The amount of information and recommendations available when it comes to children and technology can be overwhelming. The Youth Department librarians are committed to connecting parents and educators with the best and most credible information on fostering 21st century literacies and empowering youth to create and share their own digital content online responsibly.
Performing a simple search for kids or homework apps in the Apple or Android stores nets thousands of results with no ranking for quality. But just as our youth librarians can help you find the best books, we can help you find the perfect app! We've read tons of reviews from credible sources and have selected the best of the best to feature on our WVML Recommended Apps tumblr for youth. You can try all these apps at our technology petting zoo – the fleet of tablets we have for you and your kids to use in the Youth Department.
We also offer some tips on sharing apps with your preschooler.
Here are some of our favourite places to find great app reviews:
This list from the American Association of School Librarians includes apps related to science, math, content creation and more.
Created by the non-profit group Common Sense Media, Graphite is a free, online guide to apps and digital learning products compiled by educators.
Did you know that there are recommended amounts of screen time for children of different ages? The Canadian Paediatric Society makes some recommendations about the amount of time young should spend in front of a screen:
- For children under 2 years, screen time (ex: TV, computer, electronic games) is not recommended.
- For children 2-4 years, screen time should be limited to less than 1 hour/day; less is better.
- Kids and teens aged 5-17 should limit recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours/day – lower levels are associated with additional health benefits.
These credible sources also offer some guidelines:
21st Century Literacies
What are twenty-first century literacies? While it certainly involves digital literacy and the ability to successfully navigate, assess and create online content, it has a much wider definition. In a nutshell, a twenty-first century learner is one who:
- has a spirit of inquiry and curiosity
- is able to navigate a variety of formats including print, digital, audio and video
- can engage in personal assessment
The WVML Youth Department uses the American Association of School Library's Standards for the 21st-Century Learner to guide our programs and services aimed at fostering 21st century skills in youth.
21st century literacy learning environments involve activities like inventing, tinkering, crafting/creating/making, exploring and predicting. In short, it's lots of fun!
These resources provide information on fostering various 21st century skills in young people:
Based out of the University of British Columbia, the Digital Tattoo project aims to educate people about the permanency of their online behaviour – just as a tattoo is with you for life, so are the things you post online, even in seemingly private or secure environments. From being a good digital citizen to file sharing to social media, this is a great resource for anyone working with students who independently use the internet.
P21 defines themselves as is an American organization that defines themselves as an "organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. P21 is a broad coaltion made up of education nonprofits, foundations, and businesses working together to make 21st century education a reality for all students." While the content is based in the American education system, the wealth of information on this site is extremely valuable with sections for Parents and Communities and Educators.
This article provides an easy-to-read summary of a major 2013 American study on the challenges of parenting in today's technology-rich world.
The WVML Youth Department aims to align its technology programs and services with the West Vancouver School District (WVSD) to foster technology skills in our community's youth. Learn more about the WVSD's technology plan and curriculum information.
For More Information
These research organizations offer the most current, reliable information and research on young people and technology:
The Cooney Center is an independent research organization that specializes in advancing children's learning through digital media. The information is highly-accessible and the site covers a wide range of topics from early learning and technology , to apps, to learning through digital play.
As their mission states, "The Pew Internet & American Life Project is one of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit 'fact tank' that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world." Check out their teens page for all of their latest research on young people and technology, social media, online privacy and more.
Have a question about technology and your family that isn't answered here? Ask us.
Youth librarians are also able to speak on these topics to parent groups. For more information, see Class Visits.