Enjoying Online Video

Watching online video is a great way to connect with your child’s interests... in a slightly different way.

Although similar, watching video online can be a very different experience than watching the same program on television.

Unlike a traditional broadcast schedule, online videos allow your child to be in charge -- clicking on shows that are of most interest to him. For young children who crave a little power, this can be an exciting opportunity. (Yay! Back-to-back Barney!)

At Sprout, video clips are shorter than full-length programs, allowing children who naturally have shorter attention spans to take a small bite and move on. Studies show that kids aren't the only ones with shorter attention spans -- adults prefer shorter formats online, too.

Another aspect of online viewing is that it tends to be more focused. With mouse in hand, your child is less likely to be playing with toys or doing other things that may distract him. If TV is engaging, online video is more so.

Because your child is closer to the screen when watching video online, the experience is also more intimate. This may allow him to observe more details, like a tear in an eye or a mouse in a pocket. Your child may grasp more of the story as he notices more visual clues.

If co-viewing, your personal connection is more intimate, too. You might share a sofa while watching TV, but share a chair while watching video online. Conversation will seem more natural with your heads touching than when you have to yell across the room.

Take advantage of that close proximity and talk about what you are watching. You'll enjoy hearing your child's point of view, and set the stage for future conversations about media choices.