PBS Kids has launched a pilot for a new digital project to teach media literacy to kids aged 6-11. Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius explores the constantly changing world of media, and how kids use technology, to help families become more media literate.
Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the project brings back the much-loved character Ruff Ruffman from PBS Kids’ popular game show, FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman andplaces him in a new setting. It employs original animation and interactive features, including videos, quizzes and polls for kids, and also provides resources for parents to discuss both the fun of online discovery and how to engage in safe behavior using technology. The pilot focuses on texting, sharing photographs, using search and finding an appropriate balance of technology use, and has already garnered more than 1.8 million streams in its first three weeks.
This project adapts best practices in media education, utilizing current research and examining trends in media use to explore this new space. Developers surveyed more than 4,000 kids and 250 parents to turn kids' questions into new videos with Ruff. The site includes a dedicated area for parents and caregivers that offers a community forum to discuss families’ positive and negative experiences with technology, as well as a wide range of family rules about technology use. A new collection on PBS LearningMedia offers a set of companion resources for teachers. The project will continue to expand as consultation with a large and diverse group of media academics and practitioners provides a dynamic and practical accompanying curriculum.