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Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids -- And How to Break the Trance

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  985 ratings  ·  221 reviews
We’ve all seen them: kids hypnotically staring at glowing screens in restaurants, in playgrounds and in friends' houses―and the numbers are growing. Like a virtual scourge, the illuminated glowing faces―the Glow Kids―are multiplying. But at what cost? Is this just a harmless indulgence or fad like some sort of digital hula-hoop? Some say that glowing screens might even be ...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
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Nicholas Kardaras Fear monger? Over 200 peer-reviewed studies that correlate excessive screen exposure with a whole host of clinical disorders...20 million Chinese teen…moreFear monger? Over 200 peer-reviewed studies that correlate excessive screen exposure with a whole host of clinical disorders...20 million Chinese teens diagnosed with IAD--Internet Addiction Disorder. Do you really think that young children staring at a digital screen for hours each day isn't a problem and is developmentally healthy? I wrote this book after working with over 1,000 kids in school districts over the past 10 years and seeing the clinical problems first hand. And, as a parent, I am concerned about the explosion of screen time. By the way, sorry to disappoint you, but my rehab doesn't treat kids nor tech addiction. (less)

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J.J. Johnson
Everyone should read this book. Seriously. Sure, it's not perfect: it's a bit alarmist, relies on a lot of anecdotes, and there are lines in which homeslice toots his own horn a bit... But even with those issues, this is an important book. Lessons I've come away with, supported by a preponderance of evidence (as well as my own experience, education, observation, and intuition):
1. Video games, apps, social media are intentionally "game-ified" using random reward schedules, raising cortisol and bp
Arshad Pooloo
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I like the book and enjoyed the arguments put forward but I am not a big fan of the fear mongering that this book seems to promote. I have read this book in parallel with "Hooked" so I am well aware of how UI and UX are being studied and designed in a way to hook people and get them coming back + I graduated and work in marketing field so I know those stuff from exposure in the corporate environment.

My issue with this book is that if readers are not careful enough they will not distinguish words
Jud Valeski
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents
powerful & scary. in short, less screen-time, for anyone, is more. read this book if you want to understand the ins/outs as to why.

the author does a solid job referencing studies and support for the case against too much screen-time. he covers smartphones/ipads, TVs, computer screens, and e-readers thoroughly. he also covers gaming (strategy as well as first-person-shooter), web-surfing, and social apps really well, diving into the unique psychological and physiological impact of each; not all s
Feb 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I knew this book would be bad, but I have never read something so bad as to give me heartburn.

The book opens with an anecdote with what is perhaps the most unrealistic mother I have ever seen in nonfiction -- one who wants her child not to play outside. It then proceeds to equate the Tetris effect with psychosis.

For those who have not heard of this: the Tetris effect -- where one finds oneself unconsciously thinking about an activity and things related to it when one is not doing it -- is not c
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction
I am the ideal audience for this book - we already set strict limits on screens in our house, emphasize outdoor time, and don't have any video games. I couldn't hardly stand to read this book. It seemed like the worst type of fear mongering and wasn't even applicable to most families.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I read books like this one I want to toss out my Kindle Fire and cell phone, even though it's a flip phone. (Fortunately, I had a paper copy of the book!) All the new technology isn't worth it, especially when it comes down to how addicted children are to it all. While some readers may not believe all the author's horror stories, I find it hard to believe he's making things up. Unlike other similar books on the topic, Nicholas Kardaras also comes right out and states it's ludicrous to b ...more
Juan Giménez Silva
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
The author has clearly an axe to grind. The book is full of anecdotal evidence, cherry-picked studies and alarmism. The author often makes use of alarmist phrases pointed to worried parents, a very common rethoric of preachers of the end of times. Altough sometimes it is reasonable, and points out that screens/videogames/social media might be a just a little influence in a greater problem, it then bombards you with anecdotal evidence of disturbed mentally ill patients and fear-mongering phrases. ...more
Ms. B
Scared Straight for the dangers of technology. Just take a look at that creepy front cover. A doom and gloom book about the damage that screens, video games and cell phones cause to our young people. The worst of it? It's too soon to know what the long term effects will be.
After reading Glow, you may decide it's time to limit your own use of devices (phone, tablet, laptop). And if you have kids, you may decide it's time to take the devices away for good.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish I would have read this BEFORE giving my kids an iPhone and before I allowed the Xbox and Kindle devices into my kid's lives. This is a very informative book on the dangers of electronics and how they can affect us if we don't regulate and set limits. Too much of anything isn't a good thing, electronics are no different. This book has extreme cases of what can happen if you let video games and phones take over. It also gives ideas of how to overcome the addiction.

