Educating a child can be a difficult task in this new era of technology. Generation Alpha is noted to have created kids that are “iPad Natives” and keeping their attention off of anything else can be challenging at best. Digital magazines aimed toward child entertainment and education are an interactive meeting point between technology, learning, and digital publication. Despite this, many find the excessive use of “screentime” unhealthy for their developing brains. With all of this taken into consideration, what do digital magazines directed toward kids have to offer, and what is the impact?
To answer this question, one needs to understand what these magazines do and create for the consumer.
Similar to its paper counterpart, this digital media discusses topics specific to an edition and includes related articles and images. However, digital magazines add all the benefits of the internet. EasyTechJunkie explained that these online magazines “add animations and links within the magazine to make it more informative or aesthetically better.” Magazines being online add several avenues of information that cannot be ignored. If a reader wants more extensive information, the reader can click reference links or watch attached videos. Everything cited and additional information is provided with a touch of a button.
This digital media has a lot to offer, but how does this relate to kids?
Over the last few years with COVID-19 and lockdown, parents began searching for different learning opportunities for their children; in that, they found digital magazines. With platforms like KidsWorldFun, parents are exposed to several options of topics to choose from. They range from educational subjects like science and math to other general fun topics like stories and social happenings. Children can also access adult-marketed magazines in a kid-friendly format on subjects they can digest. This includes magazines like Times, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated.
This creates the value of entertainment and engagement for a kid while also teaching them about subjects that are important. A science digital magazine could have a game where children have to take care of a plant to show photosynthesis or a literature magazine that has the kids change the story with verbs and nouns. Kids could also learn about varied interests like art and music.
Within these kid-marketed magazines, children have access to fun videos, animations, games, and animated scavenger hunts. This digital media allows for an interactive learning experience that scratches a child’s need for entertainment and technology in this new era. The National Center for Education Statistics explains that 97% of all kids between the ages of three and eighteen have home internet available to them. This being noted, these magazines would not normally be difficult to download for a parent. Their child would have a fun and informative tool to use and play with. It being digital just makes it more available when a parent or child wants it.
It is fun and easy to access, but what about the known benefits?
Rocking Rockets has an entire article dedicated to the benefits found in classrooms when digital magazines are being utilized. Teachers notice their children’s excitement but also see a difference in their literacy development. The students are given access to these magazines that teach poetry, nonfiction, and additional crafts and experiments. Teachers have seen a growth in their students’ willingness and excitement to learn. This digital media creates a fun atmosphere to absorb new information that feeds off this “iPad Native” generation instead of fighting against it.
Aside from Rocking Rockets, Exact Editions claims that “Technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate and education must evolve with it by developing new learning strategies and embracing new resources.” Essentially, digital magazines serve to improve child education and development by moving with the world and the inventions and innovations of the internet. Children benefit from this media because it is colorful, expressive, and interesting. The possibilities are endless when it comes to topics and learning material. Children benefit from reading and magazines are a step in the right direction.
Is screen time the enemy?
There have been many studies based on children and the amount of screen time that is acceptable. The findings range from positive and negative. Generally, children who are exposed to screens during the crucial developmental years are found to struggle with sleep, obesity, and language delays. At times these kids miss the building of social skills. Emotional cues and facial expressions are most commonly missed in this period when screen time isn’t regulated or left unchecked.
Along with the negatives, there still remain a few positives. It allows for better reinforcement of a lesson through videos, and it also gives home-schooled children more material to use and build off of. Other studies have shown an increase in creativity and healthy habits when exposed to the right material. Many believe, including SafeSearchKids, that it is less about how much they watch and more about the content they are consuming. Clear boundaries and monitoring can help detour several of the negative impacts.
How much does it cost?
Digital magazines are accessible and particularly low in cost. Medium claims that on average a consumer would spend $10 to $20 a month. There are several streaming services that cost more than it would be to provide a child with a digital, interactive, and educational magazine. Many try one or two before dedicating to a single magazine for their kids. Several digital magazines offer free trials to assist in helping a child or parent make a dedicated decision.
What do digital magazines directed toward kids have to offer, and what is the impact?
Through the resources cited and provided, many will be divided on the answer to this question. It is best to make decisions regarding your child based on your parenting style and your kid’s general interests. Digital media, whether it be magazines for kids, articles, or videos, chosen with care and research can never be a wrong answer.
Kids will continue to learn, grow, and flourish through the growing digital presence. Digital magazines for kids are only the beginning of possibilities to come through online media.