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At times I like to recommend chapters of books to people instead of whole books as often a book only has one or two new concepts in it that can help expand your understanding. This book is an exception.
Written in 2011, Tim’s insight into technology is amazing. In particular, he time and time again points out the ways in which we interact with technology and the ways that it shapes us. If I were to list the chapters you should read, I would end up with the table of contents.
At each turn I found myself feeling like my eyes had been opened to why it is that I sometimes feel the way I do about the digital technologies in my life. Tim puts into words those niggling issues we have with technology, explains what they are, where they come from and then gives you the tools to deal with them.
What sort of things? Well, things like the way we are often so distracted, how we feel that text messages and emails don’t quite satisfy our need for company, and why we can have the whole worlds knowledge at our fingertips and still struggle to know how to live. And this is just a start.
I highly recommend this book for parents. I grew up with the internet. I was 8 when Google started and 15 when YouTube became a thing. I am a partial digital native. My parents are not. Teenagers today know nothing except the digital world. They can’t remember dial-up or the days before search engines, let alone the days before the internet.
This book will help you as a parent think through how growing up as a digital native has shaped your child’s worldview, how it has impacted their thinking. Even better, it will give you ways to help your children navigate this new digital world that they inhabit.
The Next Story by Tim Challies
I also recommend this book for younger people (even late teenagers or thoughtful early teens) as it is important that you learn to think through how digital technology changes the way you think. This book will help you to approach technology with an understanding of its benefits (which are always worn on its sleeves Challies will tell you) as well as its problems (which are rarely considered and usually only come to light sometime after we decide the latest technology is the best thing since sliced bread).
Lastly, I recommend this book for pastors as they will need to help their congregation think carefully about how technology is influencing them. Challies also points out that churches often take up new technology without really thinking through it’ underlying message (think data projectors instead of hymn books…). We need to consider these decisions more carefully as well.
Review by Thomas Eglinton