Meet Dot in this debut picture book by Randi Zuckerberg! Dot’s a spunky little girl well versed in electronic devices. Dot knows a lot. She knows how to tap . . . to swipe . . . to share . . . and she pays little attention to anything else, until one day Dot sets off on an interactive adventure with the world surrounding her. Dot’s tech-savvy expertise, mingled with her resourceful imagination, proves Dot really does know lots and lots.
I have spent a great deal of time considering what I would write here as a review for this book which I find very important.
First of all, a little bit about me: I’m a practicing pediatrician with 25 years experience who spends a lot of time trying to battle the issues with overuse of electronic devices and childhood obesity. I host an event in my town called Playing Unplugged. Of course it is all about getting kids away from their electronic devices and back outside getting exercise. Last year we had almost 18,000 people come to this event.
Now, on to the book. What I find interesting here is the other reviews i have read, from people who obviously spend one minute looking at a book and then make a judgment. It is ridiculous that people decide to buy a book based on a few words written here. It’s crazy that an author can often have a book be successful or not based on the opinions of others. Of course, that is the society in which we live.
You might ask me what I often think the purpose of a book is… any book. I think the best thing a book can do for us is to start a dialogue; to get a group of people together to talk about issues that were present in the book and expand them to what is going on in their own lives. A perfect example of this is book clubs. One of the greatest things going on in this country now is groups of people who get together after reading the same book to discuss them and the issues of the day. I think that’s fantastic. My point in this is that I believe this particular book can start a dialogue as well. Of course it is a very simply written book for children. It is well-written and well illustrated but it is just a few short pages which helps to bring to light a very important topic: that of getting kids away from their electronic devices and back outside with a can explore the real world.
I think this book is very well worth purchasing and reading. I think it is a piece of literature that a parent can read to a child and then begin a dialogue about the real meaning. I think after reading this book it is the parents obligation to discuss it with the child and help that child understand what the author was trying to get across in her words and pictures.
Some of the other reviewers must have spent four seconds reading the book and then make comments here about how the author was glorifying the use of electronic devices. Nothing could be further from the truth. The book starts by showing us a lonely little girl who is spending her childhood in the realm of electronic era. The book ends with her out exploring the real world, using the things she has learned from those devices.
I don’t want to make more out of it than it is because it is a very short book written at a child’s level. But, what I’m asking you to is to buy this book, read it to your child, and then start the dialogue necessary between a parent and child about the importance of being outside and not being connected to the electronic world of the time.
I hope that this review will be of some value to you. In the end, I feel this book is worth purchasing and I hope the author will write future books to further help our children.
It’s troubling how a cutesy clever-ish book can get it so wrong. You might wonder why a book for 4-8 year olds, intended to caution against too much tech, is based on a little girl (age 5 or 6) who is described as tech “obsessed” and “pays little attention to anything else.” Ask yourself, How can that be? Where are her parents? What parent would allow a very young child to use InfoTech without supervision, as Dot is doing throughout this book? Why does the front cover show her holding an iPad?
The book’s ill-conceived outline shows a girl whose indoor life is lived alone and with shiny tech devices that little kids don’t own. She apparently does not sing, read, or play with toys inside. Dot is pictured with a cellphone next to her ear, something that doctors such as Sanjay Gupta of CNN advise is not safe for young kids. What’s more, a 6 year old does not “share” online as Dot is pictured to be doing on a laptop. (The author, a former Facebook executive, should know better to suggest this.) A little girl, unsupervised, would be vulnerable to various online threats.
On the pages where Dot is indoors and “loves to talk, and talk, and talk,” she is alone with IT devices. There’s no one else there. Why are there no adults pictured in the book? Why is all that Dot knows described in tech terms—is her vocabulary that thin? And does Dot really engage nothing but tech while indoors? While outdoors, why are her activities described with tech words?
This book presents little children as “tech savvy” iKids, as if this is what they need to be. The concept is flawed and lacking in knowledge of early developmental needs. The smiles on Dot’s face are deceiving; she passes out from tech overdose! Is this a laudable way to approach tech moderation?
a) a little child (with a tech name) is presented as a tech whiz
b) this under-age child is unsupervised online & with InfoTech devices
c) she doesn’t know any screen limits while indoors
d) she lacks the supportive presence of caregivers
These are among the distressing problems with a book concept that should not have made its way to print.
Tech dependence and addiction from a young age are a worry, as I mention in my book, Lightweb Darkweb. InfoTech is not just another tool; it’s a very powerful technology designed for adults, not for kids. That’s why it’s so important to look closely at what’s offered here. Parents might consider what is to be gained by reading this book to their children; they might, on reflection, reject its false representations.
For a timely book on the impact of InfoTech on childhood, read The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood And Family Relationships In The Digital Age, by Harvard psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair. Her excellent insights can help parents to address the real needs of the very young.