Don't just filter content, engage child too

By screening undesirable content, parents can help their children navigate the digital world (Screen the junk online; Oct 21).

However, the caregiver's role is about so much more than just filtering what should or should not be watched.

Co-viewing is about mediating the child's experience too. It is about engaging in dialogue and asking questions to help children understand what they are watching.

For instance, a caregiver can help a child understand a character's motivations with questions such as "Why do you think she did that?" and "How do you think she feels? Why?"

They can also play a key role in helping to contextualise what is on screen by providing background information.

They can expand on vocabulary and word meanings - repeating and emphasising words or providing synonyms - to support children's understanding of educational content.

By asking relevant questions, adults can support children in reaching higher levels of thinking, thus getting more out of their digital media exposure.

Blocking out the online junk is just part of the picture.

The digital world also offers numerous valuable resources.

It would be a shame if children did not get the greatest possible advantage they could from these 21st century technologies.

Chin Hui Wen (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Don't just filter content, engage child too'. Print Edition | Subscribe