BOOK REVIEW: American Girl: A smart girl’s guide to the Digital World

American Girl: A smart girl’s guide to the Digital World looks at the positives and negatives of digital interaction and communication for young girls.

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“Life in the digital sphere also means making decisions about how you present yourself every time you go there. You might even feel like you’re living two different versions of yourself: the real you and the virtual you.”

The book emphasises the parent’s role as guide to the digital realm. It even encourages the girls to set up a digital contract that defines what they will and won’t do online.

“Online actions have consequences you may not know about,” the author writes. “The truth is, nothing digital is ever completely private.”

Readers are advised not to share any information that has digits in it such as an address, age, birthday, etc. It also recommends users don’t share images of themselves on public sites and try to stay anonymous.

There are several other aspects of the online world that the book covers including, passwords, avoiding scams, how cookies work, etc. There is a section about online etiquette, how to make friends online, how to use emojis as well as social media manners.

It includes fun images and even quizzes to test whether or not the reader has digital wisdom.

Throughout the book, readers are advised to think before they post and to remember that what they do post will be out there for all time.

Girls are given some helpful tips on how to handle digital dramas and bullies in the online world. I enjoyed how the writers instructed readers to take things offline when conversations were getting heated with friends. Instead, they encouraged the girls to try and fix the situation in person.

As online bullying has become a major issue for youth I was surprised there was only one page dedicated to the topic. While there was some good advice to deal with any situations that came up I feel there could have been more added to this topic.

This turns out to be an okay book to open the conversation up about interactions online, but I am not sure any reader is going to walk away fully equipped to deal with what they may encounter in the digital world.

Written for a preteen audience, it would be a fit for 9-13-year-old.

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