Kids and Tech

New Book Encourages Adults to Better Use Tech with Young Children

A new guide book aims to help adults better use technology with young children and assist them when they are using digital products.

“Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors” (Routledge, 2017) features case studies, best practices and helpful hints in chapters written by 25 of the country’s influential early childhood thought leaders.

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The book is edited by Chip Donohue, Ph.D., an early childhood technology expert with the Chicago-based Erikson Institute. He serves as director of the institute’s Technology in Early Childhood Center.

“This book provides new opportunities to empower parents and engage families with digital tools,” Donohue said in a prepared statement. “Take the basic tablet with a camera, video, audio and no apps — we have an incredibly powerful tool for children to document their learning and show adults what they know.”

The book’s “learn more” resources offer additional links to websites, apps, readings and resources. “Family Engagement in the Digital Age” stresses the importance of “media mentors” — adults who have the competence and confidence to guide children safely through the digital age while continually learning how to best use new technology.

“Media mentorship means being intentional about how we use media in front of young children,” Donohue said. “It is also about being curious, excited and willing to learn so that new technology tools can be shared with children as outdated ones become obsolete.”

Some of the hints in the book include:

  • The best app for young children is one that supports the development of a relationship with another human being. Relationships come first; technology comes second. (Cen Campbell and Amy Koester)
  • When children begin to ask their own questions and find their own answers, we are often amazed by their creativity and insight and ability to transform families’ lives in sustained and sustaining ways. (Faith Rogow and Cindy Scheibe)

The paperback version of the 292-page book is $34.95. To learn more, visit the book’s website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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