New Report: “Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America”
What do parents really think about the educational value of their children’s screen media use? A national survey of more than 1500 parents of children ages 2-10 by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center finds that more than half of parents (57 percent) believe their children have learned “a lot” from educational media, but that learning from mobile devices falls short compared to other platforms.
The study, Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America, also documents an alarming drop in educational media use after the very earliest years. As screen media use goes up, the proportion devoted to educational content goes down, from 78 percent of all screen media among 2- to 4-year-olds to 39 percent among 5- to 7-year-olds and just 27 percent among 8- to 10-year-olds.
The survey indicates that 80 percent of kids use educational media weekly (including 34 percent who do so daily). Parents say that their children’s learning experience goes beyond the screen, with many weekly users talking about (87 percent), asking questions about (77 percent), engaging in imaginative play (78 percent), and wanting to do projects (61 percent) based on something they have learned from educational media.
See Also: Interview with the Author of the Report
Key Findings From the Report
- Children are reading an average of 40 minutes per day, including 29 minutes with print, 8 minutes on computers, and 5 minutes using e-platforms. The majority (62 percent) has access to e-readers or tablets, but less than a third (31 percent) use them, often because their parents prefer printed books to the digital form.
- Two- to four-year olds spend more time per day on educational media than any other age group: 1 hour 16 minutes for ages 2-4, 50 minutes for ages 5-7 and 42 minutes for ages 8-10.
- Television continues to dominate, according to parents, with children spending an average of 42 minutes a day with educational TV compared to 5 minutes with educational content on mobile devices and computers and 3 minutes with educational video games.
- Even among those who use educational content on each platform weekly, learning from mobile lags behind TV: 39 percent say their child has learned “a lot” about any subject from mobile compared to 52 percent for TV.
- There are significant differences among racial groups: across almost every subject area and platform, Black parents were most likely to say their children had learned from educational media, with Hispanic parents least likely to think so. For example, 91 percent of Black parents said their children had learned a lot or some about math from computers compared to 79 percent of Whites and 63 percent of Hispanic-Latinos (among those whose children are weekly users of educational content on computers).
- Both Black (60 percent) and Hispanic-Latino (52 percent) parents are more likely than White (37 percent) ones to consider interactive media a very or somewhat important source for the lessons their children most need to learn, and they are more likely to say they want more information about how to find quality educational media for their children, especially Hispanic-Latino parents (74 percent, compared to 57 percent for Blacks and 46 percent for Whites).
Direct to Full Text Report (57 pages; PDF)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.