look at how the Internet and the digital revolution are profoundly changing childhood and family dynamics, and offers solutions parents can use to successfully shepherd their children through the technological wilderness.

Families today are embracing technology at the expense of face-to-face engagement.

From cradle to college, our children are learning more from entertainment than education. Easy access to the Internet and social media has erased the boundaries that protect childhood from the unsavory aspects of adult life. Parents, too, are immersed in the digital world far more deeply than they realize. Whether they are incessantly chatting or texting on their smartphones, or working in front of their computer screens, they are increasingly missing in action from their children’s lives. Meanwhile, kids long for more meaningful relationships not only with each other but with the grown-ups in their lives.

The benefits of having infinite information at our fingertips are extraordinary, and we are connected more than ever, but as the focus of family has turned to the glow of the screen and quick-twitch communications, parents often feel they are losing control of family life, and worse, the means for meaningful connection with the children they love.

As clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair shows, these chronic distractions can have deep and lasting effects. Children don’t need adults constantly, but they do need parents to provide what tech cannot: close, meaningful interactions with family and friends. Drawing on real-life stories from her clinical and consulting work, Steiner-Adair offers insight and advice that can help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence as they come up against the tech revolution unfolding in their living rooms.

With fresh eyes, an open mind and the will to act on what we see and learn, Steiner-Adair argues, we have the opportunity now to nourish our families and protect and prepare our children for meaningful life in a digital age that is here to stay.


“This riveting piece of journalism . . . chronicles how new technology has disrupted family life. Parents pacify infants with iPhones, toddlers play violent games and pre-teens are sexting. The book offers no easy answers but gently encourages all of us who lack the discipline to unplug.” — Wall Street Journal, Best Nonfiction of 2013

“Ms. Steiner-Adair’s book can be eloquent about the need to ration our children’s computer time. . . . Her summary of what to say to your kids - it’s on Page 191- is so good, so State of the Unionlike, that I took a photo of it with my iPhone.” — Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair says tech-and self-absorption disappoints and disregards our children.” — USA Today

About the Author:

CATHERINE STEINER-ADAIR EdD is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, school consultant, and clinical instructor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. She is also a director of education and prevention at McLean Hospital and has a private practice outside Boston, where she works with teenagers, families, and adults. She has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Discovery Channel , CNN PBS, and been quoted in numerous newspapers and magazines including, the New York Times, Vogue, Seventeen, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, and Self. In addition to consulting to schools, Dr. Steiner-Adair is often invited to present to health professionals at conferences, PTA’s, synagogues and clergy groups, non-profit organizations, corporate retreats and fund raising events.

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