A recent New York Times article points to a glaring inconsistency between the amount of “screen time” toddlers have using tablets, phones and computers – and the advice of many early years specialists.
In fact, there are several apps specifically developed for (and enjoyed by) two-year-olds and even one-year-olds, yet the official guidance from the American Paediatric Association states that:
“Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age two.”
So why is the age of two a milestone that matters?
If we look at the amount of time a child has to enjoy being a child, it works out to something like 6,753 days, or 157,680 hours. Every hour of childhood is important, as is every second. Who knew, but milliseconds seem to matter as well. Engaging a child successfully in an interactive experience can boil down to what happens within a fraction of a second.
While working in the children’s interactive industry for many years, there’s one question I’m asked more than any other ...
Enhanced ebooks have been a cause of much excitement over the past few years -- and with good reason. One of the things that an ebook can do that a paper-and-ink book can't is to add embedded video and sound....
Today, we here at Little eLit are happy to release the first chapter of our book, Young Children, New Media, and Libraries. This chapter, entitled “New Media in Youth Librarianship,” was written by Cen Campbell and myself. It’s available by clicking here, or on the image below.
Carisa Kluver's insight:
The first chapter of our @LittleeLit self-published book for Librarians & Educators - expect a new chapter each month and the full book available for download by the summer of 2015!
And if you're trying to choose an app for your child?
It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to strengthen your child's skills with multiplication...figure that out first. Because it's very easy to get distracted by the bells and whistles and interaction in an app. And forget why you got there in the first place.
That's Clarisa Kluver (seen as @iPad _storytime on Twitter), in a "Family Confidential" video with Annie Fox. It was pointed out to us by FutureBook community member (and apps man) Dave Neal, following our #FutureChat on children's apps Friday. And while Kluver -- who also joined us Friday -- isn't limited in her comments to reading or book apps, a lot of what she's saying touches on some of the fundamental issues in the space. It's some of those issues -- as flagged during The Bookseller's recent Children's Conference #kidsconf14 -- that will be talked about at Frankfurt Book Fair this week. For many publishers, the question of apps has become a confused one, a kind of sideline in terms of questionable sales and controversial learning values.
I may only have arrived in London two weeks ago, but I couldn’t resist the temptation, yesterday, to crawl out from under the boxes to attend The Bookseller’s Children’s Conference 2014. I am so glad I did!
What a wonderful opportunity to cross paths with the few people I already know in the UK Kidlit world – shout out to you, Lucy Coats – as well as to make the acquaintance of so many other fellow writers and publishers. Most importantly, it provided me a quick lesson in all the latest news and updates in the UK world of creating awesome content for children. Here’s a summary of what I learned:
Author and critic Nicolette Jones says she’s never seen a picture-book app doing something a book can’t do better. By Stuart Dredge
Carisa Kluver's insight:
Thoughtful response from Stuart Dredge … "The inherent assumption here – that kids can’t do both over the course of their week, with good parenting the key to ensuring screen-jabbing doesn’t squeeze out reading – really bugs me. But I see where the view comes from: the importance of reading, as well as that one-on-one time with a parent that often comes with it."
You're going to love this exclusive sneak peek at an excerpt from the premiere episode of KidLit TV's new talk show hosted by Rocco Staino.
Rocco Staino is the Director of Empire State Center for the Book. He is also a Contributing Editor at School Library Journal, and a Contributing Writer at The Huffington Post––and now he's with KidLit TV!
Tune in here to our KidLit TV YouTube channel and at our site: http://www.KidLit.TV which launches this fall.
The KLTV YouTube Channel and website will showcase an extensive collection of videos for creators, consumers, and industry insiders in the world of children's literature, aka KidLit!
What if families had a trusted, well-informed community partner, or media mentor, that they could talk to about their child’s media use?
There is a lot of research and professional discussion underway about the use of digital media with young children, but families often don’t have access to those resources, don’t know they exist or don’t know how to interpret them. That’s where a local community partner, or media mentor, comes in. A media mentor is someone in the community who can give families the support they need to make their own healthy media decisions.
