Screen Time As Good As Soccer, Say Parents


Saying the study will help it shape its new media philosophy, PBS Thursday touted a Roper poll that said parents are upbeat about all the screen time their kids are getting.

According to the study, more than half of parents said their child's media use was "just as beneficial as an extracurricular activity," while 93% said that media helps kids "learn new and fascinating things."

PBS is looking to direct some of that screen time toward PBS Kids, a new linear and Internet preschool "learning destination"--a hosted two-hour kids block--launching Sept. 4. PBS pulled the plug on the October launch of a more ambitious separate digital channel--PBS Kids Go!--citing lack of money. It already programs a Go! afternoon block.

The poll was released in tandem with a PBS/PTA seminar in New York about preparing children to succeed in school, including the importance of teaching new media skills. More than two thirds of parents (68%) said that their kids would fall behind in school without a sufficient grounding in media technologies.

Roper conducted a July 2006 phone poll of 1,001 parents with kids 2-11. Margin of error: +/- 4.2%.

The poll is something of an academic complement to the socializing-skills benefits cited in a Kaiser survey in May. In that study, which was of TV use, a majority of parents (66%) said that their kids pick up good habits from TV, like sharing and helping.