There is a lot of tech in the world today. We’re surrounded by various types of media and screens and devices. In school, at home, at work–literally everywhere. I’ve talked a lot about quality, use, and the like, but I know devices aren’t going to be used strictly as tools of engagement, and that they will sometimes be used for (Dare I say it) entertainment. *GASP* Insert shock and awe here.
It happens. It’s meant to happen. It’s what they were designed for. Kids and adults can’t be learning 24/7. There needs to be that gap, that period when what they learned can be taken in and processed. That doesn’t mean that you or a child need to be staring mindlessly at the tv for 4 hours. It means that allowing the child to watch their favorite show for 30 minutes, or play a game on the iPad while you are in line at the grocery store is ok.
I recently read an article by Carissa Christner entitled “Talking about Our Motivations for Using New Media” which brought up some great points. Asking ourselves, and the children we interact with “Why” they want to use the media, it brings about the ability to have a discussion about what our motivations really are. Is it simply that we’re bored and looking for something to do? It is out of habit? Are we looking up movie times or some other kind of information?
If it’s boredom, then what other activity can be substituted for the screen? Playing outside? Going for the bike ride or a hike? Creating some artwork? Reading a print based book?
Is it out of habit? I know I find myself checking my email and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat repeatedly throughout the day. Do I really need to? I know I don’t have anything really important coming in. Sure the pictures my friends post are awesome and I want to see their own daily adventures, but those images aren’t going anywhere (with the exception of the Snapchat ones…). And yes, Twitter has some amazing discussions happening, and links to cool articles and images and ideas, but sometimes it’s too much and it does boil down to a habit. I’m looking for some way to fill my time, whether because I’m avoiding something else, or because I don’t really have anything else to do
What Carissa Christner mentions is to be real with your motivations, be mindful of your media usage, and attempt to come to an understanding of when and why we’re turning to the screen. It’s an interesting article, and a very quick read. I hope you can take a second and check it out.
And yes, I do kind of see the irony of writing about media usage on a laptop, and sending it through the internet to be read on various other devices. It’s a funny ol’ world. But an entertaining one.
While I am on the subject of entertainment and media, there was a post by Library Makers a while ago about using new media to build relationships. In the program, they used print books (another *gasp*) and book apps that help build intergenerational relationships. The library makers talked about how sometimes grandparents and other family members aren’t always located within physical visiting distance. So, in order for children to routinely see those family members, they Skype with them. During those Skype sessions, the grandparents can read to the children, or they can play games and the like.
In addition, the Library Makers talked about books which foster that kind of relationship. One of them is Tea With Grandpa by Barney Saltzberg. This book is fabulous. If you haven’t read it, run to your nearest library and check it out. I included the link to Amazon so you can read a summary and check out a few pictures, but it’s wonderful. It’s all about a girl who has tea with her grandfather every day. They sing and drink tea and have a grand time, but there’s a twist! (Which I’m not going to ruin….but you can probably guess, based on the topic we’ve been talking about.) Anyway, it’s adorable. Check it out.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts?