Shared experience key for digital literacy
In today's world of e-book readers, iPads, laptops and smartphones, apps are competing for your child's attention. We are surrounded by technology in our homes, at work, in our car and our community. Children are growing up with access to these technological devices and learning at a very young age how to operate them. They can use a stylus to draw and color on a tablet, use a touch screen to turn the page on an e-book, work a toy cell phone, and operate a digital camera made for preschoolers.
This new world of interactive media geared toward children and learning has now been named “digital literacy.” The National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC) has reported that digital literacy is “learning tools that, when used in conjunction with other traditional tools and materials, can support the development and learning of your children.” The key with using these new digital components is to make it a shared experience. Parents and teachers need to ask children questions and engage in a conversation about their learning.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity recommends that children under the age of two have no screen time at all while children two and older be exposed to no more than one to two hours per day. Several other child advocacy groups and public health organizations that are concerned with childhood obesity have recommended that passive technology such as television not be used with small children. Several studies conducted on children found a link between increased television time and attention deficit, behavioral problems, irregular sleep patterns and impaired academic performance.
Although we have an endless supply of technological toys for children, we as parents and teachers must continue to encourage children to use their imagination and creativity through child-directed play, and give them plenty of opportunities to explore their mind.
Cornerstone Preschool, 1098 S. 5th Avenue, offers structured academic programs and care for children through pre-Kindergarten. For more information, call 782-1995.