Friday, June 24, 2011

Familes and Technology

Exchange Every Day Newsletter reports: A recent report from the Sesame Workshop, "Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age, documents how digital technology is changing the rhythm of family life. The report finds that families are in a transition period, one in which parents recognize the importance of technology in their children’s learning and future success, but don’t always grant them access to the newer forms of media transforming their own adult lives. 

The report offers recommendations to bolster the development of media content that can support learning and encourage adult-child interactions:

  • Tailor media platforms for children — Many media platforms are designed for adult use.  Media producers should examine how the features of new platforms (e.g., 3-D, touch screens) relate to children’s developing cognitive, social, and physical capabilities.
  • Investigate co-viewing for new media — Research shows that children learn more from television programs when they watch with a parent.  Co-participation should be explored for video games, e-books, tablet devices, and other media that will encourage adults to engage with children in activities to further enhance their learning.
  • Foster teamwork — Digital media are often faulted for children spending less time socializing face-to-face with peers and family.  Producers should design content that drives participants to interact and play together.
  • Design for healthy development — Adults are concerned that digital media are superseding activities including outdoor exercise, imaginative play, and socializing.  Media producers should look to use technology to get children involved in these foundational activities.

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