Worried about the effects of screen time on children? Introduce them to podcasts!
While gadgets such as tablets, smartphones, and other smart devices may help children become more tech savvy, their overuse has become a matter of concern for parents, teachers, health professionals, and psychologists. Sleep disruption, addiction, or poor academic performance are only some of the adverse side effects of excessive screen time. But what if we told you that there are equally engaging screen-less entertainment alternatives?
Can you use a no screen solution to help educate and entertain kids using age-appropriate podcasts?
The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. From history lessons to science experiments, listening to stories can help kids build vocabulary, improve reading skills, and even become more empathetic. Until recently, podcasts have been mostly catered to adults. Luckily, podcast creators have started to realize that children appreciate their content as much as adults do.
According to a survey conducted by the Kids Listen Organization, children are very receptive to this new form of education and entertainment. Most children listen to the same episode several times. Moreover, 75% of the surveyed families state that children not only start discussions on the topic they have just heard, but most of them also ask for additional information. With such data, there is no doubt that podcasts are slowly making their way into the classroom as well. According to the Audio Publishing Association, auditory learning fosters comprehension, focus, reading speed, and vocabulary enrichment.
There are a number of additional benefits for children who listen to podcasts.
Podcasts can be enjoyed and re-enjoyed anytime, anywhere. A long car trip can be boring. Podcasts such as Story Quest! or What If World are sure to entertain children and young-at-heart adults alike with their sense of adventure and exploration.
Reduced screen time
Podcasts allow children to have fun and learn without having to stare at a screen. Although they’ll still need a smart device to start the podcast, many podcast apps allow users to connect to a smart speaker so you needn’t worry they’ll switch it off when you’re not looking.
Cost of entry
Podcasts are free to download and listen to. Most podcast apps used to listen to podcasts, like Castbox, are free as well. The Castbox app also offers a feature to help search through podcasts to find kid-appropriate content. This in-audio search feature is helpful for any mom or dad on the go to find the right content for their child.
Spark imagination and boost learning
Podcasts can be a great tool to efficiently teach kids history, mathematics, science and other useful topics or concepts. A good example of an educational podcast is Brains On!, a show produced by NPR which defines itself as ‘serious about curiosity.’ The show is presented in a child-friendly manner; this entertaining and challenging podcast presents science facts in an easy-to-understand, approachable way, making learning fun. The WOW in the World show, produced by NPR News and Southern California Public Radio, follows the same line of thinking, enticing children and adults to discover the latest wonders in science and technology. There are various podcasts with the goal to teach listeners a foreign language or provide tips on playing a new instrument.
Exposing children to appropriate and educational podcasts has many benefits and few consequences. Podcasting offers parents a valuable no-screen alternative to family entertainment and a revolutionary education model that children can identify with and be motivated to use. Podcasts might just be the cure to the smartphone obsession sweeping across the nation.