Better Screen Time

One hour. That’s the suggested daily screen time limit for children under the age of six, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). That’s one episode of Sesame Street. Or two of Super Monsters. But is all screen time created equal? Not if you ask the Council on Communications and Media, which suggests what children spend their time watching—and how they watch it—is just as important as for how long.

“Some media can have educational value for children starting at around 18 months of age, but it's critically important that this be high-quality programming, such as the content offered by Sesame Workshop and PBS,” noted the AAP, adding: “Parents of young children should watch media with their child, to help children understand what they are seeing.” 

Parents aren’t going to find much of this kind of content in the current streaming video on demand (SVOD) and over the top (OTT) marketplace, however, according to the Parents Television Council (PTC). In a recent audit, they reported that only 8% of Netflix original series, for example, are rated PG, with a paltry 1% rated G, and very few designed for co-watching by parent and child. That’s just the material that has ratings.

Many of the most popular streaming providers use a combination of TVOMB and MPAA ratings, but leave large swaths of content—from single episodes to entire series—absent of any ratings or warnings information at all. This makes it difficult for parents to find age-appropriate content, let alone programming intended to facilitate family participation and learning interactions.

To make matters worse, as outlined in the same PTC study, consistency on how content is presented is non-existent. Most OTT services voluntarily supply some form of parental controls, but also serve content considered harmful or offensive for children, some with no obvious way to eliminate these categories from menu screens, even with parental controls turned on.

That’s why what Vooks delivers is game-changing. As the world’s first streaming service for animated children’s books, our platform lends parents peace of mind the big, one-size-fits-all services can’t. With an ever-expanding library of animated storybook videos—and only these videos—there’s no risk of a child stumbling into mature content, or scrolling past inappropriate cover art and titles when searching for something to watch.

Each Vooks video is between 2 and 8 minutes long, empowering parents to limit screen time without restricting children to only one or two titles at a time (which, as any parent will tell you, is a surefire way to spur a tantrum). The pacing of videos is also purposeful and deliberate: slow enough to allow children to absorb what they are seeing, yet stimulating enough to boost story comprehension and word learning.  

Best of all, Vooks encourages kids and parents to read together, a critical aspect of making screen time healthy and beneficial for young minds. As PBS explained: “when kids sit next to a caring adult and hear engaging stories, they develop positive associations with books and build their vocabulary and comprehension skills.”

With Vooks, children can learn, laugh and let their imaginations soar, while parents can feel good about letting their little ones enjoy a little screen time.

Read more about Vooks, or sign up for a free trial and explore our full library of animated storybooks.

Russell Hirtzel