In the Digital Age, Book Empowers Adults to Better Use Technology with Young Children

A first-of-its-kind guide to help adults better use technology with children was released today. Edited by Erikson Institute’s internationally recognized early childhood technology expert Chip Donohue, Ph.D., the book helps adults who work with children empower families to use new tools so they can gain critical digital literacy skills.

“This book provides new opportunities to empower parents and engage families with digital tools,” said Dr. Dohohue, director of Erikson Institute’s Technology in Early Childhood Center. “Take the basic tablet with a camera, video, audio and no apps—we have an incredibly powerful tool for children to document their learning and show adults what they know.”

Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors (Routledge, 2017) features case studies, best practices and helpful hints in chapters written by 25 of the country’s influential early childhood thought leaders. The “learn more” resources offer additional links to websites, apps, readings and resources.

The book stresses the importance of “media mentors”—adults who have the competence and confidence to guide children safely through the digital age while continually learning how to best use new technology.

“Media mentorship means being intentional about how we use media in front of young children,” he said. “It is also about being curious, excited and willing to learn so that new technology tools can be shared with children as outdated ones become obsolete.”

Among helpful hints shared in the book are:

  • The best app for young children is one that supports the development of a relationship with another human being. Relationships comes first, technology comes second. –Cen Campbell & Amy Koester
  • When children begin to ask their own questions—and find their own answers—we are often amazed by their creativity and insight and ability to transform families’ lives in sustained and sustaining ways. –Faith Rogow & Cyndy Scheibe
  • Don’t be afraid to play. Technology and media are changing, many of the shows and characters are different, and the games and apps are constantly evolving. For us to know about these and share with children in their digital childhoods we have to engage with children as they watch and play. –Kate Highfield

Learn more about the book here.