Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
The definitive book on helping kids navigate growing up in a world where nearly every moment of their lives can be shared and compared
With social media and constant connection, the boundaries of privacy are stretched thin. Growing Up in Public shows parents how to help tweens and teens navigate boundaries, identity, privacy, and reputation in their digital world.
We can track our kids’ every move with apps, see their grades within minutes of being posted, and fixate on their digital footprint, anxious that a misstep could cause them to be “canceled” or even jeopardize their admission to college. And all of this adds pressure on kids who are coming of age immersed in social media platforms that emphasize “personal brand,” “likes,” and “gotcha” moments. How can they figure out who they really are with zero privacy and constant judgment? Devorah Heitner shows us that by focusing on character, not the threat of getting caught or exposed, we can support our kids to be authentically themselves.
Drawing on her extensive work with parents and schools as well as hundreds of interviews with kids, parents, educators, clinicians, and scholars, Heitner offers strategies for parenting our kids in an always-connected world. With relatable stories and research-backed advice, Growing Up in Public empowers parents to cut through the overwhelm to connect with their kids, recognize how to support them, and help them figure out who they are when everyone is watching.
About the Author
Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., is the authority parents turn to for empowering advice on raising resilient and kind kids in our always-connected world. Her previous book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World, was an Amazon bestseller and widely praised. She is a featured speaker at conferences and independent and public schools in the United States and abroad. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN Opinion, and Fast Company, among others. Dr. Heitner earned a Ph.D. in media, technology and society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul University, Lake Forest College, and Northwestern.
"Devorah Heitner's fantastic new book begins with a clear-eyed message for those of us raising or shaping young people in this moment. Kids feel watched but not seen."—Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune
"Growing Up in Public gives parents a gentle guide on how to keep lines of communication open between them and their child.... This is an important guidebook for all parents as they seek to give their children the skills they need to navigate our brave new world."—BookPage
"Astute advice on how parents can help their children navigate social media and other technology.... The levelheaded guidance is a refreshing antidote to more alarmist takes on the topic."
"Expert advice for parents and teens backed by relevant research and clear thinking."
“Parents would do well to heed Devorah’s advice to stop agonizing about their kids going viral for the wrong reasons and focus instead on helping them figure out who they really are.”
—Jessica Lahey, New York Times bestselling author of The Gift of Failure
“A must-read for every parent, Growing Up in Public brilliantly guides us in how to use conversations with our kids about the digital world as opportunities to develop their character and deepen our relationship with them. Emphasizing the importance of our children feeling seen instead of watched, mentored instead of monitored, this book is all at once a roadmap for preventing digital problems, a resource for what to do when things go wrong, and a crash course in how to empower our kids to become responsible, independent, and thoughtful digital citizens.
—Tina Payne Bryson, LCSW, PhD, New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Whole-Brain Child
“With empathy and insight, Devorah Heitner sheds light on how parents’ scrutiny and monitoring of teenagers can intensify the stress of growing up with social media. We need to listen to kids to understand the ways they are re-writing the rules about what we share about ourselves. This is essential reading for anyone who cares about kids and teens.”
—Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
“Every parent needs this book! Growing Up in Public is the smart, frank, and compassionate advice we need so we can protect our kids from the land mines they face in a digital world. Heitner levels up our understanding, delivers us from fear, and empowers us to confidently mentor our kids.”
—Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult
“Devorah Heitner really gets why young people deserve privacy, respect, and autonomy. She translates teens’ social and technology landscape for parents so they can help their children thrive. Her focus on character instead of the threat of consequences is a rare antidote to the fear-based parenting that so many others have espoused.”
—Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes
“Growing Up in Public is a book for our times, helping you balance your impulse to protect your children with their fundamental needs to create their identities, develop independence, and learn to successfully manage the powerful technologies that are interwoven in their lives. Dr. Heitner shares how to do so in ways that bolster your most potent parenting tool: your relationship with your child.”
—Ned Johnson, coauthor of The Self-Driven Child
“Heitner’s approach to raising kids in our hyper-connected world is empowering and reassuring. With each page, I felt more confident, less worried, and more aware of what our kids are grappling with. Best of all, now we have the tools to meaningfully connect and support our kids."
—Michelle Icard, author of Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen