How do you decide what apps and technology are appropriate for your child? It can be hard to decide what apps you want to allow, and which ones you’d rather avoid. If you’re having a hard time deciding if an app (or any other technology) is right for your child, evaluate it using the Three C’s from Tap Click Read. Imagine that each app starts out with 0 points. For all the positive things you can list, add one or two points. For all the negative things you find, subtract one or two points. Here’s what to look at:
- Content. Think about the overall content of the app. Look for apps that show your child the types of skills or behaviors you want to emphasize, or help develop language and social skills. Is the app scary or violent? Take points off your grade. Does the app encourage off-screen comments, questions, play, creation, or exploration? Add points to your grade.
- Context. Think about when your child is using the app. Does your child use a device without supervision? That’s most likely points off the grade. Are you talking about what you are playing? Those are points added. Context also includes how you are modeling technology behaviors. If you’re distracted and missing cues from your child, take points away. If you’re playing with your child while they’re using technology, add points.
- Child. Each child is unique, so think about what your child needs. This is a great way to add points to an app’s grade. Is the app helping your child develop a specific skill? Does your child act on what he or she sees in the app, like asking questions? Those are positive points. Look for apps that are encouraging your child’s off-screen experiences, and decide which technologies are helping and which aren’t. If technology doesn’t help your child, remove it.
Once you’ve scored your app, what does it mean? If your app has a negative rating, it’s probably not the best choice for your child. Look for apps that encourage more positive interactions with parents and other adults. If your app has a positive number, it’s a good indication that you’re choosing apps that work well for your child. The higher the number, the more aware you are of how that app is impacting your child’s development. Also, you’re more likely to be modeling positive technology behaviors with your own devices.
If you’re not sure where you fall on the list, check out the full quiz on using digital technology here. You can also find great apps to share at our App Time Digital Storytimes. Join us at Haggard Library on Tuesdays at 11:15 AM, or at Davis Library on Wednesdays at 11 AM.