Kids love to talk – about everything when given the chance. The things they see, the experiences they participate in, the moments that that excite them, and the creations that they proudly created, to name a few. Media content and digital experiences are no exception.
Here’s the thing. Nobody likes to talk over someone else.
Long ago, that voice used to be the character on TV or in a movie and dominated a room. Now, that voice is within arm’s reach via a handheld device, an electronic toy, or an app on a tablet. That voice plays along in our children’s play scenarios, lending a voice to the bus driver on a toy bus or the narrator in an app helping us win the game. That voice becomes part of the conversations we have when we use technology with our children and students.
How do we balance the art of conversation when our technology likes to talk too?
One strategy is to Play It, Pause It, Talk About It…and repeat!
By hitting the pause button (either literally or figuratively), we don’t have to compete with technology, striking a balance between technology use and quality interactions.
Creating these opportunities for high quality interactions…
1. Allows kids to share their thoughts, feelings, reactions, opinions, and ask questions about the content featured within the media or activity.
2. Provides an opportunity for communication partners to respond, elaborate, expand, and clarify on the child’s comments and questions.
3. Allows adults to help the child draw connections between the content featured within the media or activity and the child’s daily life.
4. Creates opportunities for parents, educators, and SLPs to offer direct instruction when needed.
5. Provides quality opportunities for students to practice academic and communication skills.
The possibilities are limitless. Technology is easily seen as a solitary activity that interrupts and impedes social interaction and communicative exchanges. But it doesn't have to be, if we don’t want it to be.
Whether they are deliberately fostered or naturally embedded within the content or activity, taking advantage of these opportunities is a critical step in fostering quality communicative interactions around media.
Next time you’re enjoying your favorite app with your favorite person, look for those little openings. The little moments that exist within any situation, perfect for opening the door to something bigger – you and your influence.
Laugh together, talk together, enjoy the excitement and wonder of technology together.