The Big Disconnect Book Summary - The Big Disconnect Book explained in key points
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The Big Disconnect summary

Catherine Steiner-Adair

Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

4 (51 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair is a thought-provoking book that explores the impact of technology on family relationships. It offers guidance on how to navigate the challenges of raising children in a digital age to foster healthy connections.

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    The Big Disconnect
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    Excessive exposure to digital media interferes with a child’s development.

    If you’ve ever used a chat room, message board or social media site, you’ve probably been insulted by a stranger. These digital interactions aren’t meaningless: they have an impact on our socialization, especially children’s.

    Children develop empathy by interacting with other people. According to the psychiatrist Dan Siegel, children aren’t born with empathy: they develop it as they mature. They build social skills and learn to understand each other’s emotions as they fight, play and make friends.

    Spending a lot of time online disrupts this process. And if children spend too much time in the digital world, it can actually decrease their empathy.

    A group of Stanford researchers did over 70 studies on this phenomenon with college students. They did a systematic review of their studies based on standard empathy tests and found that, between 1979 and 2009, empathy in US college students decreased by 40 percent.

    The decline was particularly strong in the last ten years of that time frame, and technology was pinpointed as one of the main causes.

    Overexposure to digital media doesn’t only make people less empathetic. The fast pace of the digital world also makes it harder for children to concentrate.

    In 2006, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a survey of teenagers and found that those who did their homework on the computer were far less focused on their work. In fact, they spent at least two-thirds of their time doing something else entirely.

    Digital media has a big impact on a child’s development. It’s making it harder for children to focus in school, and the rude comments you’ve seen online probably come from young people whose empathy has been stunted.

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    What is The Big Disconnect about?

    The Big Disconnect (2013) is about the current generation of babies, toddlers and children growing up in the digital world. Digital media, from online games to social networking sites, have a profound impact on a child’s development, both intellectually and socially. These blinks outline the reasons why, and what parents can do to try to keep their children safe from these developmental hindrances.

    The Big Disconnect Review

    The Big Disconnect (2013) explores the impact of technology on modern families and offers valuable insights on how to navigate the digital age. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a comprehensive examination of the effects of technology on family dynamics, offering practical strategies to create a healthy balance.
    • Backed by research, personal stories, and expert interviews, the book offers a compelling and relatable exploration of the challenges faced by families in the digital era.
    • With its thought-provoking perspectives on topics such as social media, video games, and online privacy, the book truly captivates and keeps readers engaged throughout.

    Best quote from The Big Disconnect

    Stimulation has replaced connection, and I think thats what you need to watch out for. – Ned Hallowell, psychiatrist

    —Catherine Steiner-Adair
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    Who should read The Big Disconnect?

    • Parents and parents-to-be
    • Teachers
    • Anyone interested in sociology, technology or education

    About the Author

    Catherine Steiner Adair, EdD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in child and family therapy. She’s also an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a consultant for a number of schools.

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    The Big Disconnect FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Big Disconnect?

    The main message of The Big Disconnect is the impact of technology on our relationships and how to reconnect in the digital age.

    How long does it take to read The Big Disconnect?

    The reading time for The Big Disconnect varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Big Disconnect a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Big Disconnect is a thought-provoking read that explores the effects of technology on our lives. It offers valuable insights and practical advice for navigating the digital world.

    Who is the author of The Big Disconnect?

    The author of The Big Disconnect is Catherine Steiner-Adair.

    What to read after The Big Disconnect?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Big Disconnect, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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