Six new graduates of Indiana University of Pennsylvania can add a book credit to their résumé.
IUP Department of Journalism and Public Relations faculty member Erick Lauber co-authored Your Kid’s World Today, Parenting One Step Ahead with May 2020 journalism and public relations graduate Katie Mest.
Contributors are 2019 journalism and public relations graduates Seth Woolcock and Lily Whorl, 2020 journalism and public relations graduate Desmond Brown, 2020 marketing graduate Morgan Rihn, and current journalism and public relations and fashion merchandising double major Megan Donny.
The book is a compilation of blog posts written by the group posted to DecodingTodaysYouth.com, a blog created by Lauber in 2018. The writers chose topics relevant to parents who grew up in a different world than the one their kids live in.
“From Venmo to vaping, gambling and gaming, we’re covering a variety of topics that today’s kids are immersed in,” Lauber said. “Our goal was to cover a lot of topics, and we hit 53 different areas that we think parents should be aware of. Fortunately, I didn’t need to write it all. My 19- to 22-year-old students really provided first-hand knowledge that this project needed. They’ve lived this stuff.”
Co-author Mest, who currently works as a search engine optimization specialist with Storage Asset Management in York, was the primary student contributor to the blog, but writing wasn’t the only job she had with the project. Mest worked with Lauber throughout the summer of 2020 to design the more than 100-page text using Adobe InDesign.
She says that the book was a “huge learning experience.”
“Many of the skills I used to help put the book together were ones I developed in Dr. Lauber’s classes,” said Mest. “I love writing and editing, so this book created an exciting opportunity to showcase the design skills I had developed through my courses and the writing content we had been publishing on the blog. It was the perfect capstone for everything I had done and learned at IUP.”
“It’s incredibly satisfying to see them produce such a quality product that we are all eager to share,” Lauber said. “People underestimate the complexity and tenacity it takes to tackle and finish a project of this magnitude.”
The book is broken up into short, digestible articles, many only a page or two long. Written for parents from the perspective of young adults, the content is grouped in six categories: software and your kids, culture and media, health science, family, relationships, and gaming and sports. It is designed for parents, caregivers, teachers, and anyone who works with children on a consistent basis.
Lauber, a father of three, recognizes that the world has changed considerably since he grew up in a small, mid-western town. Over the last two decades raising his children with his wife, Betsy, and interacting with his students, he realized how rapidly the world was changing, especially in regard to technology, relationships, children’s activities, and family dynamics. The challenges and stressors were becoming even more difficult, and he wanted to help parents and others raising and caring for children.
“I know this book is relevant and timely to parents,” Lauber said. “We monitor what is popular on the 2020 Parenting blog at DecodingTodaysYouth.com. We’ve been able to select our most viewed content and add some expanded new articles. We have the chance now to give a new audience some insight into what’s happening in their children’s lives.”
Lauber said the book works well as a gift. Some parents simply won’t buy parenting books, but he’s discovered family and friends will.
“I'm grateful Dr. Lauber asked me to be part of this project,” Mest said. “It certainly wasn't a straight path from deciding to write the book to finishing it, but the outcome was worth the trial and error it took to get us there.”
Readers can find the book on Amazon.com.