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Customer Review

on 21 January 2011
... or is that just guilt talking, as I would never be brave enough do what the author did :-)

On the plus side, very interesting subject for debate, one that most parents will have experience of and very likely be concerned about. Shrewd idea for a zeitgeisty book.

On the minus side, while the author was at pains to point out the various pitfalls of her decision, I did find the authorial voice a bit smug and preachy and I baulked at the rather airy underlying assumptions about what constitutes a "good" family life and "healthy" social interractions. I also felt that the overall attitude towards societal evolution was a little blinkered and old-fashioned. At the end of the proverbial, hankering after an Enid Blyton world where teenagers amused themselves scrumping apples and cycling to the corner shop for ginger ale is not going to make it happen! As a teenager, my parents' approach to what they saw as the subversive effects of technology was to forbid any TV after 8 pm and limit phone calls to 5 minutes maximum (there was an egg timer - yes, really)... draconian in those days, compared to my friends' parents.... but that didn't stop me growing up to happily make full use of a mobile phone, a computer, a blackberry, a subscription to Sky and wireless internet access. Similarly, my own efforts to limit my kids' use of social networking and screen time won't stop them from running their lives in future using as-yet-unimagined gadgets that I'll no doubt be alarmed by.... it's just the way of things... I can't help strongly doubting that the 6-month experiment laid out in the book will have any lasting impact on the author's offspring. Which begs the question for me, why did she do it? I'm not entirely sure, but at least she got a media-friendly book out it, and why the heck not. I suppose as this is a book review, I should say something about my opinion of the style - while it was well written and the situations described raised a smile of recognition at various points, a bit more self-depracation and humour would have lifted it for me.

I would guess that this is likely to be one of those polarising reads. If you agree with the author's stance on the perils of an increasingly "wired" existence, you'll probably love it and not even notice any stylistic flaws. If you don't particularly share her views, it'll probably irritate you no end. (no prizes for guessing which camp I'm in!)
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