January 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Kids and Apps: A New Parent’s Guide from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center



Screen from “Family Time with Apps” (Joan Ganz Cooney Center) illus. by Marybeth Nelson.

Many parents have concerns about digital media’s educational value for children and wonder about best practices and setting limits. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a research lab focusing on children, digital media, and education, has been exploring those questions for years and has published a number of related studies on its website.

Now, a new Cooney Center guide for parents, “Family Time with Apps: A Guide to Using Apps with Your Kids” (free on iBooks; released December 4), discusses the ways that apps can be used to foster communication and “support children’s healthy development” and learning while turning “screen time into family time.”

While encouraging adults to trust their “old-fashioned instincts,” the 20-page booklet in comic book format asks parents to consider the type of experiences they are looking for when purchasing apps. The guide also delivers research findings and suggestions for family activities, from creating photo albums to bird watching with apps. In addition, the iBook provides answers to parents’ frequently asked, nagging questions and offers recommendations and resources for locating quality products.

This introduction to this practical, reassuring primer cites the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2013 recommendations on screen time, and closes with a note on a 2012 joint position statement about digital media and learning, issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College.

Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.



  1. As I write this comment I am downloading a copy of this book. I believe that anything that hepls chioldren learn to read is great.
    this introduces the children to proper use of technology