I am serving on the ALSC Membership Committee until 2019. As I reach out to new members, one of my roles is to promote the professional benefits of being an ALSC member. Recently I was drawn into an emotional conversation with several parents of children whose ages ranged from 3 to 7 years old on the topic of technology use and their children. Just what are the best practices?
As I listened, I was so grateful for ALSC and the many resources available on Media Mentorship. The three archived webinars (Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth: a Primer; Best Practices for Apps in Storytime; Young Children & Media: Libraries in the Multi-Screen, Multi-touch Digital World), has given me and my staff the confidence to really listen to parents’ concerns and respond from a place filled with knowledge, not judgement. We frequently reassure parents that technology use is personal and a decision each family must decide for themselves. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.
As the conversation progressed, I found their questions were good ones.
- Should they let their child play with their smartphone or tablet, unsupervised, while on car trips?
- How do they find out about good educational apps?
- At what age should they let them have their own smartphone/tablet? First grade? Second grade? Never?
- How can they teach their child to see technology as a helpful tool without the fear of addiction?
- Do family technology contracts really work?
By having Media Mentorship as one of my tools in my toolbelt, I was able to:
- recommend audio books and music to use in the car, even for short trips to the grocery store
- share websites that offered reviews of best apps
- point to what the experts recommend regarding media use in children; and then offer to host a gathering where other parents who have struggled with similar questions and found solutions could share some insight
As I send out a welcoming post card to new ALSC members each month, it reminds me that even the most experienced librarian needs their professional organization to keep them abreast of new and evolving treads. ALSC fills this need.
Louise Capizzo is a member of the ALSC Membership Committee – 2019. She is the Youth Services Manager at the Scarborough Public Library, Scarborough, Maine.