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Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America

learningathome_cover-231x300My subscription to Children’s Technology Review recently alerted me to a new (Jan 2014) report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center entitled Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America.

Some key findings:
· Most parents view TV watching as educational, providing children are watching Elmo and Dora and not Spongebob. Tablets and mobile devices are used less.
· The youngest children (2-3) spend the most time with “educational” media. and this time decreases dramatically at age 4; replaced by “fun” media.
· Parents consider TV to be more educational than apps and mobile experiences.
· There are lot of lower income kids who do not have access to interactive platforms.

Help with a Parent Video Game Survey!

We here at Little eLit are always on the lookout for research that can help paint a realistic picture of this new media landscape with children. To that end, when we see research in progress that needs input or survey participants, we want to help out! We’ll all make better decisions and create more realistic best practices if we have a solid picture of this landscape. Which means you should give your input whenever you’re eligible. 

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logoAre you the parent or guardian of a child between 4 and 13 years of age? Do your children play video games? If so, you are eligible to take a survey about digital games and family life, co-sponsored by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and Arizona State University. Parents who complete the survey will have a chance to win a $50 gift card to Amazon.com.

Click here if you’d like to take the survey.

The Digital Games and Family Life Survey will be the first of its kind to gain a sense of the role that digital games are playing in modern family life and routines, across both place and time. Past surveys of digital games have typically queried adults separately from children, or asked parents about their children’s gameplay, but not about their own. This new survey will reconcile these two worlds of gameplay by recognizing that today’s parents grew up playing digital games and that their histories and relationships with them inevitably shape their parenting around their children’s gameplay.

The Cooney Center and ASU are seeking parents of children ages 4 through 13 to take the Digital Games and Family Life Survey. We will keep the survey open for about a month and release a report in Spring 2014. Here are just some of the research questions this survey will address:

  • To what extent have digital games permeated family routines and rituals, or become essential aspects of family life?
  • Where exactly do parents draw the line between what is an acceptable level of violence in digital games and what is not?
  • What do parents see as negative effects of their children’s digital game play? What do they see as positive effects?
  • To what extent are digital games replacing board games in family entertainment routines?
  • What do parents think about the role of digital games in school? What about other types of learning?
  • How might parent perceptions of digital games differ by theme, context of play, and purpose of play?
  • How do parents’ digital game practices (past and present) intersect with their children’s game play?
  • How might all of the above vary by child, parent, and family characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, income, parent marital status, and number of siblings?

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Go to, dear reader, and let your experience and opinion be known! There is no better way to shape practice than by informing understanding of a topic. Your input is incredibly valuable.