Technology has made it super easy to access anything on the overloaded cloud of information – the internet. It has made accessing content so easy that age isn’t a restriction at all. This has led to kids watching any sorts of things on the web, unmitigated. Parenting experts are increasingly spreading awareness of the negative impacts that these random videos can have on kids.
This begs two questions – What is the right content for kids? Is quality content beneficial across all age groups?
The American Academy of Pediatrics that aims to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children and adolescents, has laid out guidelines for media consumption. But all quality content might not be useful to all age groups. Using Common Sense media’s age range data, we’ve laid down some guidelines that’ll help you pick the best videos for your kids to watch
Kids Videos Within the Right Age Range
Visuals that might be appealing to a 2-3 old may not seem very interesting to a 5-7 year old. You must have noticed how videos for young kids are all about bright colours and involve a lot of repetition. That’s because younger kids respond to this whereas it might not be that interesting to an 8-year-old. This is due to a difference in their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Therefore, after ensuring that the quality content guidelines are matched, you need to find videos that will be just right for your kid’s age group and will add something to what he/she already knows.
Common Sense Media has defined in detail what’s appropriate for each age group, what skills are formed in during that period and therefore what would compose as quality content for kids in that bracket of age. These guidelines identify important developmental benchmarks for each age group.
Kids Videos that foster creativity and boost imagination
Creativity is generally related to arts and music but is far wider a word. It means the ability to question and explore surroundings unbound by limited options and this can be fostered in kids from an early age (over 2 years of age) primarily through the variety of learning materials or games you expose your kids to.
In case of videos, anything that encourages the kid to imagine something beyond what he/she has seen and link 2-3 different things and their use would be beneficial. There can be plenty examples: Classic story videos with more than 2-3 characters encourage the kid to understand relationships and absorb a fictional plot using self-imagination. They may also mimic characters and use it to interact with others in their surrounding. DIY videos involve creating new things from general stuff, pen, paper, tape, crayons, etc and kids step into the world of innovation. For older kids, Discovery Channel Videos on basic science concepts, mega constructions, etc can be interesting.
Kids Videos That Show Proper Social Interaction
Young kids observe a lot and adapt quickly what they see and hear. It is, therefore, important that the characters they watch exude the right values and habits. Even little things in story videos like saying thank you and sorry, greeting “Good morning”, sharing things or doing teamwork are little attributes that kids adapt quickly and help them form an amiable personality in the long run.
According to Common Sense Media, children as young as 2 and 3 start interacting with others in a more meaningful way. While they can’t necessarily comprehend that others have different emotions and opinions, they do start to understand another person’s goals. By the time they turn 4, they start expressing through words. It’s thus, best, that they watch and learn from videos that show proper social interaction.
Kids Videos That Educate
These are simply informational videos on subjects that will add to the knowledge of your kid. You can choose from a range of topics whatever you would want your kid to learn about. But remember, every topic can be further categorised into sub-topics that might not be suitable for all age groups. For examples: a video on farming may range from basic different vegetables and places they are grown to different farming techniques and further to the agriculture science. While vegetable names etc may be perfect for a 2-year-old, farming techniques would be more suitable for a 8-year-old.
Depending on what your child can comprehend at a certain age, you need to choose a video that just isn’t too easy nor is too difficult for him to feel interested in. You can use Common Sense Media’s age range guide to understand broadly your kid’s level of understanding at a certain age.
Kids Videos That Get Children Up and Moving
One of the most prominent cons of watching videos that parenting experts press is that they don’t have anything to encourage the kid’s movement and hence lead to him/her becoming lazy, even putting on weight. It’s therefore super important to consider videos that get kids active and pushes them for some physical activity.
Movement not only helps kids develop motor skills but also brings in the fatigue that is important to take a good sleep. Children learn their range of motion, balance, muscle strength, coordination, and endurance through body movement. There are a variety of videos that encourage some physical activity on part of the kid like videos that ask kids, to sit, stand, march and dance. Some videos also teach kids how to make a goal in soccer prodding the kid to go out and try such movements in the playing field.
Kids Videos That Encourage Deeper Thinking
Active viewing is great, but it isn’t enough. When it comes to kids videos be it for education or entertainment, kids shouldn’t just get it; they should also have something to say about it. Kids need to be active and reactive viewers – comprehending and critiquing, reading and reacting, getting and giving knowledge.
By the age 8-9, kids start developing critical thinking and reasoning. “They have arrived at the ‘age of reason’ and will solve problems on their own,” according to Common Sense Media. This is why the videos they watch should inspire some logical reaction that pushes them to think about the different experiences, times and places and people and relationships between them.
It’s not just their logical reasoning that takes a surge but also the emotional quotient that gets deeper at this age. They’re ready to understand a character, the ethical dilemmas if any that they’re facing and also the social message that is trying to be communicated. Hence, videos that give kids a chance to understand that there can be multiple ways to interpret situations and to react to them would be ideal.
Also, videos that explain the logic of a certain event/concept and the possibilities of it happening further boost cognitive skills of the kid.
But remember, these are just guidelines!
Every kid is different and no one knows your kid better than you. You know what topics interests him/her more, what does he/she thoroughly enjoy watching and learning about, what topics does she/he need reinforcement on and what topics would make maximum sense in the current scenario of his/her life. At all ages, you can be the best guide to your kid, by navigating him/her through he most ideal content at that time.