I’m listening to the audio version my first book, Burning the Map. Which means, I’m listening to a talented actor, Piper Goodeve, inhabit the voice and the soul of Casey Evers, a character I wrote long ago, a character I wasn’t sure I’d see (or hear) from again. It’s even more gratifying because I produced the audiobook.
For the past 18 months, I’ve had the opportunity to edit a new book, “Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning.”
Its authors were inspired by the legacy of Fred Rogers and his approach to the technology of his day. As he wrote in 1994,
"No matter how helpful computers are as tools (and of course they can be very helpful tools), they don’t begin to compare in significance to the teacher-child relationship, which is human and mutual. A computer can help you learn to spell HUG, but it can never know the risk or the joy of actually giving or receiving one."
Like Fred, the authors consider what is best for the child’s development and learning. And like Fred they share a commitment to using technology as a tool to support relationships, social-emotional development, and prosocial behaviors.
As the developer of an Alice title, David was sensitive to a story about a book app version of Alice to recently make a splash in technology news. Just over two weeks ago, on September 29, 2014, the website VentureBeat covered a ‘story’ about an Alice in Wonderland app that claimed to be making $70,000 a week from iTunes downloads. The journalist, Tom Cheredar, was responsive to the onslaught of developers and other industry insiders who immediately saw this claim as highly suspect. Upon further investigation, VentureBeat issued an ‘update’ at the top of the article that stated:
VentureBeat has learned that the revenue figure ($70,000 for the final week of August 2014) provided by The Alice App’s creator was not accurate, and cannot be independently verified. We apologize, and have added a note to the corresponding paragraph where revenue for The Alice App is first mentioned.
In 2012, the phrase “Digital Wild West” was used as a catch-all to describe the unregulated and chaotic status of the children’s app landscape. Although the field is still characterized by relatively few rules and low “survival rate,” several efforts have been made to help parents and educators separate the good from the bad, or as the Children’s Technology Review calls it, “dust from magic.”
Last week at the Bookseller’s Annual Children’s Conference, one bit of commentary on the picture book app sent dozens of messages to my assorted in-boxes. The critic, Nicolette Jones (a children’s book reviewer for London’s Sunday Times) was reported as saying,
“What I have more reservations about, although I see some publishers working very hard at it, are the kind of apps that replace a book. Picture book apps. I’ve never seen a picture book-app that does something that a book doesn’t do better.”
First of all, I wasn’t there nor have I spoken to Ms. Jones directly. I always assume comments like this might have some additional context. I’ve been misquoted out-of-context many times and cannot help but empathize with the challenging role she fills as a cultural critic. However, I also have heard very similar and wrong-headed assertions from many people who think they understand every aspect of the picture book and are satisfied with this format as it is, thank you very much.
Most of the businesses on Main Street in Roanoke, Alabama, are shuttered. Through the windows of Phillips Brothers Hardware and Steve’s Downtown Barber Shop you can see upturned chairs and faded Crimson Tide posters. The Martin Theatre remains a brick shell from the fire that gutted it in 1980, before a run of Friday the 13th. There’s a newer commercial strip on the highway that bypasses this town of 6,000, but also a sense that Roanoke has never fully revived since the Handley textile mill closed four decades ago.
But perhaps the biggest area of debate coming out of the Children's Conference was around the future of the book app. It has long-fascinated me that despite the huge growth of the Apple App Store, traditional book publishers have struggled to find a way of building sustainable app-based businesses. As The Bookseller's children's editor Charlotte Eyre has written recently, children's publishers have become particularly wary and many have simply vacated the space.
Nicolette said that she had “reservations” about picture book apps, on the basis that the printed book “does it better”, and went on to say that the “technology of the app interferes with the story”. She worried that “interactivity in apps replaces the space in children’s imagination”, and that “the app doesn’t go through the adult”. She said that the only apps she’d found successful were apps like the Touchpress Warhorse app, and Hot Key’s Maggot Moon app which provided additional material around each book, which, in itself, remains unaffected by the surrounding multimedia or animation material.
Right now we are facing a game-changing moment in publishing, where publication is possible for those who might never have achieved it before, an opportunity created by the rise of digital publishing. As an author I am excited by the opportunities that the digital medium presents and keen to find new ways to entertain and engage readers. Yet it’s also true that one of the greatest challenges facing authors today is how to write for the digital age.