Executive Editor Sierra Filucci shares how parents can help young kids have a great experience with interactive digital media.
- Ingrid Simone, Toca Magazine Executive Editor
Common Sense Media is many parents’ go-to source for unbiased information and trusted advice about kids and media. Toca Magazine asked Sierra Filucci, executive editor for parenting content and distribution at Common Sense, about kids and interactive digital media.
Toca Magazine: The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced it would relax the guidelines that discouraged any screen time for kids under age 2. What do we know about toddlers’ use of interactive digital media?
Sierra: What we know is that kids under 2 learn best through interaction with a loving caregiver. As long as parents and caregivers are actively using age-appropriate interactive digital media with their kids and finding opportunities to engage them as they play, kids under 2 can benefit from the time spent with the game or device. The best bet is for parents to limit the amount of time little kids spend using screen media, make quality, age-appropriate choices and use it together. Great digital activities for toddlers and caregivers include looking at photos of family members and talking about who they are, reading interactive storybooks, video chatting with friends and family, and playing simple games with parents at their side to narrate the process and extend the play offline.
Toca Magazine: What about preschoolers and younger elementary kids? Do we know whether there are any benefits in interactive digital media for kids in this age group?
Sierra: High-quality interactive digital media can definitely benefit kids. The key is for parents to be thoughtful about how and when kids are using digital media and observe how their child reacts to the experience. Some kids get really engaged with digital media and can learn a lot from the experience — especially with a parent’s guidance — while other kids may get frustrated or overwhelmed by interacting with the device. It can also be a challenge for kids and parents to transition off of devices, so parents who have a strategy for how to move on to the next activity will find the experience more enjoyable.
High-quality interactive digital media can definitely benefit kids.
Toca Magazine: What should parents look for when selecting high-quality digital media for young kids?
Sierra: Parents should look for apps that really engage kids in play and ideally build on their interests. … Parents can also look for digital media that encourages offline play and experiences. Things to avoid are lots of advertising, age-inappropriate content or the ability to communicate with strangers.