Powering up educational media at home

This report from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop presents findings from a study on families’ educational media use. Data was collected through a national survey of more than 1,500 parents of children aged 2-10. The survey covered children’s home use of television, DVDs, video games, tablets, and other electronic devices, and investigated how much of the media content was considered educational (media use for homework or other school assignments was excluded). Some key findings of the study were:

  • 54% of respondents said their child “often” takes specific actions as a result of their exposure to educational media, such as talking about something they saw (38%), engaging in imaginative play based on it (34%), asking questions about it (26%), or asking to do a project or activity inspired by it (18%).
  • As children get older, the amount of time they spend with screen media goes up (from 1 hour and 37 minutes to 2 hours and 36 minutes a day), and the proportion that is considered educational goes down (from 78% to 27%).
  • Parents do not believe their children learn as much from educational media about science as they do about other subject areas.

The authors emphasise that no parent’s estimate of their child’s media use is likely to be exact. However, they say that when dealing with children aged 10 and under, time and frequency estimates from parents are more likely to be reliable than those obtained from the child.

Source: Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America (2014), The Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

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