Category Archives: tech

Alexa, prepare!

Amazon’s Alexa might dominate the market now, but your child will probably grow up talking to Siri, Google and a host of other smart speakers.

The battle between voice ecosystems is just beginning. One of the biggest differences in the future will be the appearance of ads. (Remember when YouTube was ad free?)

Voice activation is so big, I wonder if students will still need to learn to type?

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Screen time tipping point?

Researchers studying the relationship between young children and their screens continue to trigger emotionally driven conversation between parents.

What is the optimal amount of screen time for a child during the early childhood years?

I believe a key question underlines all the conversations:
When a child sits in front of a screen, what is the screen time replacing?

Too often, the answer is obvious: talking, running, imagining, reading and laughing.

Researchers haven’t nailed a single “optimal” amount of screen time during early childhood, but until then, I surely hope kids are investing their time in play.

Photos allowed

If visiting a museum is on your family vacation list this summer, get ready to smile for the camera.

Although some museums still limit the size of backpacks and loud talking, an increased number are not only allowing visitors to take photos, but encouraging picture taking. Selfies and Instagram have changed museum-going forever.

Some museum conservators are still concerned that cell phone flashes cause artwork to fade. Other museum educators worry that selfie-focused visitors might accidentally bump into a relic or back into a priceless artifact.

But although some museum goers might spend more time setting up the perfect selfie than looking at an artifact, experience-driven visitors are arriving now at even the stuffiest site.

The emerging summer space

With the end of the school year, kids power up for the tech-heavy time of year.

Because digital interactions are woven throughout their relationships, friendships become tech-dependent as face time at school decreases.

I wonder what unexpected trends will streak across social and chat platforms this summer? What new tech toys will emerge as winners?

In the driver’s seat

Children love to decide what happens in “choose your own adventure” books.

Some TV shows will be adding this element to children’s programming. Allowing children to create the narrative for familiar and beloved characters is a sure way to keep kids engaged in the story.

Sharenting

Children of early tech adopters are discovering that very personal stories about them have been available online for years.

Because some parents post information online even before a child is born, that person’s internet identity has been shaped completely without permission. Sharenting, or when a parent uploads information about a child, is triggering serious conversations.

How much veto power should a child have?

Should a parent have free rein to publicly share their child’s image?

Who determines where and how to draw the lines around a child’s digital presence?

These questions are merely at the tip of the iceberg.

How do kids learn best?

A local school district is working through the process of choosing new textbooks, but I’m not convinced they are making a good choice.

Regardless of what text is selected, researchers tell us that kids who have grown up on YouTube appear to learn some subjects more easily from videos and visuals than print-predominant resources.

As an author, I love books. Books are my life. I cherish them, but I think we need to look carefully at what appears to be a shifting preference for receiving information.