The past 9 months of living through a global pandemic have driven families out of public places, including child care settings and schools, doctor’s offices, libraries, and play spaces. Furthermore, social distancing has isolated children and families from friends, extended family members, and informal interaction in the community. As a result, screen media and related technology has taken center stage as a way to maintain relationships, provide entertainment, and obtain services such as health care and early intervention. This increased use of screen media raises questions about the impact on children and families and inspired us to ask leading experts to share the state of knowledge on young children’s screen and media use and on the implications for the current climate. The collection of articles in this issue provide a timely discussion of what we know about screen and media in the lives young children, what we need to better understand, and how professionals who work with children and families are providing high-quality care despite unprecedented challenges.
However, not everyone has access to the necessary technology– computers, tablets, high-speed Internet–that is replacing in-person interactions, and those inequities raise serious concerns. Our Perspectives column in this issue uses a social justice lens to explore the concept of “care work” in the delivery of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) services to young children and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated existing inequities along the lines of class, gender, and race among both the professionals working on the front lines and the families who have access to care. The author concludes that it is a seminal moment in our culture and society for the IECMH community to reflect on how the profession may be reproducing inequities and marginalization within the workforce.
To help early childhood professionals be responsive to evolving family needs during the pandemic, ZERO TO THREE has created a website page of resources related to the coronavirus:
We also want to know how coronavirus has affected you and how you do your job, and what additional resources would be helpful to you at this time. Please share your stories here:
We hope that you find the ZERO TO THREE community to be a source of strength and support during this challenging time.
Stefanie Powers, Editor
Powers, S. (2020). This issue and why it matters. ZERO TO THREE Journal, 41(2), 2.