Skip to main content
The Three C's: Guidelines for Using Digital Technology with Young Children

Ed Tech and Digital Media

The Three C’s: Guidelines for Using Digital Technology with Young Children

Take this simple quiz to help you become more mindful in using digital technology with young children. It’s all about content that is educational and developmentally appropriate, a context that encourages conversation and learning, and the needs of each individual child.

On this page:

Become more mindful in using digital technology with young children by taking this quiz.


  • Is your child watching media or playing games that are violent, scary, or troubling to him/her? -2
  • Are the characters modeling positive social skills? +1
  • Are the media designed to promote conversation or help build language skills? +1
  • Do media stimulate off-screen comments or questions?
  • Off-screen play? Creation, imagination, exploration? +2
  • Do media feature some of the same traits you are looking for in a teacher or classroom? +1


  • Are you leaving the screen or TV on even when no one’s watching? -2
  • Are media replacing calming routines that could help during bedtime? -1
  • Do you have moments in which you are jointly watching or playing with your child? +2
  • After your child watches or plays, are there chances to talk about what was seen or played? +1
  • Are screen media used during meal times in a way that impedes conversation? -1
  • Do you talk to your child about your use of TV, video, tablets, or e-readers and what you find valuable about them? +1
  • Do you tune out and miss cues from your child when using your devices or screen media? -2

Your Child

  • Do you see particular media experiences assisting your child as he/she progresses in motor skills, social skills, or language development? +1
  • Have you started to differentiate between media experiences that are not helping your child’s development and those that are? +
  • If you find that your child gets upset when watching certain types of content, do you watch with him/her or find ways to avoid that media? +1
  • Are you paying attention or asking enough questions to tell whether your child is engaged by what is on screen? Does he or she act on or talk about what he or she sees or plays with? +1

Content score: ______ + Context score: ______ + Your Child score: ______ = TOTAL score: ______


Take your score below as a rough guide or a moment for reflection on what kinds of media experiences you want for your children.

-8 to 0

You may need to pay greater attention to the games and videos your child is playing and watching. Growth and development is affected by environment (including digital media) and by interactions with parents and other caring adults.

1 to 7

You pay attention to what’s on the screen and what kinds of conversations your child has when he/she watches and plays. You look for games and videos that are a good match for your child.

8 to 13

You not only understand the importance of tuning into what your child needs from digital media, you also are alert to what your child needs from you and how your own behaviors using digital media can have an impact.

Download the 3Cs Scoring Guide ›

Content, context, and the child

For any reprint requests, please contact the author or publisher listed.

Related Topics

Ed Tech and Digital Media