“A ruthless guide to sorting out where technology actually belongs in our homes and lives.” This is how Andy Crouch describes his new book “The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place.” Fresh off the press since mid-April, this book has been recommended to me by my church and I’ve had a personal interest in it ever since I first heard about it. So, I purchased my own copy off Amazon. Disclaimer: I do not receive anything from the author or publisher to review this book on my blog.
The premise of the book is this: Technology, that is, the easy everywhere attitude of the 21st century has gotten alarmingly out of place and is rendering homes and individuals characterless and without real wisdom for real life. In the worst instances, technology even contributes to tearing families and homes apart. The remedy: Put technology back in its proper place, just like everything else in life.
Crouch, the executive editor of Christianity Today, tackles this all too relevant subject from a distinctly Christian worldview, presupposing a Creator God and the truth of the Gospel. This is evident, in part, by quotations from the Bible that the reader finds occasionally in the book, but it’s primarily evident in Crouch’s moral convictions and reasoning. However, the book will be helpful for anyone who seeks to learn about how to restrain the ever-growing influence of technology in today’s world.
After the foreword from his 16-year-old daughter, who evaluates how she’s benefited from their parents’ decision about the place of technology in their families life, the author offers a broad introduction to the topic at hand. The rest of the book is divided into three parts. Crouch considers 10 practical steps that help put technology back where it belongs. The first three center on character formation in parents and children. Steps 4-8 deal with making space for real life in a world full of screens and the last two chapters deal with how to worship God as a family in a world in awe of devices.
In these chapters, Crouch covers almost everything family life has to offer. To name but a few, you will read about bedtime routines, mealtimes, car rides, family boredom, vacation times and much much more. After each chapter follows a brief “reality check” where the author evaluates how his family has implemented that particular step in their own home. These one-page-long checks are refreshingly honest and uplifting, but also challenging because they’re a testimony that you actually can put technology back in its proper place.
Scattered throughout every chapter of the book is up-to-date and insightful information from the Barna Group about the use and influence of technology relevant to the chapter you’re reading. Insights that will give rise to encouragement and surprise. Encouragement because you learn you’re not alone in your struggle with technology and surprise because of how much of life technology has taken over, for better or for worse.
If I had to choose a handful of words to summarize the book, this would be it: relevant beyond words, easy to read, honest, eye-opening, challenging, personal. It combines advice, well-researched information, biblical perspectives, and personal testimonies. Being only 200 pages in length, it’s a brilliant introduction to the topic. For readers who want to dig deeper afterward, Crouch has a list of recommended reading at the end of the book.
I will definitely take several things away from this book, above all that it’s key to be constantly rethinking and discerning how to put technology in its proper place in everyday life, both for me personally but also for my family – and to not be content with the status quo of society around us.