Why audio content is best for kids?

Know why audio is parents go-to guide for the health of their children

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It is now a well established fact that content consumption for adults in the audio format has gone main-stream and has been registering a stable growth rates for last several years. Infinite Dial Report 2020, which is one of the most authoritative studies on audio streaming, found out that almost 192 MN in US have consumed some form of online audio in last one year. The same study points out that 68% of 12-18 years old in US now own a radio vs. 48% of 18-34 years old which implies more of the younger age groups are turning towards audio formats than their parents. Even in India, PWC report indicated that nearly 40 MN people listened to some kind of podcast in 2018. But why would today’s young generation opt for audio content when the world is deluged with video and other content formats? We believe the answer to that question lies in the scientific, psychological and personality development benefits that audio as a content format offers which is unique from other formats.

Understanding the Power of Audio

The current population of 18+ has been brought up in the world of YouTube and Facebook and while growing up, they were both amazed and excited by the plethora of choices that came along with these platforms. But now a digital fatigue is started to set in and people, especially younger ones i.e. under 18 years, are getting conscious and smarter while allocating their daily time slots. There is no doubt that video as format is a necessity in today’s world, but these youngsters are able to comprehend what other avenues they need to explore to help with their overall personality development.

During the pandemic, when even schools have gone online and play dates with friends are happening over a zoom call, there are tons of reasons for both kids and their parent to be concerned about the exponential rise in digital screen times and to explore alternative options. And in this article, we are going to delve deep into how audio as an entertainment source can be a great rescue during these pandemic times while also helping develop some critical skills in kids which they can benefit from as they grow up.

Before we start, let’s define what is audio as a content format and what comes under the remit of audio content. In its simplest form, audio can be used to describe any form of sound or noise which a human is capable of hearing, hence audio content is any piece of structure content that either entertains or educates the listener. Audio, as a format, capitalizes on emotional and human interest interface to connect with the masses. Audio has indeed evolved over the years. It started with the use of gramophone records, then reinvented with the form of radio, then to compact cassettes and audio disks, and now finally in the form of digital audio that is available in our palms. In this digital world, the number of audio content options has exploded and covers a gamut of offerings like web radio, music, stories, podcasts, audio-books to even self-help courses.

Now that we understand audio better, let’s take a deep dive into the various benefits offered by this mode of content consumption over several others. The benefits can technically be broken down into physiological and psychological benefits.

Top 10 Benefits of Audio Content In Kids:

1. Audio increases imagination & creativity 

Undoubtedly, the most important benefit of audio is that it helps to build imagination and creativity in listeners. Whenever we are listening to audio content without the aid of any visual screens, human mind, by nature, is programmed to create a visual representation of the situation where we perceive that audio content is actually being played out. If we refer back to our own childhood days, we all would have heard the all-time favourite story of Cinderella.

Each one of us had their own unique version of how the carriage looked like, what colour the glass shoes were, how did her dress look like etc. And it was not until we all saw the Cinderella movie on widescreen that all our imaginations came crashing down and everyone in the world had pretty much similar visuals playing in our minds every time the story was read out from a book or played as a podcast or an audiobook. This ability to develop and hone your visualization and imagination skills is the power of audio and at Chimes Radio, we believe this is the earliest form of Augmented Reality, wherein the storytellers were able to use to give us a personalized experience in the theatres of our minds.

2. Helps develop focusing skills

Audio can be consumed while you are multi-tasking. Since you are not focussing your eyes on a book or a digital screen, it is the only medium which you can enjoy while going on a walk, playing games in your house or even while doing household chores. For kids, it’s especially fruitful as they can enjoy music or stories while they are doing homework or some other art and craft activities.

3. Improves listening skills

With no visual aids to our support (and distraction in some cases), listeners are solely relying on the power of audio to make sense of the content. Thus they tune their minds to focus more effectively on the sound waves falling on their ears, pays close attention to what is being said and process the information effectively. This habit of listening to others is probably one of the most important qualities which humans need when they grow up and kids can be trained from a young age to do that using audio content.

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4. Develops empathy in listeners

With no screens available to paint the picture for us, audio listener by default gets more closely connected to the audio content and tries to paint a picture of the setup, location, city, characters which are being referred to in the audio content. A good narrator even brings the entire setup alive in the mind of the audience using his voice modulations. Scientific research suggests that when we are closely connected to the situation, we feel more emphatic to the story and its characters and story line.

5. Helps strengthen memory and comprehension 

To get the core message behind the audio content, listener tend to be more focussed and attentive. Have you ever been to a presentation where the audience was more interested in the slides being presented than what the presenter is saying? I bet almost everyone has at some point in time. This often happens when we get distracted and rely on one of our dominant sense organs more than the others. But scientific research has again proven that when we listen carefully, it leads to better comprehension of the core message and also helps in expanding the retention levels.

6. Builds vocabulary and corrects pronunciation

Since while listening to audio, we are more attentive and curious, we tend to focus more on each and every word that is being spoken or played which eventually helps us to learn new words and languages. Picking up international accents, correcting pronunciations by listening to native speakers of the language are added benefits of the audio content.

7. Teaches voice modulation

Listening to good storytellers and speakers help us learn their presentation styles – voice modulations to emphasise a point, pauses to let the idea sink in, gracefully summarising a key point etc. This helps kids from an early age to build confidence in public speaking which is essential since as per a research, more than 75% population in the world suffers from the phobia of public speaking.

8. Reduces negative thinking

Often parents are complaining about their kids being aggressive or destructive while playing with their friends and younger siblings. Often the reason for this is the leftover energy in kids for which they are unable to find a source to let out. Keeping them engaged in physical exercises or games while enjoying audio in the background can be very helpful trick. Did you hear – Ideal minds are devil’s homes? Also if your child is full of energy, they might not have the control and composure required to sit down and read a book, this is where audio offers a great middle-ground too.

9. Easy for eyes

While every mode of content has its benefits and video can be a great tool to explain difficult concepts or take virtual tours of a place, but it is often are found to be addictive and also impact the long term health of kids. According to a survey done by Jarma Wellness in 2019 and published by Indian Express, almost 50% kids in higher secondary schools are suffering from myopia/hyperopia while 33% are already wearing glasses. Audio entertainment thus can give a great and much needed respite to kids during this time, especially when schools have also gone online due to Covid. Try the free Indian kids podcast and audio story network – Chimes.

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10. Academic benefits

Audio listening helps kids develop knowledge, vocabulary and comprehension levels beyond their age which can really help them excel in academics too. It allows them to take on more complex subjects and read advanced stages of content. They can engage in knowledgeable discussions with peers, seniors and adults alike which further helps to boost their self confidence. Knowing various accents, delivery styles also help them become better orators.

Takeaway from the importance of audio content:

So to summarize, the combination of play, music and stories in audio format is very effective to serve the emotional, intellectual, social, and creative developmental needs of the children. With the focus on both the actual content and the delivery style, audio offers a fine balance between art and science. So if you are planning to expose your kids to audio now, we recommend starting small. Depending on their age, right kind of content should be used to sway them away from screens

E.g.- playful nursery rhymes with role play can be a great starting point for young toddlers, while simple short stories can be a great fit for pre-schoolers.

Read our other article:

Reduce Your Child's Screentime by 30%

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