Carmel Clay Schools counselor’s book for kids examines impact of technology


The inspiration for Michelle Janson to write the children’s book, “The ‘Tangles,” was two-fold: the culmination of her last 13 years as a school counselor and observations of her own family’s technology usage.

“During this time, I’ve observed many of our children and adolescents learning both the beauty and dangers of technology,” said Janson, a counselor at Clay Middle School. “Though much good comes with tech use, researchers have observed a major spike in device-related mental health and social problems within the school, home and community. This is especially true in regard to social media use.”


As a school counselor, Janson has seen issues with technology usage and social media grow at an alarming rate.

“So, my hope for the book was to address these growing concerns in a unique and non-judgmental way,” she said.

The book follows a class field trip to Earth by students from outer space. During their time on Earth, they learn that humans have been overtaken by a mysterious presence that seems to be ‘tangling’ their communication.

Janson started writing the book in 2016, mostly in the evenings and whenever she had free time. She said the goal of “The ‘Tangles” is to build awareness and provide perspective on how modern technology affects human interaction.

‘The ‘Tangles’ explores the impact of technology. (Image courtesy of Michelle Janson)

“Published research indicates our increased use of technology can negatively impact our mental health and social connections. With this in mind, the book is not to instill guilt or present technology as being bad,” Janson said. “Instead, the primary goal is to simply aid all of us in building awareness and mindfulness regarding how, when and why we are using the many technological devices that are available.”

Janson said she has received positive feedback on the book.

“People have been very kind and supportive of the book as it has slowly rolled out, and I simply couldn’t be more grateful. The book release came at a unique time, in January 2020,” Janson said. “I launched a book that encouraged stepping back from technology right as the world was getting ready to shut down and take on an unprecedented level of technology reliance. As the world has steadily reopened, I am truly humbled by the fact that people are seeing and sharing the book.”

“The ‘Tangles” is available at Barnes & Noble, Walmart and Amazon. A portion of the profits will be donated to First Book, a nonprofit providing equal access to quality education for children in need by providing books and other resources.


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