Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, digital technologies had become deeply embedded in children’s lives, despite a growing body of research detailing the harms of excessive immersion in the unregulated, powerfully seductive, profit-driven world of the “kid-tech” industry.
In Who’s Raising the Kids? Linn—one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of Big Tech and big business on children—explores the roots and consequences of this monumental shift toward a digitized, commercialized childhood, focusing on kids’ values, relationships, and learning. From birth, kids have become lucrative fodder for a range of tech, media, and toy companies, from producers of exploitative games and social media platforms to “educational” technology and branded school curricula of dubious efficacy.
Noting that many Silicon Valley elites wouldn’t dream of exposing their young kids to the very technologies they’ve unleashed on other people’s children, Who’s Raising the Kids? is unique—a highly readable social critique and guide to protecting kids from exploitation by the tech, toy, and entertainment industries. Linn provides a deep and eye-opening dive into exactly how new technologies enable huge conglomerates to transform young children into lifelong consumers by infiltrating their lives and influencing their values, relationships and learning. She persuasively argues that our digitized-commercialized culture is damaging for kids and families as well as society at large, and maps out what we must do to change course.
Written with humor and compassion, the book concludes with two hopeful chapters—“Resistance Parenting” and “Making a Difference for Everybody’s Kids”—that chart a path for protecting kids from targeting by the tech, toy, and entertainment industries that treat them as lucrative bundles of data and as mini-consumers ripe for exploitation rather than as the children they need to be.