Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Children at home during COVID-19 are facing lessons and challenges their parents couldn’t even imagine. Most children are having at least some amount of screen time every day, so learning how to navigate digital and online environments is an essential skill that will be useful throughout their lives.
Media literacy is the ability to identify different types of online media and communications, and effectively understand the message being conveyed. This selection of children’s books provides a fun way to teach children how to think critically and become informed consumers of online media.
1. “The Very Inappropriate Word” by Jim Tobin and Dave Coverly
No matter the age or generation they’re born in, children are inevitably exposed to bad words at some point. While typically this might have come from older siblings or at the playground, the Internet provides a new place for children to come into contact with expletives. The book’s protagonist Michael loves to learn and collect new words. When one day he learns a new ‘inappropriate’ word he decides to use it at school. “The Very Inappropriate Word” provides a perfect tool to start a conversation about how words can affect people both online and offline, and encourages children to focus on positive ways to expand their vocabulary,” says Jane Clayton, a teacher at Academized and Psychology Assignment Help.
2. “The Technology Tail: A Digital Footprint Story” by Julia Cook with Illustrations from Anita DuFalla
A harsh lesson for many millennials has been figuring out that what they put online can stay online forever. Tweets and images shared online have the potential to damage reputations and careers even many years later. “The Technology Tail: A Digital Footprint Story” clearly explains the lasting effects of online activity via a conversation between a young girl and her computer. She learns about the existence of a permanent and non-erasable ‘technology tail’ that gets prettier when she acts positively online and uglier when she acts negatively. This book is great for laying out the responsibility children have to use their time online in a kind and constructive way and offers simple, and easy to follow rules.
3. “Stick and Stone” by Beth Ferry
Bullying has always been a source of worry for parents and children alike. Unfortunately, the Internet provides another channel of concern with increasing cases of cyberbullying. The anonymous nature of online communication means that children are able to share hurtful things without taking any responsibility. “Stick and Stone” explains how cyberbullying can be just as impactful and hurtful as bullying in real life. It preaches friendship, standing up to bullies, and the importance of respectful behaviour online.
4. “Once Upon a Time…Online” by David Bedford and Rosie Reeve
This book features modern twists on traditional fairy tales and introduces the online world to children through characters they’re already familiar with. Children can follow the adventures of Jack as he travels through Fairy Tale Land and experiences both the good and bad of being online. “Once Upon a Time…Online” offers an effective lesson on online safety with help from the Fairy Godmother.
5. “Hello! Hello!” by Matthew Cordell
Lydia’s whole family is glued to their gadgets, leaving her wanting of their attention. As Lydia heads outside to explore, she finds treasures that can draw her family away from their devices and into the real world. “This book positively enforces the importance of balancing time between your online and offline worlds and shows how much fun time away from technology can be” says Scott Williams, an educator at Writing Services and Elite Assignment Help.
6. “But I Read it on the Internet!” By Tony Buzzeo with Illustrations from Sachiko Yoshikawa
A book that should be read by people of all generations, this informative story provides essential lessons on how to review and evaluate sources found online. An essential part of media literacy is being able to detect and disregard fake or illegitimate news and sources of information. Via a trusted librarian, the children in the book are taught where they can find trustworthy information online with the help of a ‘website evaluation gizmo.’
Stories are a great communicator and through these tales, children of all ages can learn about the correct ways to conduct themselves online and how to interpret and respond to a digital world that is here to stay.