In the decade since the smartphone was released, we have been absorbing new technology like sponges, fervently downloading new apps and dedicating massive amounts of time to gaming, streaming video, and surfing social media. We’ve assumed these devices are healthy, or at least will not cause harm to us or our children. But what if this is an entirely flawed paradigm, and we are really part of the biggest uncontrolled experiment known to man? What if these magical gadgets are slowly damaging our children’s brains and eroding the fabric of real human connection?
In this enlightening book, Judy Stoffel, a visionary thinker who foresaw the impact screens could have on children, provides a plausible road map to change the course of the addiction train many of our kids have jumped on. She combines her personal anecdotes and business acumen with illuminating scientific data to help parents understand the impact screens are having on our children, and provides age-appropriate solutions to foster a healthy balance between the real and digital world.
#LookUp will challenge—and change—the way you think about your screens. This book is an indispensable tool for any parent who seeks guidance on how to tackle what could be the largest parenting issue of the current generation—screen time.
Judy Stoffel is a certified public accountant (CPA), business professional, author, and mother. She has a B.S. degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Judy is a Baby Boomer with nearly thirty years of experience parenting her own Millennial and Generation Z children. She currently lives in Chanhassen, Minnesota, with her husband and her 15-year-old son, and cherishes time spent with her other four grown children and her grandson. She can often be found on the sidelines at her children’s events, in the kitchen creating new recipes for friends and family, and volunteering in the community or at church. Learn more about Judy Stoffel at www.thelookupbook.com.
“Judy offers a unique perspective on how media use is impacting our families. . . . This is so timely and important! I’ll be sharing this with all my clients and students.” —Stephanie Johnson, author of Baby Bare: A Bottom-Up Approach to Growing Strong Brains and Bodies
“With passionate practicality, Judy Stoffel blends research and parental experience to make sense of the advantages and concerns inherent in today’s technological advances. Ms. Stoffel’s approaches to managing the use of technology in our lives are persuasive in their simplicity. She reminds us what parents know intellectually and intuitively: a healthy life is one that is relational.” —Kathie Brown, principal, Holy Family Catholic High School; recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Lasallian Educator (DLE) Award; BA English & Speech/Theater, MA Educational Administration, Ed. S
“Judy Stoffel’s book, #LookUp, offers parents factual, practical, and developmentally appropriate approaches to managing your ‘digital family life’ in the age of digital nativism. As a child advocate, nonprofit leader, and veteran mom of two young adults, I am glad to see Judy’s call to action for digital citizenship. Since parents are a child’s first and best teacher, it is up to us to begin to teach our children what skills, purpose, and boundaries are necessary as they learn to use technology for academics, work, communication, and fun.” —Michele Strasz, Catalyst for Action Consultants, 2019
“As a physician and father of two teenage boys, Judy’s discussion of the physiological and psychological effects of screen use on our children appeals to me both logically and emotionally. #LookUp comes at a perfect time for our family as we try to rein in screen time, deepen relationships with one another, and raise content, independent, empathic young men. Judy presents practical solutions that will empower any family striving to ‘look up’ more!” —Nate Pitner, M.D., Ph.D.
“#LookUp is an absolute must-read for every parent regardless of the ages of their children or how far down the parenting road they have traveled. The life-changing and research based information in this book will inform parents of the potentially detrimental effects that technology can have on their kids. Stoffel does an amazing job of sharing scientific information in a compelling manner that inspires the reader toward change. She also includes a myriad of practical and attainable solutions to take back our kids and our families from the addictive smorgasbord of tech devices that threaten to sidetrack us all from the things that matter the most in life; namely family, friends, and community. I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires healthier habits around technology for their kids and their families. #LookUp should be sent home from the hospital with new parents and used in parenting classes designed for parents of teens. It is inspiring and edifying on many levels!” —Tiffany McIntosh, BA education, BA sociology, MA curriculum and instruction; parenting instructor, former middle school teacher, and mother of four children
“I commend Judy Stoffel for shining a light on the ever-growing problem of ‘text neck’, which is often not even thought of when addressing our technology problems in our children. As a doctor of Chiropractic, I used to think that when iPads and tablets came out that the heavy backpack problem would be solved. I was wrong. Our kids are still carrying too heavy of backpacks and now they are spending hours each day hunched over their devices. It is causing major problems to our children’s spines. I am seeing more and more children coming in with neck pain and headaches dues to their posture. Unfortunately, many more problems won’t be realized until our children are older. The time to deal with this is now, when they are young. Thank you, Judy, for addressing this topic!” —Dr. Aaron Morland, owner and practitioner of Valeo Health and Wellness Center
