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How to navigate media technology with your children | Everyday Learning

Apps are a great way to enrich your child's education. The challenge is choosing the right ones.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Everyday Learning is a monthly educational series in partnership with the Sacramento Public Library and sponsored by Fortune School of Education. This month we're exploring the topic of Media Mentorship with your child. 

What parent hasn't been on the receiving end of a child wanting to download a new app? There are so many apps out there, so how do you know which ones are best for your child?  

Caitlin Tormey, resident expert with the Sacramento Public Library, was on the American Library Association's [ALA] Early Learning Digital Media committee, which recognizes apps/tech that facilitates wonder and learning. She says parents and caregivers should engage at the same time their child is engaging with that media. 

Something else to keep in mind, when selecting an app for your child, the media or technology should have parental controls and instructions. Parents should also make sure the skills necessary to use the app are developmentally appropriate for the child.

Diverse settings and characters are also important. Tormey said just like with books, we want children to expand their horizons and their perspectives and apps and digital media can offer that.

New App or Media Guidelines: 

  • Children need guided experiences with technology in order to develop strong digital skills
  • Try out any technology before allowing a child to use it.
  • Engage in media with your child! This is called co-viewing.
  • Technology can inspire wonder and learning.
  • The library can provide digital literacy practices in a safe setting with a wide array of tools.

If the app offers those things, that's when you know you're on the right track!