Book Expo America Opens this Week as Industry Scrambles to Respond to Teen-Initiated Tech Trends

Originally published in The New York Times


Promising “content and buzz”, Book Expo America opens this week in New York City. Most of the buzz in the famed publishing trade show will surely come from the industry’s scramble to keep up with the digital revolution.

And many of the explosive trends that are making up these revolutionary personal technology developments have surely originated and evolved in teen culture.

“It is the nature of youth culture to be the first to incubate new trends and bring them into the mainstream, sometimes to the benefit of all. Trends like the many personal uses of the Internet and, more recently, social networking, started in teen culture. Our healthy, thriving, diverse society needs its kids’ innovation, energy, and vitality,” according to Chicago psychiatrist Eitan Schwarz, MD and author of “KIDS, PARENTS & TECHNOLOGY: A GUIDE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES” (ISBN: 9780557194827). The book was shown in BEA’s New Title section.

Even as publishers seek new ways to leverage the explosive consumption of new forms of media, youngsters are ever-evolving new trends. For example, one such current trend is the explosive use of texting. According to the recent Pew report, texting is now the main way teens communicate by phone, with over a third sending over 100 messages daily, more than any other age group. “Be sure that this is now also becoming a major trend among all age groups, even as we speak. Texting is not inherently bad. Healthy teens explore and experiment. Most kids stay safe and well, while some cross limits into more risky behaviors.

In his book, available in all electronic forms as well as paperback, Dr. S discusses these issues: “Parents, too, need to scramble to keep up with the digital revolution. Good parenting allows experimentation within limits and a balance.” Dr. S teaches parents how to reset their thinking about technology in the home and become confident enough to contribute their intelligence and good judgment. He gives tools to start kids off early with media as a natural and collaborative part of family life and to prevent kids from developing extreme habits.

Dr. S emphasizes the positive uses of technology for family life and child development and encourages family relationships, values education, and balanced media plans: “Parents make theirs successful digital families by making wise decisions, much as they do about nutrition and education. After over a decade of chaotic technology use by unsupervised media-soaked kids, parents can now for the first time finally have a way to harvest the best of technology to raise successful digital families.”


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