It’s Time to Make Screen Time Family Time

Last Updated by Tom Curra on

Today’s children have access to multiple screens – from television and tablets to laptops and smart phones – causing parents to wonder if they may be spending too much time with media. New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) include good news for parents on children’s TV time, placing greater emphasis on the quality of the media kids interact with, rather than the quantity, and pointing to PBS KIDS as a leading resource for educational programming. The new guidelines also encourage parents to watch TV with their children, and talk about it together.

The AAP’s recommendations confirm the approach that PBS KIDS and WVIA Public Media have pioneered for decades – that when media is developed responsibly and thoughtfully, it can make a big impact on children’s education, and that when parents are engaged, kids learn even more. It’s this “secret sauce” of combining high-quality media with parent-child interaction that we believe can unlock every child’s learning potential. 

While PBS KIDS plays an important role in providing quality media content, the crucial component is collaborative learning—parents talking to their children about what they’re watching, what they’re playing and how they’re learning. By interacting with media alongside them, parents can see what their children are passionate about and interested in, which in turn allows for deeper engagement, and opportunities to inspire learning experiences for their kids.

We know that this approach works. In fact, we have the research to prove it. A recent study conducted by Texas Tech University found that PBS KIDS’ series DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD helped kids learn important social skills like empathy, recognizing emotions and social confidence, with the key to this learning being parental involvement. When parents talked with their children about the shows they watched, the learning outcomes were greater.

Given the many benefits of co-viewing and co-playing with your kids, there is no better time to make screen time family time. On Sunday, January 15, 2017, PBS KIDS’ high-quality, proven content will be available 24/7 with the debut of the WVIA PBS KIDS service, making it easier than ever before for families to watch and explore together. 

The free services include a new 24-hour TV channel on WVIA’s VIA2 channel and a livestream on digital platforms. The new channel will be especially important for young children living in low-income households, who are more likely to rely on TV for educational content, and to be under-connected, with mobile-only access and inconsistent connectivity to the internet. WVIA’s free 24/7 PBS KIDS TV channel will help to level the playing field – making our educational content available to more Northeastern Pennsylvania and Central Susquehanna Valley-area families than ever before, giving parents more free opportunities to engage with their kids and media and helping our children reach their full potential.

As we enter the new year, we’ll be delivering on our mission in an even more impactful way –providing Northeastern Pennsylvania and Central Susquehanna Valley-area families with 24/7 access to enriching, quality TV content, and more opportunities for families to watch and play together – anytime and anywhere. 

Thomas M. Currá

President, C.E.O. & Executive Producer

WVIA Public Media

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