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Children and Technology

  • 1.  Children and Technology

    Posted 10-19-2021 03:56 PM
    I am new to the organization, and I am enrolled in an Instructional Technology class in graduate school. Due to the pandemic, schools had to shift with technology and student usage. Based on your opinion/experience, at what age should children begin using technology in school on a daily basis?

    Zondrah Greene
    Xavier University
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  • 2.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 10-19-2021 09:10 PM

    Hello Zondrah,
    what an interesting topic. Research has shown "Technology" is an effected tool in supporting young children learning and development 3 years and older. In fact I found an article in NAEYC Young Children (May 2012 issue p. 10). The title of the article Technology and Young Children. However, the article does state that educators should limit the use of technology. 

    Edna Brown
    Lancaster, CA

    Edna Brown
    Lancaster CA

  • 3.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 10-22-2021 08:42 AM
    Last year when our district shut down due to covid I was tasked with teaching remotely to 4 year olds. The amount of time was only 30 minutes; it was not technological games, but interacting with me and each other. I was surprised to find they PREFERRED my off-key singing to videos with animation. They wanted to be seen and heard and listened to. I realize technology is a skill that needs to be learned and utilized in our current society; but I feel children spend way too much time with technology when home. I prefer they use the hands on materials and social opportunities when at school.

    Trudy Eby
    Early Literacy Specialist
    School District of Lancaster
    Lancaster PA

  • 4.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 10-21-2021 01:54 PM
    I always begin asking teachers, "What is the purpose of using this technology?" AND "How much time spent using a computer/screen is being taken away from hands-on, active learning?"  Technology in of itself is not "bad" - when it is used intentionally. I think you need to consider how many hours a day your children are with you and if time spent using screens is a effective use of learning time. If it is offered during free choice time, does it take away from their imaginative play or social interactions? 

    Christina Roseli M.Ed
    Quality Care Coach
    Ventura, CA

  • 5.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 11-14-2021 03:36 PM
    I really appreciate your first sentence! It is SO important to remember that technology in itself is not bad but it has to be used intentionally. I am in an Instructional Technology class right now as an undergrad and we often emphasize how technology should not just be used just to use it. There has to be purpose and a plan for how to use it that enhances a student's experience. 

    I just had to comment because this topic really stood out to me!!

    Becky Williams
    Xavier University '23
    3-6 Montessori Education

    Rebecca Williams
    Cincinnati OH

  • 6.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 11-15-2021 07:35 AM
    I would like to add to Becky's message the following: We must never let our focus  wander away from the importance of perceptual-motor skills that young children should master before anything else. Technology changes almost daily. Children's need to develop perceptual-motor skills never changes. At the basis of understanding technology, the child must have the skills learned in the perceptual-motor process.
    Sophie Breytenbach

  • 7.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 10-22-2021 11:08 AM
    HI Zondrah, 

    Challenges exist, but research studies report the benefits of carefully selected developmentally appropriate and interactive technology tools and materials to enhance children's learning and development as effectively as playing and working with non-technology materials.

     I always keep in mind that other external factors, the children's personal relationships or perceived value of the digital materials, or children's ability and experiences with play (play with and without technologies) impact child's digital play For example, a bioecological perspective emphasizes understanding children's development and the child's reciprocal interactions with people, objects, and symbols in a variety of social contexts as well as the interrelation among the various settings or spheres in which the child functions. Children's affordances, access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), as well as family beliefs about technology uses, impact how technologies are used to enhance development and how children socialize with materials and other peers/ teachers.

    The child's experiences with ICT, if repeated and personally relevant, will enhance success with those technologies (time and process, so if they have more time at home with materials, they might play differently at school). Each child's unique personal characteristics, skills, cognition, and limitations due to any special needs play a part in both how the child progresses, what the child learns, and how the child uses technology (person). How children utilize and how often children utilize technologies throughout their life spans, as well as the timing of the cultural climate in history, shape agency in each child's own learning and development.

    I would suggest starting with the guiding resource:

    • National Association for the Education of Young Children & Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. (2012). Technology and interactive media as tools in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, DC: NAEYC; Latrobe, PA: Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College.

