Technology and Young Children--NAEYC Speaks Out

I have long understood that, even though I am pretty decent with computers, I am very technologically delayed in comparison to my sons.  If I need music put on my ipod, I call them.  It seems so intuitive to them, where I struggle for hours to remember how to do it.  So, I get it.  They were born in a different world than I was and just "get" things that I don't.

But, I hit a new level of humble the other day.  While watching my son's hockey game, I sat with his teammate's 17-month-old brother.  He grabbed his mom's iphone, scrolled through the screens to find his game, started it up and happily played this electronic game.  All of this while his mom laughed about talking her dad through where to find the latest application he had loaded to his phone.  We both agreed that we needed to just send little dude to his grandpa to help him with his phone.

I've been shaking my head over this for a few days.  Then I see that NAEYC just released a bold position statement on technology and interactive media for programs serving young children. 

Their position has a firm grasp on where we are as a society and technology's role in our world.  It is a much more courageous position than the simplistic screen time = evil.  In a nutshell, they state that this technology is here to stay; it's not some sort of passing fad that we can ignore for a while and it will go away.  Given this new understanding, one of our roles as educators is to teach children how to be good digital citizens "through an understanding of the use, abuse, and misuse of technology as well as the norms of appropriate, responsible, and ethical behaviors related to online rights, roles, identity, safety, security, and communication". 

The NAEYC has clearly set forth a position that addresses the role of technology within their guiding principle that classroom activities, whatever they may be, are developmentally appropriate and used purposefully by well-educated professionals.  Appropriate uses of technology in a program serving young children will be "active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering; give the child control; provide adaptive scaffolds to ease the accom­plishment of tasks; and are used as one of many options to support children’s learning". As educators, it is our responsibility to be knowledgeable about the technology available to enhance children's learning and to purposefully plan uses of that technology to support our learning objectives for each child in our care.

To read the entire position statement, click




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