Book Review: Kids, Sex & Screens, by Jillian Roberts, Ph.D

Dr Roberts provides critical insight for parents on how to navigate the sexualised digital world to raise kids that are healthy, resilient, and strong.

By
The book is like a self-help book for parents and is a fraction tiresome to read.
Overall
3

Dr Jillian Roberts is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Victoria. She is a wife and mother of three children and joint founder of FamilySparks, a company that offers families and businesses a range of programmes and resources for childhood challenges.

If you like self-help books, then you will really enjoy the layout of this book. It is split into eight major chapters, each consisting of sub-chapters that are no more than a few pages in length, often even shorter. This makes it easy to read as each section is information dense.

The sub-chapter format has the added benefit of making it easy to relocate information should you be considering some of the advice given and wanting to revisit it again down the track. Lastly, at the end of each chapter is a comic strip scenario of the topic and questions pertaining to the chapter for you to consider, act upon and answer.

Some of the topics examined in the book are Confronting Complex Challenges, Moving Forward Together, How to Start Conversations about Sex, Encountering Pornography, (how to) Handle your own Feelings, How to Stay Current, (how to) Eradicate People-Pleaser Tendencies, The Essential Idea of Consent, The Power of Self Esteem, Looking at the Research and, How to Nurture Relationships. There is also a small list of resources at the back of the book.

The book reads like a self-help book for parents and was a fraction tiresome to read. It would have been preferable to read more examples of real cases and have a greater variety of explicit phrases that can be used in certain situations. Appropriate dialogue is so important for real-world implementation of boundaries in the areas discussed. More examples of it would make the narrative less condescending and more useful.

A good example is found in the Eradicate People Pleaser Tendencies section where it gives the phrase ‘I’ve already said no. I don’t need to explain myself further’. These types of phrases are actual tools that can be used with kids but many of the sample scenarios in the comic strip chapter endings are a bit fanciful and come across as advice in a magazine column. As such, it comes across as a lecture via paperback.

The author of Kids, Sex & Screens has been working with children for more than two decades both in a school setting and as a psychologist. Her Just Enough Book series is designed for children ages three to six and her most recent series, The World Around Us,for ages five to eight. Kids, Sex & Screens covers all age brackets and is targeted at parents, guardians, teachers and other relevant adult audiences.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: February 2019
RRP: $29.99

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