    Then, to support Early Educators during the pandemic, supported by Naeyc, we shared the following that are practical applications of high quality interactive and intentional uses of technologies:

    Bales, D., Dalsemer, K., Blagojevic, B., Hartle, L., Chung, N., Gardner, K., MacLeod, K., Rodriguez-Vazquez, J. (September, 2020). Using Technology to Enhance Children's Learning at Home and at School: Building Relationships is Key. Washington DC: NAEYC.   (On this Website.. you'll find in the links and references to the following Webinars; also on )

    NAEYC, Technology and Young Children Interest Forum Webinar "Children and Families as Creators & Storytellers: New Digital Directions for Learning at Home" March 30, 2020. (Organized, provided Platform, Edited, Promoted/ Marketed on Social Media & NAEYC platforms.)

    NAEYC, Technology and Young Children Interest Forum Webinar: "Lessons Learned: Children and Families as Creators & Storytellers, New Digital Directions for Learning at Home" May 18, 2020. (Organized, provided Platform, Edited, Promoted/ Marketed on Social Media & NAEYC platforms)


    Many other resources point to interactive/ dynamic relationships between children and the uses of technologies. Here are some:  


    Other Influential Technology and Children Position Papers on specific issues related to young children's uses and engagement with types of technologies as well as needed teacher professional development, such as those from the TEC center at Erikson - include following:

    • American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media. (2016). Media and young minds. Pediatrics, 138 (5).
    • Bird J, Edwards S. Children learning to use technologies through play: A Digital Play Framework. British Journal of Educational Technology. 2015;46(6):1149-1160. doi:10.1111/bjet.12191.
    • Common Sense Media. (2017). Common sense census: Media use by kids zero to eight. San Francisco, CA: Author.
    • Donohue, C., & Schomburg, R. (2017). Technology and interactive media in early childhood programs: What we've learned from five years of research, policy, and practice. Young Children, 72, (4), 72-78.
    • Early Childhood STEM Working Group (January, 2017). Early STEM matters: Providing high-quality STEM experiences for all young learners. Chicago, ILL: author. Retrieved at
    • Flynn RM, Richert RA. Parents support preschoolers' use of a novel interactive device. Infant and Child Development. 2015;24:624-642. doi:10.1002/icd.1911.
    • Hirsh-Pasek, K., Zosh, J.M., Golinkoff, R.M., Gray, J.H., Robb, M.B., & Kaufman, J. (2015). Putting education in "educational" apps: Lessons from the science of learning. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 16 (1), 3 – 34.
    • Levine, M.H. (April, 2018). What does the research say about tech and kids' learning? Part 1 & 2. New York: NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Street Workshop. .
    • Marsh J, Murris K, Ng'ambi D, et al. Children, technology and play. Billund, DK; The LEGO Foundation: 2020.
    • Marsh J, Plowman L, Yamada-Rice D, Bishop J, Scott F. Digital play: A new classification. Early Years. 2016;36(3):242-253. doi:10.1080/09575146.2016.1167675
    • Moore HL, Adair JK. "I'm just playing iPad": Comparing prekindergarteners' and preservice teachers' social interactions while using tablets for learning. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. 2015;36:362–378. doi:10.1080/10901027.2015.1104763.
    • Paciga, K.A. & Donohue, C. (2017). Technology and interactive media for young children: A whole child approach connecting the vision of Fred Rogers with research and practice. Latrobe, PA: Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. .
    • Plowman L, McPake J, Stephen C. Just picking it up? Young children learning with technology at home. Cambridge Journal of Education. 2008;38(3):303-319.
    • Plowman L. Rethinking context: Digital technologies and children's everyday lives. Children's Geographies. 2016;14(2):190-202. doi:10.1080/14733285.2015.1127326.
    • Puerling, B. (2018). Teaching in the digital age for preschool and kindergarten: Enhancing curriculum with technology. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.
    • Robb, M., Catalano, R., Smith, T., Polojac, S., Figlar, M., Minzenberg, B., Schomburg, R. (2014). Checklist for identifying exemplary uses of technology and interactive media for early learning: The Pennsylvania digital media literacy project.
    • Scott FL, Marsh, JA. Digital literacies in early childhood. In: Noblit GW, Adams N, Beach D, et al., eds. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2018. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.97
    • Shapiro, J. (March 2, 2018). Digital play for global citizens. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
    • Simon, F., & Nemeth, K.N. (2012). Digital decisions: Choosing the right technology tools for early childhood. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House.
    • S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (October, 2016). Early learning and educational technology policy brief. Washington, D.C.: Author. .
    • Wood, Elizabeth, Nuttall, Joce, Edwards, Susan and Grieshaber, Susan 2020. Young children's digital play in early childhood settings: Curriculum, pedagogy and teachers' knowledge. in: O. Erstad Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, I. Pereira, R. Flewitt and B. Kümmerling-Meibauer & I. Pereira (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early ChildhoodUnited Kingdom: Routledge. pp. 214 – 226.
    I hope these help you.  I can't wait to hear more about your Graduate Course and what you are exploring!  Lynn

