The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center have compiled some examples on how to use technology tools and interactive media in age-appropriate, intentional ways. Although these examples are meant for early childhood programs, they are also relevant for families. Here are a few:
- Use a digital camera or computer to show images and video of family, friends, animals, or events to children, especially when children might not otherwise have exposure to them.
- When reading an e-book, treat the experience the same as if you were using a print book: put the child in your lap, point to objects on screen, talk with the child, and introduce new vocabulary.
- Allow children to play with play versions of technology or old computers or cellphones that don’t work anymore (with the batteries removed).
- Video chat with a loved one.
For Infants and Toddlers in the Digital Age: Time with Adults Still Matters Most reminds us that for very young children digital media that encourages warm, language-rich interaction between children and adults is most effective. “While we wait for additional research, parents should remember that the most important part of the experience is not the technology itself, but the warmth and support of an adult play-partner.”