On a side note, I had set
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I appreciated this book. It was referenced in another book I recently read. There were a lot of interesting topics, research and professional input throughout the text.

Some previous reviewers commented that this book was written in an alarmist tone. At times, yes I agree it was a bit extreme - but shouldn't we be alarmed? It's true that Kardaras takes some of the topics to the highest level, I believe because he actually deals with people who are severally effected by screen addiction that this
Ramona McConkie
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yikes! Every parent should read this. The true but scare-tactic stories of video game killers was a little much for me, but I think the brain and documented research here is worth studying and knowing. We are fighting an uphill battle.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-goal
A fairly comprehensive treatment of screen addiction in children as well as myriad of additional considerations. His point sometimes meanders, but it’s definitely well worth the read, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Jason Swan
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a person who grew up playing games and a new parent this book puts in to words some thing that I have been trying to make sense of for a few years.

I am a "glow kid" not in the clinical sense but I see a lot of what he points out through his research that I am addicted to technology ( esp video games. Warcraft and overwatch to name a few).

While there are a few things that aren't really answered (such as how the dopamine released during dame play contradicts the disappointment while playing th
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This book contains some fascinating information and is written in a very engaging style, but there is clearly not enough data to constitute enough material for a whole book. As a consequence, the volume quickly descends into theoretical paranoia and fear mongering to fill the remaining pages. I recommend reading the first few chapters only, at least until the author has enough of value to flesh out the rest of the book.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
First, this book made me very sad. Second, too many anecdotes. Third, writing style: alarmist. BUT, the message is important and while the delivery leaves a bit to be desired he does cite some specific studies and raise some important issues.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, parenting
Dr. Kardaras makes a good case that our children are being neurally harmed by the amount of time spent on digital devices. This book should be on the reading list of any parent.

I am making note of many of the quotes I enjoyed from the book for future reference.

"There is not one credible research study that shows that a child exposed to more technology earlier in life has better educational outcomes than a tech-free kid; while there is some evidence that screen-exposed kids may have some increas
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has changed the way Connor and I will introduce technology to our future children. So informative- anyone with children or anyone who wants to have children should read this book
Laura Lou
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a MUST read for everyone! Especially parents with kids, teachers, school administrators, etc! I've always known that giving young children tablets and smartphones to play with to keep them occupied was a disaster in the making. Those young minds are being destroyed by all the screen time and they aren't able to focus when it comes to reading, unstructured play time, and being able to look people in the eye. It saddens me when I'm sitting in our orthodontist's office, or the waiting room ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
More than an "ain't it awful" book about how much time kids spend on their phones, this book gives you ways to combat it. It presents research and case studies to give us all pause. This is very readable, and Kardaras has experience working with kids in schools with mental illness and addiction problems. I especially was interested in the history of technology in schools. He was able to follow the money and explain why there is always money for screens, but not for teachers. Tech is sexy and luc ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.(: this was a good rundown on some of the issues caused by technology that are plaguing not only the Children if this day and age, but the adults as well. I agree with basically everything that the author has to say. While I love all of the comforts and conveniences that tech has given us, I am not at all a fan of social media, or the everyday tech uses for entertainment purposes. I think that it has dulled our senses, and frankly I believe it has produced a brand new plethora of issue ...more
I have long been worried about the effect screen time is having on children, and Kardaras lists some very convincing research, ". . . we have research from several recent brain-imaging studies that show us that tech exposure can also alter brain structure and myelination in exactly the same way that drugs can" (66). Kardaras is passionate on this subject, which comes out in his writing, and the science backs up his claims. Towards the end he discusses the issues of video game induced violence an ...more
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read for all parents and teachers. In our desire to give children the very best tools for success in the future, we are pushing digital media on ever-younger users without a complete understanding of the effects of screen time on developing brains. The ample scientific research about tech addiction gives adult readers plenty of material for considering how much is too much when it comes to children and their digital devices. Even more compelling are the cautionary tales of sc ...more
Shaun Davidson
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great content hidden under a sensationalist writing style. As someone who is "pro tech" to some degree, I wanted to read something highly rated that challenged my views. This book did exactly that. And as much as my children moan about our "screenless summers", they start reading and writing to alleviate the boredom and prove the point that they need to slow down and take a break from technology.

