This article by Andrea Palpant Dilley, on children and media, written for the her.meneutics blog of Christianity Today is a MUST READ for all parents with young children in this age of visual media.
I present below just the 9 tips she suggests:
When selecting programming….
1. Disregard labels: Phrases like “educational video” or “kid video” shouldn’t be a green light, necessarily. Pediatricians will tell you that children learn best through tactile experience and interpersonal contact. No matter how many PBS logos you see, videos are a passive medium, not an active one, and an entertainment medium, not an educational one. Videos are a supplement to learning, not a substitute.
More importantly, labels pertain to content (violence or other inappropriate content), not form. Keep in mind that form can be violent for a little developing brain, if the video is excessively fast or frenetic.
2. Watch the cut rate: Pay attention to how fast the video moves. The faster the cut rate—more edits or image changes per minute—the more frenetic the video, and the more frenetic the video, the more difficulty your child will have tracking the story. Generally speaking, the younger the child, the slower the cut rate.
For example, at the risk of criticizing a well-loved icon of Christian entertainment, Veggie Tales videos are often too frenetic for kids under 5. The BBC’s Kipper the Dog is a good example of a slow-tempo alternative, or the vintage Mr. Rogers, which is edited with a painfully slow pace.Read More »