The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch

(Grand Rapids: Baker, 2017), 209


  • focus on the proper place of technology. Technology is in its proper place when it helps us:
    • bond with real people
    • starts great conversations
    • take care of our bodies
    • acquire skill and mastery in difficult domains
    • cultivate awe for the created world
    • use it with intention and care
  • remind our children that “our family is different”


  • our homes are meant to be where the very best of life happens (29)
  • Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth (30)
  • no TV in house until kids were 10, and they barely noticed when they got one
  • nudge: sit where there are no screens in sight
  • importance of silence (36-37)
  • goal of the “10 commitments”: cultivate character, shape space, and structure time

10 Tech-Wise Commandments

  1. We develop wisdom and courage together as a family
  2. We want to create more than we consume. So we fill the center of our home with things that reward skill and active engagement.
  3. We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest. So one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year, we turn off our devices and worship, feast, play, and rest together.
  4. We wake before our devices do, and they "go to bed" before we do.
  5. We aim for "no screens before double digits" (of age) at school and home.
  6. We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly and alone.
  7. Car time is conversation time.
  8. Spouses have one another's passwords, and parents have total access to children's devices.
  9. We learn to sing together, rather than letting recorded and amplified music take over our lives and worship.
  10. We show up in person for the big events of life. We learn how to be human by being fully present at our moments of greatest vulnerability. We hope to die in one another's arms.

Chapter 1 - Choosing Character

  • a family is for the formation of persons...the important things we do as families involve developing wisdom (52-54)

Chapter 2 - Shaping Space

  • are the most valuable things in the center of your home? Art, books, houseplants, piano, craft table, board game cabinet, fireplace (hearth), dining table, oven
  • children need raw materials to create, not toys with batteries and noises that ask little of them (80-81)

Chapter 3 - Structuring Time

  • the sabbath is important: toil is fruitless labor, and leisure is fruitless escape from labor; we need real rest
  • if work is all outside the home, children never see their parents acting with wisdom and courage while they work (90)
  • turn off our devices for one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year

Chapter 4 - Waking and Sleeping

  • sleep is essential for human flourishing
  • have a central place in the home to park phones for the night

Chapter 5 - Learning and Working

  • no screens until 10 years old
  • we are both mind and body, and we need to be challenged to learn
  • discussion of computerized classrooms and how they are actually dumbing down rather and stepping up learning (130+)
  • learn in thick, embodied ways instead of thin, technological ways

Chapter 6 - Boredom

  • boredom is brand new in the history of civilization
  • the more you entertain children, the more bored they will be
  • never feed your children (food or entertainment) that you would not enjoy yourself (150)
    • Jesus Storybook Bible

Chapter 7 - In the Car

  • this is the best time for conversation and building character

Chapter 8 - Naked and unashamed

  • the best defense against porn is a life full of good things
  • we can never keep porn out, but we can give our kids “healthy immune systems” to resist it when it arrives
  • you also need a good filter on sexual content
  • no technological secrets and no place to hide them: screens face others, parents have total access to children’s devices: even if children make bad choices they know they are doing so in a moral framework
  • spouses have all of each other’s passwords
    • all sin begins with separation

Chapter 9 - Why Singing Matters

  • we no longer regularly sing in public
  • “One of the biggest threats to wisdom and virtue in a technological age is that we can so easily settle for something less than the best” (189)
  • we worship and sing well with our heart, mind, soul, and strength

Chapter 10 - In Sickness and Health

  • they always attend weddings and funerals if at all possible
  • show up: nothing can replace being present in person
  • technology cannot cheat death (Wendell Berry)