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Empower teens to take control of their digital life.

Slaying Digital Dragons™

Tips and tools for protecting your body, brain, psyche, and thumbs from the digital dark side


Without avoiding the dark side of technology, this interactive and comprehensive reference book empowers young adults to take charge of their digital life and improve their mental health and well-being. Quizzes and exercises guide readers through the process of evaluating their relationships with their screens, social media, and tech in general.

With a frank and humorous approach to a timely topic, award-winning author Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., pulls back the curtain on the hidden aspects of the digital world and shares:

  • Signs that screen time is affecting young adults’ bodies, brains, and relationships
  • Tips for protecting their privacy, safety, and reputation
  • Ways social media and algorithms can distort their reality and sense of self
  • Tools for finding life balance and resetting their screen scene
Slaying Digital Dragons is a call to action to make the choices that are right for teens. It doesn’t demand ditching smartphones or deactivating social media. Instead, it suggests strategies for playing favorite games and posting on favorite apps, while also doing good in the world and bringing joy and encouragement to others. It invites readers to join the resistance and learn how to thwart the manipulative forces trying to control and profit off their users. And it gives young adults what they need to stay safe and take charge of their digital life.

Part of Self-Help for Teens®

For more must-have advice from Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., check out How Rude!®: The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out (Revised & Updated Edition).
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Paperback $24.99 85966 Paperback 85966 $24.99

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ISBN: 978-1-63198-596-6
Interest Level: Ages 13 & up
Reading Level: 8
Guided Reading Level: Z+
Lexile Level: 980L
Illustrated: 1-color
Trim Size: 7.25" x 9"
Page Count: 408
Praise for Slaying Digital Dragons

“This entertaining and thought-provoking tome takes on screen time and its impact on the teenage body, mind, and soul.”—Booklist

“Given the impact of social media on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of teens and young adults, Slaying Digital Dragons should be a part of every library.”—Children’s Bookwatch

“I loved this book, 5 stars! The author’s approach to this subject was very humorous and extremely engaging, I enjoyed every second.”—Bailey D., 12th-grade student

“This is a book kids need to read.”—YAdudebooks

“This interactive, comprehensive guide helps teens thrive online and off. Slaying Digital Dragons trusts teens to make the right decisions for themselves and gives them the information and tools to do so, while also calling on them to use their abundant empathy to make the world a better place.”—Dr. Michele Borba, parenting and bullying-prevention expert, author of End Peer Cruelty, Build Empathy; Thrivers; and Unselfie
Slaying Digital Dragons illuminates one of the dimmest, least understood, most impactful domains of life today, especially in the lives of children and teens: screens. Alex J. Packer breaks new ground in this authoritative, impeccably researched but also highly engaging, funny, and practical manual on how to take advantage of the huge upsides of the digital world while avoiding the diabolically dangerous traps it sets for the unsuspecting. This is an important and much-needed guide on how to navigate and thrive in the world young people inhabit and absorb every day.”—Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., founder of The Hallowell Centers; author of ADHD 2.0
“This book is truly the War and Peace for teens and anyone who spends a vast amount of time on their screens. Alex J. Packer’s manifesto for slaying the digisphere is a lifesaver. Join the resistance and share this powerful book. It will help you and your friends retool, regroup, and set healthier standards for abating the dark forces beyond your control.”—Nancy Chuda, co-founder and president emeritus of Healthy Child Healthy World
“Teens are on their phones and screens for seven and a half hours every day. Most of them know that they are either addicted to their devices or in danger of getting addicted, but when their parents bring the subject up, kids react defensively and angrily. In his funny, straight-talking new book, Slaying Digital Dragons, Alex J. Packer offers teens a way to think about their relationships to their devices. Relying on cutting-edge research and his deep insights into children, Packer is by turns supportive and challenging, humorous and dead serious. If you want your teen to examine their smartphone use, if you want to have a productive conversation with your child about social media, you should buy this book for yourself and your child.”—Michael Thompson, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling coauthor of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
  • ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success

    M 1, B-LS 1, B-LS 5, B-LS 10, B-SMS 1, B-SMS 2, B-SMS 4, B-SMS 5, B-SMS 6, B-SMS 7, B-SMS 8, B-SMS 9, B-SMS 10, B-SS 1, B-SS 2, B-SS 3, B-SS 4, B-SS 5, B-SS 8, B-SS 9, B-SS 10

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User Reviews

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December 7, 2021 / David - Waterman
Slaying Digital Dragons

Exciting, hilarious, thought provoking, and practical for students, teachers, parents, or anybody seeking a sturdy suit of armor, shield, and sword, to keep those hackers, trolls, creepers, and peepers locked in their caves! Safe surfing to all that experience the genius of Slaying Digital Dragons.

