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Families, Kids, Technology, and Education

Interesting new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center looks at how families with young children are using and dealing with media. It's a great look at how (and how much) parents use media with their kids, what kinds of technology kids are using and have access to, what parents think about kids and technology, they types of rules and protections they put in place around kids' media use, and parents' concerns. One key issue the report flags is a lack of quality information in the market to help parents gauge the value and quality of the growing proliferation of iphone aps, games, and other media, and their appropriateness and safety for kids of different ages--something anyone who knows a lot of parents with young kids has also seen, and seemingly a big market niche for someone who can really figure this stuff out.

Although the report focuses primarily on parents and families, some of the analysis and discussion in the final sections of the report is also relevant to discussions going on in education policy circles today about the use of technology to improve educational productivity. Often, these discussions seem to focus on older students, but it's important not to forget about younger (elementary and even preschool-aged children) when we're talking about these issues. Some of the issues this report notes--What is developmentally appropriate? How does use of technology affect children's social-emotional and physical development?--are also quite relevant to use of technology in educational settings, too.

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