Times have changed; a major component of a child’s exposure relates, not simply to the television, but to the computer. Television offers as a package deal chunks of video viewing, often a half-hour or more. Computer childrens videos are often a few minutes in length. They thus offer a greater opportunity for the parent to be selective in what the child watches.
Childrens VideosAmong the standard video varieties parents expose their children to are alphabet videos, number and counting videos, nursery rhyme videos, and story videos that may include singing and dancing. What are some aspects of a video that may seem a little out of place?
Time and SpeedA young child needs enough time to think about what he or she is watching. Earliest alphabet or number videos should dwell on each letter or number the appropriate length of time; the video should not be on “c” when it should still be on “a.” The parent watching along with the child may be frustrated if the video is slow, but the child is the one being taught. Overwhelming a child will discourage that child.
Background MusicLoud RAP, heavy metal, chants and other such music are not conducive to learning. A soft and peaceful, simple tune encourages and entertains the child as he listens. Excessive stimuli detract from the learning process. Excessive characters or other complexities in a video also detract. Especially may this be the case if the child has an as-yet-undiscovered learning disability, such as mild autism.
Learning the LanguageIn order to help a child become fluent in his native tongue, it is logical that the instructors should be native speakers. This is not prejudicial, but reasonable. Individuals desiring to learn a foreign language are best taught by a native speaker of that foreign language. If he or she is bilingual, so much the better.
Singing Voice and EnunciationWhile we’re on the topic of language, it is a good idea that any singing in videos of an educational variety should be clearly heard and easily understood. Such videos do not need great want-to-be artists rendering the vocals. Raspy or throaty voices are of little to no value. And if there is to be singing, it is best if it is on key. A Surprising number of even popular adult singers do not sing on key.
Who Are They Selling?Many seek to earn money through such media sites as YouTube. This is understandable, and not necessarily wrong. But when it comes to kids’ videos, parents need to keep the age and ability of a child in mind, as well as his need for good and loving guidance. Education within a framework of gentle entertainment can be a valuable tool, rather than a destructive implement.
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