For South African Parents, Play and Technology Are Educational

Parents of preschoolers in South Africa believe that their kids learn best through play – and that technology is making their kids smarter.

How are parents preparing their preschool-age children for the rapidly changing world around them?

Viacom’s recent project, Little Big Kids: Preschoolers Ready for Life sought to answer this question. For this study, Viacom spoke to the parents, grandparents and siblings of 6,500 preschoolers in 12 countries – as well as to preschoolers ages 2 to 5 themselves. In South Africa, 549 moms and dads were surveyed.

Here are some key insights about how parents in South Africa are working to get their kids “life-ready”:

South African parents feel anxious about their preschoolers’ safety and future prospects. Parents everywhere worry about keeping their kids safe, but in South Africa that concern is particularly high (47% South Africa, 38% globally). Virtually all parents there are uneasy about their kids’ futures (97%) – higher than the global average of 91%.

They see play as an educational tool. Nearly 8 in 10 South African parents (78%) believe their preschoolers learn best through play – above the global average of 72%. Additionally, 78% of South African parents think learning through play is more important than formal learning for preschoolers (72% globally).

They’re big proponents of outdoor play. Parents in South Africa are more likely than their global peers to encourage their preschoolers to play outside (82% South Africa, 76% globally). On top of that, nearly two-thirds in South Africa believe their preschoolers are happiest when playing outdoors (63%).

They believe technology enhances their kids’ intelligence. Nearly three-quarters of South African parents think technology is making their kids smarter (73%), compared with 61% globally. These parents may be turning to tech to fill in gaps in the educational system. As such, it’s important to them to keep up with the latest technological developments (64%). TVs are the most common device available to preschoolers (85%), followed by tablets (59%) and mobile phones (58%).