Book launch at Three Sheets Brewing – ditch the devices and bring back the magic of being a kid

Former contributor to Saugeen Times on-line News and local Port Elgin author of, Childhood Unplugged: Practical Advice to Get Kids Off Screens and Find Balance, Katherine Martinko will be launching her new book on July 11th at a launch party at Three Sheets Brewing from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

“With the average child spending an unbelievable average of 7.5 hours a day on digital devices, technology has changed almost every aspect of childhood – from how kids spend their time, to what they expect from life, to what we adults expect of them, to what and how they learn and love,” says Martinko.

In her book, she examines the concerning link between the number of hours spent online and the effects on children’s physical, neurological, emotional, and social development and  offers inspiration for parents and caregivers to get young people to look beyond their screens, fully experience the magic of childhood, and enjoy a more peaceful household. [Childhood Unplugged is set to hit bookstores on July 11, 2023.]

Martinko is far from vilifying technology. Rather, she recognizes and respects what technology can and cannot do.

“While some tech may ‘amplify’ real life experiences – online music lessons or video calls with faraway family, for example, the vast majority ‘amputates’ by limiting physical activity, creating anxiety, or damaging self-esteem,” she says. “By making amplification of digital media the goal, amazing things happen such as more time, better relationships, and improved skills.”

Childhood Unplugged breaks down how to take control of screens for kids of all ages, starting with babies and toddlers through to adolescents.

For the youngest ones, Martinko suggests, “Begin as you mean to go on,” with the start being the easiest time to establish a norm. Most importantly, being mindful of the simple act of presence is the biggest gift a parent can give their child. Elementary-aged children are at an expansion and exploration stage of development, open to new experiences and quick to pick up skills. Martinko’s list of activities and strategies to keep them challenged will help draw them from the lure of technology and replace it with the freedom to play.

Adolescents are looking for autonomy, and when not given enough of it, will seek it through screens. By allowing them freedom in the real world, having important conversations, and creating what Martinko refers to as a “leisure plan,” teens will see that there is far more to life than what can be accessed by the touch of a button.

Other topics explored in Childhood Unplugged deal with important issues such as the parent’s role in mirroring healthy use of tech, dealing with other parents and society, resisting excessive screen-based education in our public schools, and much more.

As a mother of three children in Port Elgin (ON), Katherine Martinko knows intimately well the challenges of managing a family and technology. She is a professional writer and editor with a decade of experience in digital news publishing. She was a senior editor and long-time staff writer at Treehugger, a major environmental news site, and a former contributor to Discovery Network’s Parentables website. She continues to write extensively about free-range parenting, outdoor play, cooking, travel, and more. You can find her work at

Childhood Unplugged has captured interest both throughout Canada and in the U.S. In British Columbia, University Professor, Dr. Marianna Brussoni has said that, “Martinko has written a must-read for parents struggling with screen time.”

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Martinko invites everyone to her Book launch and discussion about how to
ditch the devices and bring back the magic of being a kid

Childhood Unplugged will be available starting July 11th online at or from your favourite bookseller or at