Helpful Hints for Overcoming Digital Distractions

By Emily William, Librarian at Shanghai Community International School - Pudong Campus

As parents, most of us love to see our child absorbed in a book. We know our kids have endless focus when it comes to their digital devices, but we wonder how to get them to choose quality literature over digital entertainment. As a librarian, I have the benefit of watching children happily interact with books all day. What I see is that when the environment is right for children to choose books over technology, they will do so. So how do we create that environment at home?

First, physical books are still an essential part of learning to love reading. Kids need opportunities to pick up books and handle them for themselves. They also need to be able to choose reading without having to weigh it against playing video games or a watching a movie. Most of us have a hard time choosing reading over the easy entertainment of a digital device, so if we want kids to choose reading we need to make that choice as easy as possible. In my own house, I try to have books in as many places as possible. I keep books in my bag, in the car and in every room of the house so I can seize a moment for reading if it arises. Although it doesn’t always work, my kids often surprise me by asking me to read and reread their favorites.

My other main strategy, both in my library and with my own children, is modeling my love of reading. I read aloud as much as possible and I always try to explain why I am excited about a book. I want kids to understand how incredibly fun a good book can be. I recommend to parents that they think back to their favorite picture books and chapter books and read those to their kids. Sharing meaningful reading experiences is a great way to help kids understand the difference between reading and digital entertainment.

My final approach is a willingness to experiment with the right balance between technology and reading. Technology is continually evolving and both adults and kids have to face the challenges of modern day digital distractions. There aren’t any easy answers to these challenges and what works today may not work tomorrow. With this knowledge in mind, I set out to experiment with how to make reading a good book a part of every day.

Original Link: Helpful Hints for Overcoming Digital Distractions (Source: Shanghai Daily | March 28, 2017, Tuesday)