https://www.flickr.com/photos/henriksent/6774634275 photo by Tia Henriksen.
The other day my three year old told me that he wanted to use my iPad. After scooping myself up off the floor (my surprise was so great that I had stumbled a little) I proceeded to spend some time thinking about this issue. Everywhere I go (especially when I am traveling) I see children (oftentimes very young children) using their parents' smartphones or tablets. I can definitely see the appeal. They are bright, portable, they light up and they let one play games or watch movies or downloadable picture books. According to a 2014 study by a San Francisco-based company called Common Sense Media a whopping 38% of babies under the age of 2 use tablets or smartphones (up from 10% in 2011). Wow! 38%? Really?
Should we be worried about this trend at all? What is a conscientious parent to do? Well, first I think we should take a look at the whole picture. As with many things, I think moderation may be the key. Here are some basics to keep in mind: Children and parents need to write together, read together, play together, sing together and talk together. Can technology be part ot those activities? Certainly, as long as parent and child are accessing it, wait for it, together.
Fortunately, the library offers traditional ways (story times and other events) along with some newer ways to for parents/caregivers to do all of those activities with their children. I am delighted with the library's newly revamped web site and all that it offers for families. Downloadable picture books such as "Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa" by Dewdney and "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Daywalt can easily be downloaded from krl.org and enjoyed at the touch of a button. You can access our full list of titles by going to krl.org, click on download, then ebooks and audiobooks, and finally, "Library for Kids."
Want to take a different path to technology with your little one? Check out http://littleelit.com/category/early-literacy/ which features a fab slide show called "iPad Apps and Your Pre-Reader" by libarian Emily Lloyd. Lloyd reviews multiple free apps which support writing, reading, playing, singing and talking together. As a parent I also appreciate the fact that this site offers some helpful things to look for when choosing apps for your child to use on your iPad.
So, will I let my little guy use my iPad? Probably not for a while yet. I am a little old fashioned, after all. However, I will be better equipped when he does start to use my iPad because of krl.org.