    Lynn Hartle
    Professor of Education
    The Penn State Univ. Brandywine
    Media PA

  • 8.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 11-15-2021 10:27 AM
    Professor Hartle, thank you so much for sharing these excellent resources that allow us to understand the research and evidence for optimizing the use of technology with young children.

    Pam Gittleman
    Chappaqua NY

  • 9.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 11-15-2021 10:45 AM
    You are so welcome... the Tech and YC Interest Forum has been supporting these DAP initiatives with Technology for young children for over 20 years now.. and we also welcome your involvement with our Interest forum.  

    Lynn Hartle
    Professor of Education
    The Penn State Univ. Brandywine
    Media PA

  • 10.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 12-06-2021 02:48 PM
    Hello everyone, 
    I'm excited to share that the theme in our Winter 2022 issue of Teaching Young Children, coming out in January is "What Is Developmentally Appropriate Technology in Preschool". It was shared a lot of the information in this issue will address some of the questions posed in this thread. Once the issue is out, I'd love to revisit this conversation and see everyone's thoughts! 

    Mary Samour
    Online Community Manager
    National Association for the Education of Young Children

  • 11.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 11-15-2021 04:38 PM
    I have used technology resources in addition to my hands on tactile resources to work on concepts with children as young as two with a lot of success. I think that there are a few things that we need to keep in mind.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the term "technology" can include a lot of things. Generally when we use the term we are talking about screen based activities like an educational game on a tablet, but it can also include things like having digital cameras for the children to use to record the world around them, and then a computer where children can look at and discuss the images that they captured. It can also include using a digital scale to weigh objects as you talk about heavy and light (which also leads to the discuss more/less and greater than/less than as you look at the different numbers).

    The second thing to keep in mind is that we need to tailor the materials we use to the children we are working with. I try to use a variety of materials with all of the children I work with, but I often find that different children respond better to different materials. I find this especially true with technology. There are certain children that make connections better when they are working with physical materials, and others that make better connections when we are working on a concept in one of the learning apps. Likewise some kids will respond to a particular app better than a different one. 

    The third thing that I think we need to remember is that there is a big deference between a child using a technology resource like learning apps on his/her own in an isolated way, and the child and teacher/parent sitting together while the child works on a learning app or other technology resource. I will use apps in my mix of materials to reinforce academic skills, but I sit with the child and we talk about what she/he is doing. I coach and scaffold through the activity just as I would with tactile materials. The relationship component of learning is very important. When an adult is part of the experience of using the tool it becomes even more powerful, and I think can change what would be developmentally appropriate.

    I think that the children we work with are exposed to a ton of technology. I think that we, as early childhood professionals, have the opportunity to help children have powerful experiences learning to use, and learning from technology resources in addition to the other materials we teach children to use and use to help children learn.

    Diane Coone
    Child Strategies Preschool
    Bountiful UT

  • 12.  RE: Children and Technology

    Posted 11-22-2021 04:59 AM
    Good question
    In the Arab countries, education has shifted to distance education due to the epidemic so far
    Kindergarten and primary schools are still remotely providing lessons for children

    I am a mother and I have children in the first and third grades, so I resorted to buying iPads so that they could attend the online lesson
    The child sits from 5-6 hours on the tablet to follow lessons and do homework
    Now the child has replaced active games and swings with electronic games
    Yes, it negatively and positively affects the child
    positively, learns the language of the times, which is technology
    Negatively, he spent most of his time on the device, so his movement and activity decreased.

    yasmin Aljouf