High-tech life means parents have homework too

With daily headlines about online bullying, unsafe apps and Internet addiction, what's a harried parent to do? 

The last thing they want to do is read a book. But that's just what Scott Steinberg hopes they will do. The technology consultant and founder of TechSavvy Global in Seattle on Wednesday came out with "The Modern Parent's Guide to Kids and Video Games," the first in a series of books.

Why read Steinberg's book when there are 712 titles on Amazon under "technology parenting"? 

The author argues that he doesn't talk down to parents, whom he assumes already know plenty about iPhone apps, Facebook and Twitter. As the father of a 3-year-old girl, Steinberg has slogged through condescending parenting books that try to spell out what a chat room is. 

Instead, he cuts to the chase -- serving up quick, color-coded nuggets of information that he hopes parents can easily use to make decisions.

"We assume parents are modern professionals," he said. "They’re busy juggling life, and they need a way to quickly digest advice and practical solutions. That's what we hope to offer."

How many hours should your kid play games? 

Steinberg writes, "American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child’s use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day. The National Institute on the Media & Family further suggests offering no more than an hour of video game time daily."

Then he advises, "Whichever advice you choose to follow, beginning at a fixed base level, such as an hour per day, can make a good starting point, giving you some wiggle room to add or subtract time based on children’s behavior."

The book is available as a free download from Steinberg's website, Parents Guide Books, or on the Sony Reader bookstore. It's also sold for $3.99 on Apple Inc.'s iBooks and Amazon.com's Kindle. In addition, there's an old-fashioned paper version for $17.99 on Lulu Marketplace.  

Steinberg's advice? Get the free version -- it has links to relevant websites and research.


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