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Screen Time for Children

Angie Andre
Angie Andre, Children’s Librarian         Tredyffrin Public Library

 

Angie Andre

Kids want them, adults love them, and teenagers can’t live without them, our devices. Smartphones, ipads, touchscreens are everywhere. What do you think about giving a young child a device for educational purposes? How young is too young?

We recently acquired Launchpads at our library. We will be checking them out to patrons. Launchpads are devices with a touclaunchpadhscreen that are preloaded with thematic educational games.  They cost on average $100. For more details visit http://playaway.com/launchpad/

You cannot access the internet and you cannot add or delete from this device.  Should we encourage parents and caregivers of our youngest patrons to check out these devices?

You can find research supporting both sides of the screen time debate. Some say ereaders can help improve reading skills with reluctant readers.  If you have a child with special needs you can customize font size to help the child read.  Educational games on tablets are mobile and fun for children. Sometimes children don’t realize they are learning when the games are interactive and fun.

What about a group of children sitting together, heads down, fingers tapping, so engaged in their screens that they don’t communicate with each other? Young children are learning how to be social and get along with others in the world. This is a time for them to learn to talk and listen. Are children learning and practicing these important social skills when they are staring at a screen?

PA Forward Logo of Five Literacies

I know I have asked a lot of questions in this article. I feel like there are still many questions to be asked and answered. Moderation is a great suggestion when it comes to screen time with children.  Balancing screen time with social time supports Civic and Social Literacy. We are supporting Information Literacy by sharing this technology with our children. Teach them about moderation, balancing screen time with social time and they will reap the benefits.

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