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Review: “The Dangerous Gift”
by Rob Peters and Cliff Lea

Teaching kids about Internet safety is a challenge for every parent.  To begin with, many parents may not feel competent to discuss technology dangers with their children, especially when they had to ask the kids how to load an iPod!  Then there is the age old problem of kids discounting what parents say because, well, they are PARENTS!

Pastors Rob Peters and Cliff Lea have written a great book for parents to employ that uses fiction to educate children.  The Dangerous Gift is the first volume in The Kids’ Tech Series and tells the tale of 11 year-old Trevor Williams’ trouble with an online predator after getting a smart phone for his birthday. The young reader will be introduced to many of the issues involved with online safety and will see both the good and the bad presented in realistic and believable situations.  It is in the dilemmas and problems that Trevor experiences that the lessons are taught.

At the start of the book young, Trevor’s parents give him a smart phone for his 11th birthday.  Trevor then uses the phone to pursue his interests (GAMES!) and becomes overly focused on the “IT” game that he and his friends enjoy.  As he seeks to learn how to beat the game he realistically comes into contact with an online predator while surfing on various game-related web sites and chat rooms/forums.  After his suspicious are aroused, Trevor tells  his father, an FBI agent, about his concerns and Agent Williams puts things in motion to investigate the situation.  I won’t ruin the climatic scenes for you, but your child will greatly enjoy this tale.

The Dangerous Gift is written for the 9-12 year old crowd.  The story is engaging and flows well.  Issues involving the Internet (pornography & overuse of the Internet, as well as predators) are treated realistically and educate the young reader about Internet dangers and what to do about them.  Christian faith is definitely central to the story, especially as Trevor faces temptations on the Internet.  Trevor’s parents are portrayed as loving and wise, with his father being especially savvy with technology.  The pace moves quickly and should engage the young reader while teaching them principles of online safety.  At just shy of 90 pages, the book will not “overpower” the reader.  Some parents may wish to share in the reading to promote discussion, although you do have to ensure that you are not invading your child’s turf!

Rob Peters and Cliff Lea have made a superb beginning with this, their first book in the Kids’ Tech Series.  I look forward to reading the next volume that chronicles young Trevor’s adventures with technology.

The Dangerous Gift is available in paperback format, as well via electronic download for iBooks, Kindle, and the Nook e-readers.  The hardcopy price is around $11 (and may involve a shipping fee) while the electronic versions are just shy of $8 and may be downloaded directly to your or your child’s iPad, Kindle, or Nook device.
(Prices sampled online in Jan 2012.)

Have you read The Dangerous Gift, or a similar work?
Share your thoughts with us via the comment section, below!

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