How does educational media impact children?

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura
January 27th, 2014

Educational “screen media” time, while considered beneficial by parents, drops sharply after age 4

educational-mediaWhile 78 percent of screen media consumed by children ages 2-4 is educational, that figure drops drastically as children age, down to 39 percent among 5- to 7-year-olds and 27 percent in children ages 8-10, according to a national survey released on Jan. 24.

Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America” analyzes parents’ experiences and opinions of the educational media their children use. The survey aims to identify the subjects parents think their children learned most about from educational media, what platforms they think are most effective, and what are some obstacles to more widespread use of educational media.

Lower pricepoints have enabled lower-income and minority families to increase device ownership and “catch up” to their middle-class and white peers, notes Victoria Rideout, the report’s author.

But also the access gap is smaller, “there is evidence of an emerging ‘participation gap’ demarcating more and less enriching users of media. Studies have shown that children who use educational media learn more in the short term and do better in school later on compared to children who do not. Research has also demonstrated that using educational media with adult guidance leads to greater learning than if used alone.”

(Next page: How parents view educational media’s benefits)

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2 Responses to “How does educational media impact children?”

Thanks, Laura, this is really interesting. I have a couple of thoughts: First, these are all survey data, so they just are targeting parents’ opinions. We’d actually have to measure some of these things to know whether or not the parents’ opinions are accurate.

Secondarily, though, we’ve looked at some of the same issues as Balefire Labs and found that there were many parents who said that educational value just wasn’t their highest priority when it came to content on mobile devices. They placed a higher priority on “fun” and if their kids also learned something it was icing on the cake. Of course, that wasn’t all parents, but it was enough of them that some of the results you report aren’t surprising to me. It’s a little discouraging.

Educational screen media use by children | IDentifEYE
January 28, 2014

[…] Devaney writes: “While 78 percent of screen media consumed by children ages 2-4 is educational, that figure […]