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Remote- Controlled Childhood

by Early Math Counts

This morning I received an email from the Child Care Exchange (you should sign up for their newsletter) that reminded me about this great book that just got updated.  Remote-Controlled Childhood has now become Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood  by Diane E. Levin from Wheelock College.  This book is a must-have for all teachers, directors and parents of young children.

Dr. Levin tackles tough topics in her books.  This one takes a careful and somewhat critical look at the media-saturated world of young children.  She recognizes that there are aspects of media that are OK and may even be positive (I like that she always presents a balanced view of her subject). This is a topic that parents and teachers alike struggle with every day and will continue to get more complicated as the world spins and moves forward.

Take a Look at The Table of Contents

Introduction: Taming the Media in Young Children’s Lives

Chapter 1: Remote-Controlled Childhood: An Overview
  • Growing Up in Today’s Media-Saturated World
  • Media in the Lives of Children
  • The Effects of Being Connected to Media (And Disconnected From Direct Experience)
  • Shared Responsibility and a Call to Action


Chapter 2: A Developmental Perspective on Remote-Controlled Childhood
  • How Young Children Think Affects the Meanings They Construct From Their Experiences
  • Use What You Know About Children’s Thinking and Meaning Making
  • Challenges to Responding Effectively


Chapter 3: A Closer Look at Remote-Controlled Childhood: How Media Culture Affects Children
  • Content Issues: Media Culture Affects What Children Learn
  • Process Issues: Media Culture Affects How Children Learn
  • Culture Clash
  • Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood
  • It’s Worth the Effort


Chapter 4: Setting the Stage: Learn More About the Media in Young Children’s Lives
  • Strategies for Learning About the Media in Young Children’s Lives
  • Show Your Interest in Children’s Media Usage
  • Stay Informed About Screen Media and Media Culture
  • Use What You Know to Act


Chapter 5: Problem Solving With Children: How One Teacher Helped the Princesses and Princes Live Happily Ever After

  • Trouble in the Kingdom
  • Why This Approach?
  • What’s Next?
Chapter 6: Helping Children Get Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Guidelines for Practice
  • Media Literacy Skills for Young Children
  • What You Can Do: Considering and Counteracting Negative Media Influences
  • The Value of Helping Children Get Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood in Today’s Educational Climate


Chapter 7: Beyond Remote-Controlled Play: Helping Children Become Creative Players
  • The Importance of Play in Development, Learning, and School Success
  • What You Can Do: Encouraging Creative, Child-Controlled Play
  • Everyone Wins: The Benefits of Promoting High-Quality, Original Play


Chapter 8: Addressing Negative Media Content: Violence, Sexualization, Commercialization, and More
  • What You Can Do: Guidelines for Addressing General Content Issues
  • What You Can Do: Guidelines for Addressing Specific Media Content


Chapter 9: Beyond the Screen: Empowering Children to Take Action in the Real World
  • Taking Action That Grows Out of Children’s Own
  • Experiences and Needs
  • What You Can Do: Empowering Children to Take Action on Issues That Matter to Them


Chapter 10: Teachers and Families Working Together
  • The Realities for Today’s Families
  • The Power of Mutual Respect and Collaboration
  • What You Can Do: Working With Families to Address Media Issues


Chapter 11: Community Building for Change: Helping Society Get Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood
  • Key Components of Change
  • What You Can Do: Mobilizing Others

Conclusion: Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood!


ISBN: 978-1-928896-98-2

The book is available here.

And….if you ever get a chance, check out The War-Play Dilemma, another book by Levin ad Carlsson-Paige that presents wonderful strategies for managing “war-play” (guns, shooting, power games) in the early childhood environment.

War PlayIt looks like Diane E. Levin will be speaking about the book at this year’s NAEYC conference.  If you are going, you should definitely check it out.  I had the pleasure of hearing her speak twice in the past few years and it was amazing.


2 Replies to “Remote- Controlled Childhood”

  1. I agree and liked this blog because I feel that especially in todays generation technology is something that children begin to use at a early age and teachers need to learn how they can use technology as a educational tool. However, it is also important to talk to children about the risks and using technology in appropriate ways. I was very interested in this blog because it talked about how the book also talks about culture and the culture clashes that may occur. I am a strong believer that children need to be exposed to different cultures because as growing up as a child I recall having experienced some difficulty fitting in because I did not speak English language. I recall some of my peers asking me why didn\’t I speak like them and some would even say they did not want to be my friend because I spoke strange. This made it difficult for me to make friends at first but I now understand that children sometimes just don\’t know and if their not exposed to different types of people from different backgrounds they won\’t know how to interact with other children. I feel this was a good blog and I hope to read this book soon.

    1. Children can be pretty mean (sometimes) about differences. You are not alone, as nearly every child feels different in some way. My mom was from another country and when my friends came over they had to abide by different rules at my house than at anyone else\’s house. Since my mom grew up in Europe and was little during the war, food was scarce. She had this ongoing issue with the way american children just went into other people\’s refrigerators and helped themselves to food. I was so embarrassed that I had to tell me friend\’s that they couldn\’t go into my mother\’s kitchen.

      The technology piece poses a different cultural question. Some young parents (now) grew up with a lot of this technology so they don\’t know life without it. They might not even have their own boundaries around using technology so it is difficult for them to see the need for structure and boundaries around their children\’s use of technology. Other parents may not even be aware of what their children can access, at home or at other people\’s homes.

      We also have to consider the threat that all of this poses to \”PLAY\”; interactive, all-encompassing, down-and-dirty PLAY. If you are plugged in, you are NOT playing.

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