While the experts agree that too much screen time can be detrimental to children, there’s also evidence to suggest that young children learn in a variety of contexts. Applied responsibly, the right digital channels can be an effective way of engaging children in interactive learning.
Digital media, on content on platforms such as YouTube, can be used to promote literacy, numeracy and healthy values.
Get the best out of digital entertainment
To make digital media more meaningful, Rachel Barr, in Growing up in the digital age: Early learning and family media ecology, encourages joint media engagement. This occurs when people (the family or siblings) interact around media to “scaffold” learning. When watching shows such as Gecko’s Garage or Blippi, by Moonbug Entertainment, parents should ask their children questions about the show and the concepts they introduce. Gecko’s Garage, for example, deals with colours and shapes.
Moonbug shows promote healthy values like compassion, empathy, and resilience to children around the world. ”We’re all parents. Moonbug was started by parents for parents. And as such we want to create great entertainment for children all around the world – which children will love – and their parents will love that they love,” says Ditte Lucas, Head of Brand at Moonbug, a YouTube-focused preschool entertainment company.
For more about parenting in a world of screens
As with any media, moderation is key. Know your child. If there is a chance of hyperstimulation, limit the amount of time spent watching shows with lots of sound effects and rapid scene changes.
With these considerations in mind, a specially curated Moonbug Kids Channel featuring exclusive, linear preschool content is now available to DSTV subscribers. The channel has a dedicated programme schedule with content that is supportive of children’s development. Moonbug EMEA and APAC managing director Nicolas Eglau says that it is able to structure the channel by applying an in-depth knowledge of children’s viewing, including when and how they engage with content.
Tips to manage children’s digital media consumption:
- Make a media plan for the family. We can’t ignore media in the digital age, so draft a media plan with a list of priority media channels for each person and how much time will be spent on each. Include media-free times and areas within the home.
- Set reasonable limits for media use and encourage traditional play as well.
- Co-view, co-play and co-engage with children when they are watching TV or playing games on devices.
- Set age-appropriate media limits. Older children can spend a bit more time on media, but ensure that this is balanced with physical activity and adequate sleep.
- Opt for age-appropriate programmes that provide some form of edutainment. The right digital channels can encourage interactive learning.
Source: Kids & Tech