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Melissa Depper's picture

Screen Time Book Club: Chapter 12

YIKES, I am so sorry! I posted this last Book Club post in the Children & Tech Committee space on Tuesday and NOT in the Interest Group space. I apologize!

Here's this week's question:

All right! Here we are at the last week of book club discussions! Thank you all so much for following along.

The last chapter we chose to look at together is Chapter 12: How Do Real Families Make Smart Media Choices? Lisa shares some of the strategies used by the families she interviewed, in terms of how they set time limits, decide when to turn the TV on (or share tablet time), paying attention to and limiting certain media content, steering around commericials & consumerism, where they put screens in the home, and turning off background TV.

There are a lot of real-world strategies out there and a lot of real-world concerns, both from parents and caregivers and librarians--you can see them in the comments of our discussions over the last month or so. You can see them in Betsy Bird's post this week: iPad Use and Babies: Throwing a Wrench in the Works.

So my last question for us is simple: How do librarians help families make smart media choices? We've actually been talking about this all along, but I want to focus on it again. What do YOU say about media in your conversations with families? How does YOUR library position itself as a source of reliable information? How proactive are you--very or not at all--in bringing up media decisions with the families in your community?

Are there any strategies that have helped you as you embrace--either enthusiastically or reluctantly--this role as expert? What tech and media-based programs and services have been the most popular with your families?

Let us know!

Andrea Vernola's picture

I try to help families make smart media choices by giving them information when they ask. This sounds like a no-brainer but this requires being informed enough to give them the information. So I work to make sure that I know about new tech and that I'm ready to talk about it with them, as I would any book (or movie or music--media my library has long circulated). 

Our community is not one that is heavily focused on tech for kids. I don't think our schools are planning to provide any tablets in the near future. The focus here is first and foremost on reading, literacy, and creating a college-going culture. As a library, we rightly align our goals with the needs of the community. So our focus is heavily on early literacy, school age literacy, partnerships, and community building. Where tech can help us achieve those goals, we will use it. But it is not a stronger emphasis than other more traditional services. We do make a major effort to have our staff be trained and able to help patrons access technology and we offer innovative tech services, but we continue to also offer the non-tech programs that have always worked and that our community continues to want and need. 

Our most popular tech and media-based programs and services would be our AWE computers and just regular computer usage. We will soon be offering iPads to use in house. The kids iPads will have games for kids on them and the adult iPads will have newspapers, magazines, and streaming services. We are also opening a digital lab very soon, where kids, teens, and adults can utilize post-production and digitization technology to learn and create. I expect these to be popular services. We have so much going on at all 5 of our locations and have no plans to reduce our already successful programs and services. 

I think we could be more proactive as a library at engaging people around the topic of media choices for kids and families. I think more parents and caregivers would welcome this information from us than we realize and I hope to do more in this area. 

 

Andrea Vernola's picture

I try to help families make smart media choices by giving them information when they ask. This sounds like a no-brainer but this requires being informed enough to give them the information. So I work to make sure that I know about new tech and that I'm ready to talk about it with them, as I would any book (or movie or music--media my library has long circulated). 

Our community is not one that is heavily focused on tech for kids. I don't think our schools are planning to provide any tablets in the near future. The focus here is first and foremost on reading, literacy, and creating a college-going culture. As a library, we rightly align our goals with the needs of the community. So our focus is heavily on early literacy, school age literacy, partnerships, and community building. Where tech can help us achieve those goals, we will use it. But it is not a stronger emphasis than other more traditional services. We do make a major effort to have our staff be trained and able to help patrons access technology and we offer innovative tech services, but we continue to also offer the non-tech programs that have always worked and that our community continues to want and need. 

Our most popular tech and media-based programs and services would be our AWE computers and just regular computer usage. We will soon be offering iPads to use in house. The kids iPads will have games for kids on them and the adult iPads will have newspapers, magazines, and streaming services. We are also opening a digital lab very soon, where kids, teens, and adults can utilize post-production and digitization technology to learn and create. I expect these to be popular services. We have so much going on at all 5 of our locations and have no plans to reduce our already successful programs and services. 

I think we could be more proactive as a library at engaging people around the topic of media choices for kids and families. I think more parents and caregivers would welcome this information from us than we realize and I hope to do more in this area. 

 

Kathy Kleckner's picture

If we think of media in the broad sense (and I think it is very useful if we do), then thousands of children's librarians are providing fabulous, proactive support to young children and families in this digital age. I think  the fact that many children are getting way too much screen-time, are using screen-time in unhealthy ways and experiencing a lot of isolation because of tech use by adults should be our primary concern.  

With this in mind, providing support and encouragement for activities using real-world materials screen-free activities and human interaction is the way for librarians to bring extremely valuable services to today's families. We are providing a much-needed, rich context for children to balance screen-time.  This is the critical role we are playing in the digital age.

I have read Children Moving are Children Learning by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy. This is a fantastic guide not only to child development and ideas for programming but also for adults sharing in the joys of childhood.  How sad and anemic screen-time uses are by comparison.  The authors do offer advice on screen-time, referencing Guernsey's book. I think it might be a good model for how we can talk to parents about screen time specifically.