“Powerful, practical, and solid advice on the impact screens are having on our children’s brains and bodies. Judy Stoffel’s research and expertise will make you challenge the status quo and change the way you think about your devices.” —Joy Hanson Fischer, LICSW
“#LookUp offers comprehensive research behind the physical and psychological effects of screen use, a needed resource as our parenting generation witnesses technology addiction developing in kids in real time. Judy Stoffel’s book should prompt every mom or dad to re-evaluate household norms. Her practical, bold tips will motivate change.” —Anne Carraux, mother of four children
“I applaud Ms. Stoffel for acknowledging all the amazing benefits of our devices and also showing us the cost we are paying for this connectivity. She’s not asking us to take away our kids’ phones, just to be more thoughtful on how they are used. I’ve been a high school teacher for twenty-six years, and the societal impacts are especially alarming. It’s sad to look into our school cafeteria and see so many students looking down at their phones. Just five years ago, they would have been talking and laughing with each other. The $300 million, 10-year government study on kids and screens that Ms. Stoffel references is HUGE and another sign parents do need to take this issue seriously. Her solutions are also a great resource for teachers of all grades, and I will be using many of them in my classroom.” —Tamara Sather, high school teacher
“We have access to unlimited information through the multitude of devices at our fingertips. This book perfectly summarizes both the gift and the challenge that presents and offers practical advice to this problem. It’s impossible to achieve outstanding results if we are distracted by our devices, whether that is in the classroom, the boardroom, or our personal relationships. Ms. Stoffel is correct in her assessment that the big Silicon Valley monopolies make money when they sell our attention to their advertisers. Rather than waiting for that model to change, it’s up to us to start making changes in our own homes. This book offers great solutions to achieve a healthy balance in your life and the lives of your children. It starts with you. Take charge.” —Anne Loughrey, founder of “Been There, Read That” blog, Certified Public Accountant, 30-year business professional, working mother of three children
“As a teacher for nineteen years, I have noticed negative behavioral changes in students starting as young as five years old. I do believe the proliferation of technology is a big contributor to this, and I suspect many parents may be using screens to occupy or “babysit” their children. Ms. Stoffel’s advice and solutions to have more intentional use of screens will help get parents on the right track. This book is very well-written, and I plan to recommend #LookUp to all my parents.” —Amy Lindahl, cross-categorical special education teacher K-2
“The author has compiled a great deal of research to create an impetus for parents to start a program to limit their family screen use. It is definitely not an easy task, but the reasons to do this are scary and real. I especially liked the solutions chapter—so many good ideas to get started. Even though I am not as attached to my screens as many young people today, I am instituting the ‘no screens two hours before bedtime’ rule for myself.” —Mary Welch, retired school teacher, 40 years’ experience
“As a teacher of seventeen years and mom of thirteen years, I found the information in this book very beneficial. A lot of research that helps one understand what the brain is doing as it connects to technology is included in this book. In teaching today, students want to know ‘why.’ #LookUp is full of information about why it is important to be informed and to control these super computers that our children have available. There were many wonderful suggestions of what steps to take as we guide our young people in balancing technology with real life.” —Barb Meinert, 4th grade teacher, St. Hubert School
“The beauty of this book is that Judy Stoffel presents not only the pros and cons of the pervasive screen presence in our lives but does not leave the reader there. She proposes many solutions that make living in this information age increasingly more healthy and balanced. As a mother of nine, I have witnessed a tremendous challenge evolve from our oldest to our youngest with regards to screen addiction and age appropriate information available. Judy’s in-depth research arms us with proof to the psychological, emotional, and physiological harm brought on by overuse of screens. Technology is here to stay, but this book is a great weapon toward protecting ourselves and our families!” —Denise Westerhaus, mother of nine children
“This is a wonderful book that Ms. Stoffel has written! As a teacher, particularly in kindergarten, I viewed technology as a useful tool but never felt the need to use much technology in the classroom. It was important for me to connect eye to eye with my students, touch to touch, and really listen to what they had to say. The research she presents supports this as well. Ms. Stoffel’s “Everything You Learned in Kindergarten Analogy” was clever, and perhaps all kindergarten teachers should enhance their curriculum with these digital lessons given the world we live in today. I also like the author’s comments on empathy, humility, and respect. Her family media plan is realistic and very straightforward; it should be an objective for every family to put a media plan in place.” —Mary Thomas, elementary education teacher