Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Symposium Spotlight: Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

Key Factor for Use of Screen Time with Young Children: Engagement

Librarians and early literacy providers are often asked for their input about the use of new technology when it comes to young children. It's hard to believe that one word--engagement--can be so valuable in understanding the role of new devices and how to be more comfortable when addressing caregivers' questions and concerns.

I was fortunate enough to attend the 2014 Growing Wisconsin Readers Early Literacy Symposium and hear Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, one of the featured presenters. I was very anxious to hear what he had to say about the role of screen time in the lives of young children during his presentation called "Screens: Success or Sabotage for Schools?"

(Photo Credit: Parker Hoerz)
Dr. Navsaria's expertise, devotion to children, and delightful sense of humor provided everyone with an immediate connection to what he had to share. He has spent many hours wading through all of the scientific data and provided symposium attendees with some very alarming statistics as well as some comforting news.

While we will have to wait for more results in the research taking place on the newest devices, here is what I took away from his presentation. Like everything else, screen time, whether by television, computers, or Smartphones, can be a good thing, as long as a few important key factors are present.

Children learn through observation, so media is powerful and used correctly can enhance social connections. The most valuable tool we have to offer in the learning process is human interaction, so any time spent on devices should be in addition to and not in replacement of live interaction with people.

As educators and caregivers, we need to be sure the content shared with young children is appropriate and enriching.  We can also encourage limiting the amount of time spent with devices, model healthy use of screen time in our own lives, and above all look for positive engagement with the apps and programs children and families are using. 

This post brought to you by Symposium attendee:
Arlene Mabie
Hawkins Area Public Library