November 22, 2021 / Fitzwilliam - Bonita Springs, Florida
How I learned to stop worrying and love the internet: Slaying Digital Dragons is an antidote to the hazards!

Slaying Digital Dragons is a timely, thoroughly researched divulgence of the many dangers to which our young people are exposed in this internet age, and this achievement in itself makes it a valuable and necessary book to read.

Happily, the book is anything but a screed: the author applauds all that is wonderfully accessible on the internet even as he painstakingly catalogues its dangers (bullying, predatory advances, phishing, scamming, malware are examples) and guides the young readers he addresses with indispensable tips on how to safely navigate this potential behemoth.

Dr. Packer's unique ability to relate to youngsters is once again manifest in this encyclopaedic exploration of how the internet works and what it does and tries to do and highlights the good as well as the bad. He offers solutions to addictive behavior and healthy alternatives and does so in a way sure to please. I loved 'My Resistance Manifesto.' It should be poster size and on every teen's bedroom wall.

The wonder of the book with its serious message is its engaging, engrossing prose style. Clearly well informed, Packer directs his expertise with levity that is delightfully witty - guffaw provoking - and certain to appeal to young readership as much as to their elders. The book is full of charming illustrations and a clever repartee between author and his young readers in comic bubbles appear throughout, adding to the fun read of a critical topic.

I've bought my five copies for grandchildren's Christmas stockings. I urge every parent and grandparent to do the same. It is the most loving gift you can give them.

November 16, 2021 / JMH - Maine
Valuing the health and well-being of kids over the profits of Big Tech

As a recently retired middle school educator and grandparent of school-age children, I can’t say enough about Slaying Digital Dragons. It seems the mainstream press is completely absorbed by the questionable ethics, potential lawsuits and global power that is Big Tech, but little attention is being paid to the generations who were born and raised in the digital world, let alone how to protect them from being emotionally and intellectually exploited. The timeliness of this book is extraordinary, as parents and educators search for ways to understand and protect these generations as they course through hours, days and months of their lives online with video games, social media, TikTok and texting.

Packer’s book is a crucial tool for teens, parents and children in the fight to resist the heavy-handed manipulation and exploitation that is taking place these days by Facebook, Google and other media giants in their efforts to sell ads and get rich on the backs of our kids. The book is more than just a crucial read: it can easily be modified to be used in grade 7-12 classrooms, and the publisher even makes available all of the worksheets in the book as 8.5 x 11 downloadable reproducibles, ready to use by classroom teachers - for free.

As more and more attention is being paid to digital literacy for students, this book goes the extra mile in illuminating how Big Tech manipulates tech users. Through a series of lively and often funny commentary and exercises, it shows kids how to develop self-awareness regarding digital content, including how to defend and protect themselves from manipulation. If I could, I would give this book 10 stars!

November 14, 2021 / TWA - Virginia
Putting our digital lives in perspective

Dr. Packer delivers good advice for teens (and the rest of us) about our digital lives. Yeah--smartphones are a great tool and have changed life and society for the better in many ways. (Full disclosure--I used to work in the industry.) But our digital devices are just a tool. They should not take over our lives. Packer cites the very disturbing statistic that in the 15 years that smartphones became almost universal among adolescents, the number of teens who see friends in person every day or nearly every day dropped in half. That's frightening! The job of kids is to bump into others, make mistakes, do some stupid stuff, and learn about real life. Mostly that takes place in person--not on a smartphone.

This would be a great present for some teenagers you know.

November 10, 2021 / MLB - Virginia
Our Digital Devices Can Be Harmful

Many of us sense that the use of our digital devices can be harmful. But at last it is Dr. Packer, through his engaging, enlightening, and well documented book, who exposes us to this “Dark Side.”

He is not a scold but rather an ally. The tools he provides to evaluate the extent of one’s personal harm are invaluable. It can be challenging to recognize the role each of us unwillingly serves as we expose ourselves to the exploitative gathering of our personal data. It is hard to acknowledge that we are, in fact, enablers.

As is often said - knowledge in itself can be power. That, of course, depends. The author has given us the knowledge to make a positive difference to our well-being. But the true value of his effort will be when each of us take on his challenge to RESIST.

Unfortunately, there is no force for good which can take on this mission for us. Change seems to come one person at a time. And that task is left to each of us. We do have the power to seize control from Big Tech.

Please read this book. (It may be meant for teen-agers, but this adult has found it a worthy read, indeed.) Give it to your family and friends. It is a seminal work published at a pivotal moment.

September 11, 2021 / Destany Sulaica
Slaying Digital Dragons

Was definitely an interesting book. I enjoyed it a lot!


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