Resources for Navigating Screens


Campbell, Cen and Claudia Haines. (2016). Becoming a Media Mentor: A Guide for Working with Children and Families. Chicago: ALA Editions.
This book provides reviews of recommended children’s media, offers suggestions for integrating media resources into library programs, and discusses the issues and benefits of using digital media with children and families at the library.

Guernsey, Lisa and Michael H Levine. (2015). Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Includes an overview of recent media and reading research and teaches adults how to promote children’s literacy across media platforms. Highlights from the book are online.

Kamenetz, Anya. (2018). The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family can Balance Digital Media and Real Life. New York: Public Affairs.
Kamenetz focuses on balancing screen time and offline family time and gives parents tips on how to incorporate technology into family life, highlighting positive aspects of screen time and encouraging parents/caregivers to engage with their children using technology.


Brown, Ari; Shifrin, Donald; and Hill, David. (2015). Beyond ‘Turn It Off’: How To Advise Families on Media Use. AAP News. 36(10): 54-54.
An overview of key messages for parents in the digital media age, such as “media is just another environment” and “parenting has not changed.”

Diamant-Cohen, Betsy and Goldsmith, Annette. (2016). Research Roundup: Digital Media and Young Children. Children and Libraries. 14(2): 38-39.
A review of selected research literature pertaining to strategies for facilitating adult and child conversations about digital media.

Haines, Claudia. (2016). Evaluating Apps and New Media for Young Children: A Rubric.
A detailed evaluation matrix for assessing apps and other digital media for children.  

Hendricks, Clara. (2015).Ten Ways to Help Parents Navigate Technology with Children. Children and Libraries 13(2): 36-37.
Practical tips that librarians can share with parents and other caregivers interested in guiding children’s use of digital media.

Keeler, Rachel. (2016). What Exactly Is a Media Mentor? Children and Libraries 14(1): 28. This brief piece discusses librarians’ roles as media mentors as well as suggestions for librarians looking to engage with children and parents around technology in library settings.

Mills, J. Elizabeth, Romeign-Stout, Emily, Campbell, Cen, and Koester, Amy. (2015). Results from the Young Children, New Media, and Libraries Survey: What Did We Learn? Children and Libraries 13(2): 26. An overview of the main findings from a survey of digital media use in public library children’s programming in the U.S. and Canada.

Zero to Three. (2018). Screen-Use Tips for Parents of Children Under Three. Suggestions for family media planning, compiled by Zero to Three, a U.S. national nonprofit that promotes the healthy development of young children.


Carissa’s App Picks for Kids. Carissa Christner of the Madison (WI) Public Library reviews recommended children’s apps.

Common Sense Media.  An independent nonprofit organization dedicated to providing family education and advocacy in relation to media and to promoting children’s safe technology and media use. 

The Fred Rogers Center. Dedicated to helping children and adults thrive in the digital age, and to ensuring that technology use complements children’s social interactions and play. 

Literacy and Equity in the 21st Century: The Critical Role of Media Mentors. Lisa Guernsey, Director of the Learning Technologies Project at New America, discusses the role of media mentors in guiding the digital media use of young children and suggests ways parents and caregivers can themselves become effective media mentors.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center.An independent research and innovation lab that focuses on educating children in a rapidly evolving media landscape. 

Parenting For a Digital Future. A blog supported by the London School of Economics’ Department of Media and Communications, the Macarthur Foundation, and Connected Learning. It includes a variety of resources addressing the ways in which technology affects the lives of children.

Peer Coaching Media Mentorship Toolkit. Suggestions for librarians interested in familiarizing themselves with digital media, in using media more effectively, and in conversing with parents and children about media. Developed from a grant supported by the Maryland State Library and IMLS.

Tech Together. Tips from the Hennepin County (MN) Library on how to use technology to promote early literacy and language acquisition.


A selection of summary articles and blogposts about negative media effects on children’s mental health, sleep, and brain and language development.

Burkeman, Oliver. (11 Oct 2019). Is Screen Time Damaging For Your Kids? No Study Can Tell You That. The Guardian. A brief newspaper piece that offers parents a commonsense overview of the media effects research. 

Cheung, Celeste. (2016). What Are the Effects of Touchscreens on Toddler Development? This blog post discusses initial findings from a survey of UK parents of toddlers. It showed the majority of toddlers use touchscreen media, and the majority of parents support restricting use for this age group. 

Eyal, Nir. (2018). How Bad Is Tech Use For Kids, Really? The author of Hooked, which focused on the effects of technology use on adults’ daily habits, highlights mixed research findings relating to negative media effects on adolescents. He points to some of the many other contributing factors that should be taken into account when assessing the risks of adolescents’ media use.

Kamenetz, Amy, and Weiner, Cloee. (2019). At Your Wits’ End with a Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This. National Public Radio. June 30. A discussion of the role of parental monitoring of children’s media use, including the ineffectiveness of time-based rules and parental control settings. The reporter concludes that parents should replace monitoring with mentoring and work together as a family to make media consumption decisions.

Klass, Perri. (4 Nov 2019). Screen Use Tied to Children’s Brain Development. New York Times. This article summarizes findings from a brain scan study and suggests that, despite popular media reports to the contrary, screen media use in itself does not damage children’s linguistic development. Instead, it suggests that excessive screen use can displace other activities tied to brain development, which highlights the crucial role that active parenting plays in healthy cognitive development. 

Ruiz, Rebecca. (1 Feb 2019). Screen Time Can Affect Kids, But the Data Is Hard to Measure. Here’s Why. Mashable.  An overview of screen time effects research that emphasizes the evolving nature of our understanding of possible risks and benefits of use.


Navigating Screens was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, IMLS grant #LG-96-17-0220-17. For more information about the Navigating Screens project, visit: