There are so many opinions out there on whether or not certain types of kids’ shows count towards a child’s daily screen time. Does Ms. Rachel count as screen time, though?
You’ve likely heard that Ms. Rachel is not only good for babies and toddlers but that it doesn’t even count as screen time.
That’s quite an impressive claim. Is there any merit to it, though? What does the science say about Ms. Rachel or shows like her hit Youtube channel, Songs for Littles?
Let’s dive right in and see if we can move beyond the hype and find some answers.
Who is Ms. Rachel?
If you haven’t heard of Ms. Rachel, according to parents on social media all over the world, you need to get in the know.
Ms. Rachel is a YouTube sensation that produces fun and educational content on her channel, Songs for Littles.
Her real name is Rachel Griffin Accurso and she’s a New York City preschool teacher with a master’s in music education.
She was inspired to create educational videos for a YouTube channel after struggling to find YouTube content that would help her speech-delayed son verbally progress.
Songs for Littles has over 2 million subscribers and is nearing a total of 1 billion views.
Is Ms. Rachel educational?
Ms. Rachel’s YouTube content can be considered educational for toddlers and preschoolers. Songs for Littles covers topics like emotions and has a lot of nursery rhyme videos, as well.
(Nursery rhymes are great for word play and pattern recognition, which are important literacy skills.)
She also covers colors, numbers, and shapes on her channel.
Learning colors and shapes through videos is pretty innocuous.
However, experts agree that learning math skills via screens is not ideal and that it’s rote memorization, which is not helpful (and can even be harmful) in the long term as it only mimics a true understanding of math concepts.
Overall, it’s a true statement that Ms. Rachel produces educational content.
Does Ms. Rachel count as screen time?
Now that you’ve got a nice of the purpose of Songs for Littles and you know a bit about the strengths and weaknesses of the educational videos, let’s find out if you should count Ms. Rachel as screen time for your child or not.
The simple answer is that yes, Ms. Rachel does count as screen time.
The argument against counting Ms. Rachel with a child’s daily screen time is that her videos are live-action and interactive, much like a video chat session.
Both the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the WHO (World Health Organization) say that screen time under 2 is ok for toddlers, as long as it’s video chatting.
This is because toddlers benefit from the bonding and social-emotional skills that come with real-time conversations, even ones that take place over screens.
There are benefits to language development that come with video chats. They give toddlers practice with both listening to language, as well as speaking.
Ms. Rachel is not the same as a video chat. She does ask the home audience questions during her videos, but toddlers don’t get the full language development benefits of a real video chat conversation.
There is also no social-emotional benefit because there’s no true interaction.
So, yes, Ms. Rachel counts as screen time.
Ms. Rachel has a great thing going on in her videos. She speaks slowly, enunciates, and has the camera focus on her mouth when she speaks at certain times.
This is great – it’s certainly what many other YouTube kids’ shows are missing.
When co-viewed and processed with a parent or caregiver, Ms. Rachel can be a good tool for speech development.
It can’t replace interaction with you, the caregiver, though. And it does count as screen time.