Last week, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released an interesting study on children’s media use. The study surveyed over 1500 parents with children between the ages of 2-10 years old, seeking to estimate the proportion of children’s media time devoted to content parents considered ‘educational’.
A few highlights from the study:
1. TV still reigns.
Overall, kids spend an average of 56 minutes a day engaging with educational media, whether through TV, computers, smartphones, tablets, or video games. The majority of that time (42 minutes or 76%) is spent watching educational content on TV or DVDs. Parents report that 52% of their kids’ TV time is educational, a higher percentage than with any other platform.
2. Older kids aren’t learning as much from media.
As kids grow older, the total time they spend with media increases, from about 1.5 hrs between ages 2-4 to about 2.5 hrs at age 10. But even as their screen time goes up, the percentage of educational content they see plummets from 78% in the early years to 27% for kids ages 8-10.
3. Educational media plays a bigger role in lower-income families.
Parents from lower-income backgrounds have less access to every type of media platform, from TV and high speed internet to smartphones and tablets. Nevertheless, lower-income children (in their parents’ opinion) spend a greater proportion of their total screen time on media that is educational.
4. Minority families report benefiting more from educational media.
Across all platforms and nearly all subject areas (from reading and math to social skills and healthy habits), Black parents are more likely than White or Hispanic-Latino parents to consider interactive media or TV an important source of their child’s learning. For example, 91% of Black parents believe their kids learn “a lot or some” about math from computers, while only 79% of White parents and 63% of Hispanic-Latino parents think so.
5. Parents want more help finding quality resources.
More than half of all parents surveyed say they wish they had more help from experts on finding quality media to support their child’s education. For lower income parents, Hispanic-Latino parents, and less highly educated parents, that percentage is even higher. CommonSense Media and CFY are doing great work helping parents discover educational media options; however, more work is needed. At GreatSchools, we intend to play a bigger role in this regard beginning in 2014.