Hello, all!  In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new set of guidelines for children’s media use.  Along with these recommendations, the AAP also launched a Family Media Plan tool on their Healthy Children website.  This planner is designed to help parents and caregivers talk with their children about how to use technology in responsible, creative, and age-appropriate ways.  It’s also a great resource for librarians to share with their patrons and incorporate into their practice.

AAP Family Media Use Planner

Available in Spanish and English, the planner prompts families to identify screen-free zones within the home as well as screen-free times and device curfews for each child under the age of eighteen.  In addition to providing a platform for families to discuss the more cut and dry elements of their tech usage, like internet safety and etiquette, the Family Media Use Planner also uses prompts to facilitate a dialogue about media mindfulness.

The AAP encourages parents and caregivers to have discussions with their children about how to balance screen time with other favorite activities, how to make informed decisions about media consumption, and how to be a good digital citizen.  By opening up a dialogue with kids about their use of media, parents and caregivers (and librarians!) can help them to make more informed choices and engage in critical self-reflection.  Children who actively learn how to be thoughtful about the way they participate in our media culture practice the skills and awareness they need to develop into mindful adults.  

If you have children in your family or work with kids in any capacity, consider taking some time to familiarize yourself with the AAP’s media guidelines.  You may find that the long holiday weekend is the perfect time to use the Family Media Plan to set achievable goals and intentions for your family or the children you serve.

Looking for more resources?  Here are a few suggestions…

  • For Librarians
    • Consider adding resources like Tumblebooks (animated/talking ebooks) or Beanstack (customized reader’s advisory) to your library’s digital offerings.
    • Get inspired by the STEM and mindfulness themes other librarians are using in their programming and brainstorm your own ideas.
    • Incorporate Media Mentorship into your work with children and families.

This blog post was written by Elizabeth Myers.  She is a first-year residential MLIS student interested in youth librarianship and issues of information access.

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