James P. Steyer

CEO, Common Sense Media
Author, Talking Back to Facebook

How technology is shaping the younger generation — and what to do about it.

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James Steyer is one of the most respected experts and entrepreneurs on issues related to children’s media and education in the United States. He is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading non-partisan organisation dedicated to improving media and technology choices for kids and families. This work and his own experience as a father have fed into his new book, Talking Back To Facebook: A Common-Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age. It's a compelling exploration of how social media and cellphone technology have transformed the lives of today's young people — often in much more dramatic ways than today's adults might suspect.

Jim's understanding of contemporary youth is reflected in his 25-year career as an award-winning faculty member at Stanford University where he has taught popular courses for 25 years. Among other honours, he has been awarded the university's highest teaching honour — the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching — awarded annually to three Stanford professors. In addition, he was voted by the students to be Class Day speaker at Stanford’s graduation exercises.

Prior to launching Common Sense Media, Jim was Chairman and CEO of JP Kids, a leading educational kids’ media company. Before that, he was the Founder and President of Children Now, the highly respected, national advocacy and media organisation for children, which he founded in 1988. Mr. Steyer serves regularly as an expert commentator on an assortment of national television and radio programs and hosts a weekly news feature on Kids and the Media on CBS-5 TV in San Francisco. He has frequently appeared on such shows as Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, CNN National News, Fox News and the CBS Early Show. He is also the author of The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on our Children.


Talking Back to Facebook

The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age

James P. Steyer

Now, more than ever, parents need help in navigating their kids’ online, media-saturated lives. Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading kids and media organization, and the father of four children, knows that many parents and teachers — unlike their technology-savvy kids — may be tourists in the online world.

In this essential book, Steyer — a frequent commentator on national TV and radio — offers an engaging blend of straightforward advice and anecdotes that address what he calls RAP, the major pitfalls relating to kids’ use of media and technology: relationship issues, attention/addiction problems, and the lack of privacy. Instead of shielding children completely from online images and messages, Steyer’s practical approach gives parents essential tools to help filter content, preserve good relationships with their children, and make common sense, value-driven judgments for kids of all ages.

Not just about Facebook, this comprehensive, no-nonsense guide to the online world, media, and mobile devices belongs in the hands of all parents and educators raising kids in today’s digital age.

Scribner Book Company (8 May 2012)


ReviewKirkus Reviews
Talking Back to FacebookThe Washington Post
A smart parents' guide to the digital agePittsburgh Post-Gazette


"Steyer has penned a vital wake-up call for parents and government. He is a champion of both kids and the digital revolution. But he's neither giddy nor an apologist. He recognizes that companies like Facebook and Google and video game makers sway our kids, how they think and read and study and behave. If you're a parent and want some shrewd tips on parenting in this digital age and how to protect your children, read this book."
— Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of the World as We Know It

"In this courageous book, Jim Steyer pulls no punches. Whether or not you agree with his critique of Facebook and its Silicon Valley siblings, you must grapple with the deep issues that he raises."
— Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"Jim Steyer is a relentless advocate for kids. Focusing on how the media intersects with their lives, Jim boldly takes on the issues, exploring the good, the bad, and the ugly alike — always the first to begin the conversation. I urge every parent to read this book, so that we can be prepared to navigate how new forms of media and communication are transforming children’s lives.”
— Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Group

"Smart, savvy, sophisticated, down-to-earth. A book that parents and children can read together. A conversation-starter for families."
— Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together

"For two decades Jim Steyer has been among the most prescient commentators about media and our children's lives, providing essential advice to parents about how to navigate these treacherous digital interactions. If Jim's approach has a fault it is tremendous faith in information to empower parents. What a wonderful faith to have."
— Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D.

"Steyer’s ‘common sense’ medicine for parents, educators, and others will promote better information, better decisions, and ultimately, better health — for our kids, families and communities."
— A. Eugene Washington, M.D., M.Sc., Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences, and Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

"Jim Steyer is the Paul Revere of the pixel universe, warning parents of the perils of social media. Whether they're adding friends on Facebook or meeting friends at the park, kids need to be kept safe from danger. Steyer's book is an indispensable safety tool for parents everywhere."
— Congressman Ed Markey, U.S. House of Representatives

The Other Parent

The Inside Story on the Media's Effect on Our Children

James P. Steyer

There's a stranger in your house.

Every day your children are bombarded by images of sex, commercialism, and violence — right in your own home. Kids spend more time each week with media than they do with their parents or teachers, and they learn about the adult world — through the influence of TV, the movies, music, computer games, and the Internet — long before they're ready. "This is the new media reality," writes nationally acclaimed child advocate James P. Steyer, "and it is not one that most parents or children are prepared for." With The Other Parent, Steyer offers critical guidance for understanding and processing the media that deluges your kids. Here you can learn how to:

  • talk to your kids about the messages they encounter in the media
  • put your family on a healthy media diet
  • initiate activities besides television watching and Web surfing

...and much more. A widely acclaimed, behind-the-scenes look at the media reality that children face, The Other Parent is a groundbreaking book that will change the way all Americans use and view the media.

Atria; Reprint edition (29 April 2003)
Simon & Schuster (27 May 2002)


Jim tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Talking Back to Facebook


Talking Back to Facebook