Recommended. Would be five stars if writing felt like less of an appeal to emotion. It's odd, becaus
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read. He presents the effects of screens and how they are negatively effecting our children. It was so validating to read the science behind how producers create games to be addicting and the resulting aggression and depression that can take place after screen use. I felt like it gave me good information to back the constant nagging feeling I have about the negative effects. I recognize that any author can find studies to push his agenda, but I did find a lot of the information to be ...more
Matt Moyer
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: matt
Dr. Kardaras is certain an alarmist, and I feel it's best to bring perspectives from other readings on the topic of kids and technology before unequivocally accepting the themes he presents. No doubt there are useful perspectives in this book, particularly from an addiction clinician. Kardaras makes a strong case for the addiction narrative, but the issue of youth and technology deserves a broader perspective that Kardaras doesn't include.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Nothing overly surprising....screens (video games, tv, phones, iPads) are addictive and there are consequences for spending so much time on them. I felt like this could’ve been summed up and just as convincing in a short(ish) article. The author was at times snarky and I found that to be a little distracting, but overall I was left with more desire to further limit my kids’ access to screens....and mine, too.
Tim Seley
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Didn’t actually finish it and there’s a “get off my lawn” feeling at times, but some good info and a good reminder (for myself as well) to limit time with technology.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fine. Book would have been more interesting if written by a journalist following the money rather a doctor shelling out advice, but the point gets across.
Jamie Green
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
A lot of this was about gaming which doesn't apply to our family very much but I found the book very informative in helping to make decisions about my kids screen time.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book sucks.
Read it if: you'd like a Fox News take on children's usage of technology. You can do better if you'd like real research on this topic.
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Dr. Nicholas Kardaras is an internationally renowned speaker, one of the country’s foremost addiction experts, the Executive Director of the Dunes in East Hampton NY—one of the world’s top rehabs, and the founder and Executive Director of Hamptons Discovery--a progressive adolescent treatment program. A former Clinical Professor at Stony Brook Medicine, he has also taught neuropsychology at the do ...more

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“Yet, ironically, the most tech-cautious parents are the people who invented our iCulture. People are shocked to find out that tech god Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent; in 2010, when a reporter suggested that his children must love the just-released iPad, he replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” In a September, 10, 2014, New York Times article, his biographer Walter Isaacson revealed: “Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things. No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer.” Years earlier, in an interview for Wired magazine, Jobs expressed a very clear anti-tech-in-the-classroom opinion as well—after having once believed that technology was the educational panacea: “I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody on the planet. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.”34 Education” 2 likes
“The trap that many parents fall into is in believing that when their kids are hypnotically looking at a screen, they are demonstrating a profound ability to stay focused. after all, they maintain a laserlike attention on the screen, so how can there possibly be an attention problem?” 2 likes
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