KLRU announced a Smart Screen Time / La Pantalla Inteligente Initiative to connect Central Texas families and kids to PBS content, videos, games and apps and to use them to explore the world beyond the screen. “We know that as school ends more and more kids are going to be watching television, playing games on tablets and using their parents’ phones to play apps,” said Ben Kramer, VP Educational Services at KLRU,“ and we want to encourage families to be smart about their choices.”
Smart Screen Time is about finding good content, using it in smart ways, and knowing when to turn off devices. KLRU has developed five guidelines for parents and caregivers to follow when watching a television show or playing online with their kids. They are:
- Knowing the difference between “smart time” and “silly time.”
- When the brain slows down, turn the screen off.
- Talk throughout the day with your children.
- Watch and play on screens together.
- Read at home every day.
Get more details about each of these guidelines
To combat the summer learning loss KLRU will be offering 11 hours of uninterrupted non-commercial children’s programs each weekday as well as launching klrukrids.org. www.klrukids.org connects learners of all ages 2 and up to a plethora of curriculum-based video, games and apps that teach math, literacy, and more. These resources in both English and Spanish, will allow kids to have Smart Screen Time while also having fun. All of the activities featured on klrukids.org embody the PBS Kids spirit that “anytime is learning time” and “learning can be fun.”
Download a printable version of this guide (pdf): Smart Screen Time™ | La Pantalla Inteligente™
With the proliferation of screen-based activities available for and embraced by youth, KLRU Educational Services has developed a set of guidelines for digital media use called “Smart Screen Time / La Pantalla Inteligente™.” In addition to offering quality educational media, KLRU Educational Services staff believe that explicit guidelines for how to use these media has never been more needed – for parents, caretakers, educators, and the children themselves. The guidelines have been incorporated into all of KLRU Educational Services’ messaging and are now appearing on-air and online in a series of explanatory video clips. The guidelines are as follows, with the video clips to follow.
- Knowing “smart time” vs. “silly time” - Kids instinctively know when they are viewing or playing media that is cognitively stimulating, and media that is pure entertainment. We believe that there is a role for both in kids’ lives. Adults who provide access to digital media ought to have conversations about the appropriate balance of smart and silly with the children in their care, and help children monitor their own media habits.
- When the brain slows down, turn the screen off! - All viewers of digital media have experienced moments when they are neither asleep nor alert, but in some in-between “zombie” zone. For adults, this may be a reasonable break from a long day’s work. For kids, it’s a different matter because this time is neither truly restful, nor is it meaningfully engaging. In short, it’s lost time during a period of rapid brain growth and development. For that reason, it’s important for adults in kids’ lives to turn the screen off and send them to another activity (including sleep!). Kids can become self-monitors of their own zombie states, and can learn alternatives to drooling in front of a screen.
- Talk throughout the day, including during screen time - Studies have shown that dialogue can enhance the learning outcomes of using educational digital media. Look no further than our own characters to see role models for our kids – our characters use sophisticated vocabulary, ask good questions, and seek solution pathways for desired information. In short, they are all “smart” chatterboxes! Adults can ask kids for narrative summaries of show episodes, or to describe strategies they are using to advance in games.
- Watch and play on screens together - This is corollary of guideline #3. Whereas dialogue about kids’ viewing or playing is great, an even stronger learning experience occurs when adults and kids engage together with educational media. KLRU Educational Services selects PBS evening programs each month for “Family Choice” viewing, when we encourage generations to sit, watch, and discuss together. This idea can be extended to our programming throughout the day, and to game-playing online and on mobile media. One caution: current research suggests that all screen time stop 90 minutes before a child’s bedtime. It appears that the blue/light white from LCD screens can signal the brain to wake up, making bedtime a more difficult proposition.
- Read both at home and at school – every day! As proud as we are of the educational quality of our media, KLRU Educational Services recognizes that reading remains the most efficient, effective method of acquiring new information, building vocabulary, and experiencing new worlds of learning. In fact, a good number of our programs and games explicitly steer children to reading experiences. Most children still need adults to bridge the gap from screen to text, and to help them locate appropriate reading materials. This cannot solely occur in school – children who practice literacy as a desired activity during out-of-school time have markedly better learning outcomes that endure throughout their lives (International Reading Association, 1998). We know our job is done when kids instinctively and enthusiastically turn from our media to books as a logical next step in their learning lives.