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Kids and their parents at the library Parents playing peek-a-boo A parent reading a book with a child Kid playing at the library


a boy playing on a tablet We live in an age of rapidly changing technology. These changes are reshaping almost every aspect of modern life – including how we create, consume, learn, and interact with each other. Contemporary developments in technology or 'new media' also present new opportunities and challenges, especially for young children. Technology can empower and liberate and it can also betray the very essence of childhood. Much depends upon how we use it and what we use it to do.

Learning to navigate this technological world requires thoughtful consideration in order to ensure developmentally appropriate uses for children. We suggest that library staff begin by familiarizing themselves with the media use policy reports developed by the following organizations dedicated to the education, health and well-being of young children – the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC); the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); Common Sense Media; OHS National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement; and Zero To Three.

We also encourage library staff to reflect on the following questions:

  • How does the inclusion of new media add to your library service or program?
  • Who benefits from the inclusion? The child? Parents? Library staff?
  • How is the technology being used in developmentally appropriate ways?
  • How does its use support parent/child engagement and opportunities for co-creation?
  • How has the intended audience and the reason for technology's inclusion been made explicit?
  • How do you discuss parents' needs and concerns about new media use with their children?
  • How is technology's impact being evaluated?