Even for parents of children used to bemoaning time spent on smartphones, laptops and tablets, the recent statistic that today’s teenager’s spend up to 9 hours a day consuming media may prove a shock. A recent report by nonprofit Common Sense Media that highlighted that figure also found that ‘tweens’, defined as 8-12 year olds, will typically spend 6 hours a day on online content. While the study was conducted in the USA, there is little reason to believe that the situation in the UK differs significantly.
The hours spent by youngsters consuming content online inevitably leads to parental concern about what information is being passed on to impressionable minds during those hours. One approach is to try and limit the media consumption of children and teens whose care we are responsible for. Another might be to positively influence the nature of what is being watched. The latter approach is being catered to by Brazilian Edtech startup Timo Kids.
Timo Kids also creates media content for tween and teens but with a difference. The company, which recently successfully closed a seed investment round, creates content on socio-educational topics that range from health to bullying and sexual harassment. The app already available in 190 countries and content available in English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The capital raised by the recent investment round will be channeled towards furthering international roll-out.
The big question is if kids are genuinely interested in the kind of media content Timo Kids produces? Can it vie for their attention in a sea of high profile vloggers and other content producer that focus on topics like fashion, beauty, video games and sport? CEO Fabiany Liny, mother to twin daughters, believes that it can. Having grown concerned about the amount of time her own kids were spending consuming media, and the questions it was provoking from them, she decided to create a product that would reach children and address their questions in the environment where they are.
Because schools and parents disseminate information in different ways, Timo Kids has two modules – one for parents and one for educators. The latter is more academic and facilitates the measurement of learning acquisition. The key to Timo Kids success is Liny’s ability to recognise and cater to what both parents and children want and need. The app’s content must deliver information and raise questions for kids in a way that both interests and engages them.
Timo Kids has succeeded in establishing numerous partnerships with companies and organisations running Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives aimed at youngsters. The goal is by working on prevention and behavioural change, kids can become social change agents. The technology also means delivery and learning can be tracked much more effectively than with traditional educational products. Liny says the aim of Time Kids, and one the company appears to be having some success in achieving:
“..is to increase consciousness and skills to help kids develop into good citizens”.