Samsung research shows how TV is facilitating edutainment

Mike Wheatley

Samsung has published some interesting research that shows how our TV viewing habits have changed during the coronavirus lockdown, with both adults and children increasingly using their screen time for educational and entertainment purposes.


Samsung’s survey of 2,000 U.K. adults revealed that screen time is being maximised as people are forced to stay at home for much of the time. Besides serving as a platform for edutainment, TV is also helping families to stay connected, with one in five adults saying it’s now their primary vehicle for communicating with others outside their homes.

Of those respondents living with children, two thirds reported that their kids’ screen time has also risen. One third said their children are using the TV to play online video games and to socialise with friends and family members.

But the most interesting revelation is how the TV has come to serve as a kind of “home school” for children, who are dependent on screen time for edutainment purposes. Some 40% of respondents said their kids are using the TV on a regular basis to view educational content.

Dr Kairen Cullen, a chartered educational psychologist, said TV is playing various roles in most households, serving as a platform for both interactive game-playing and education.

“Encouragingly, contact with the older generation may also have been extended because of this increased and more diverse TV usage, with younger people actually teaching and enabling older people who until now have typically been less proficient in their use of new technology,” Dr. Cullen said. “This is heartening and hopefully will serve to raise positivity in inter-generational relationships as well as relationships in general, because if we can help each other at this uncertain and difficult time then future possibilities look bright.”

But it’s not only kids who’re using TV for edutainment. Almost 50% of U.K. adults surveyed said that they too have been able to improve themselves and keep their minds sharp by watching documentaries and tutorials on TV. For example, 22% said they’ve used the TV to learn new recipes, while one in ten said TV has helped them to learn new craft skills. Indeed, the survey shows that many are even abandoning their favourite prime time TV shows in order to watch more educational content and practice what they’ve learnt.

Also popular are fitness shows, with 20% of Brits saying they have learnt new exercises while watching TV as they bid to keep up their health and well being.

TV is also helping to drive the trend of intergenerational gaming, with one in five Brits saying they use game time to engage with friends and family. Moreover, one in eight 18 to 24 year olds say they’ve spent time teaching older friends and family members, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, how to play online video games, so as to spend more time socialising with one another.

And so the “new normal” is that TV is now serving a pivotal role, enabling families to stay in touch while boosting morale by playing virtual games, learning and keeping fit.

“It is truly heart-warming to see how generations have been able to reunite virtually through screen time,” said Samsung U.K.’s director of TV and AV, Dan Hastings. “Whether it is to enjoy an interactive game with friends and family or to toast a virtual celebration, households have adapted to new rituals quickly. Our research shines a light on how screen time habits have shifted to adapt to these new routines because as we’ve always known, TV screen time is about more than just catching up on the latest entertainment; it is a form of escapism, it is educational and it is keeping family members connected with others.”