Teens and screens: will Covid tip the balance toward real-world socializing?

The Teen Librarian Toolbox at School Library Journal is a professional development website for teen librarians, and as part of the launch for Friend Me they asked me to write a guest blog. Thank you, TLT! If you haven’t read the book, it was sparked partly by a comment one day from my then 13-year-old, who mentioned that it was his best friend’s birthday.

When I urged my son to phone the boy for a chat, he looked at me like I was suggesting something unnatural. That got me thinking : it would be totally possible for a young person to strike up a friendship with someone by phone even if they never met in real life. In Friend Me, those fictional friends are Roisin and Haley.

What has surprised me, however, is how young people’s default preference for screens may be changing completely due to Covid and lockdowns. Our own teens quickly grew tired of their phones and hungered for real-world meet ups as social distancing requirements stretched over weeks and months, and into 2021.

Read the full blog article here from TLT: Bullies, best friends and phones: Will Covid shift the balance toward real-world socializing? And thank you again to Amanda MacGregor and the whole TLT team!

Review: Nick Lake’s realistic YA science fiction SATELLITE

I was not going to bypass a story pitched as THE MARTIAN for teens, and SATELLITE fills its brief fabulously: you won’t be disappointed if you come looking for realistic space-exploration science. But this book delivered lots, lots more…so much that I’m planning to read it again.

SATELLITE follows 15-year-old Leo Freeman, one of the first babies to be born and raised on a space station, after his astronaut mom was discovered to be pregnant once in orbit. Leo’s got two older friend-“siblings” from a different mom, who got together with another fellow astronaut when they were on a long-term research program in orbit, part of preparation for human colonisation-journeys to other worlds. Continue reading “Review: Nick Lake’s realistic YA science fiction SATELLITE”