Books

Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.

Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.

Over the past decade, educational instruction has become increasingly digitized as districts rush to dole out laptops and iPads to every student. Yet the most important question, "Is this what is best for students?" is glossed over. Veteran teachers Joe Clement and Matt Miles have seen firsthand how damaging technology overuse and misuse has been to our kids. On a mission to educate and empower parents, they show how screen saturation at home and school has created a wide range of cognitive and social deficits in our young people. They lift the veil on what's really going on in schools: teachers who are often powerless to curb cell phone distractions; zoned-out kids who act helpless and are unfocused, unprepared, and unsocial; administrators who are influenced by questionable science sponsored by corporate technology purveyors. They provide action steps parents can take to demand change and make a compelling case for simpler, smarter, more effective forms of teaching and learning.

A highly readable and entertaining first look at how today’s members of iGen—the children, teens, and young adults born in the mid-1990s and later—are vastly different from their Millennial predecessors, and from any other generation, from the renowned psychologist and author of Generation Me.

In Glow Kids, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras will examine how technology—more specifically, age-inappropriate screen tech, with all of its glowing ubiquity—has profoundly affected the brains of an entire generation. Brain imaging research is showing that stimulating glowing screens are as dopaminergic (dopamine activating) to the brain’s pleasure center as sex. And a growing mountain of clinical research correlates screen tech with disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and even psychosis. Most shocking of all, recent brain imaging studies conclusively show that excessive screen exposure can neurologically damage a young person’s developing brain in the same way that cocaine addiction can.

Leading today's students often feels like being in a new country. The population in this new land has different attitudes (many entitled and narcissistic) and speaks a different language (emojis and social media). Attention spans are six to eight seconds. They multi-task on five screens. They often possess multiple personas on social media platforms. Understanding and connecting with this generation is often times frustrating and draining. The old maps that helped adults navigate students through adolescence are now producing graduates who move back home, are afraid to take healthy risks, and are unwilling to start at the bottom of a career path. We're in new territory. We need new strategies on how to navigate new land...to march off our old maps and create new ones.