Media as Social Partners: The Social Nature of Young Children’s Learning From Screen Media


  • This article was written with the support of Grant 0623821 from the National Science Foundation.

concerning this article should be addressed to Rebekah A. Richert, 900 University Ave., Riverside, CA 92521. Electronic mail may be sent to


Television has become a nearly ubiquitous feature in children’s cultural landscape. A review of the research into young children’s learning from television indicates that the likelihood that children will learn from screen media is influenced by their developing social relationships with on-screen characters, as much as by their developing perception of the screen and their symbolic understanding and comprehension of information presented on screen. Considering the circumstances in which children under 6 years learn from screen media can inform teachers, parents, and researchers about the important nature of social interaction in early learning and development. The findings reviewed in this article suggest the social nature of learning, even learning from screen media.