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David Kleeman
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Strategist, analyst, author and speaker — for a quarter-century, David Kleeman has led the children’s media industry in developing sustainable, kid-friendly solutions. In May 2013, he broadened his focus, and is now building a unique new global kids & family "think tank” as Senior Vice President of Insights Programs and PlayVangelist for PlayCollective.

PlayCollective is a global market research, strategic business planning, brand building, and multi-platform product development company, that works with organizations of all sizes.

From 1988-2013, Kleeman was President of the American Center for Children and Media, promoting the exchange of ideas, expertise and information as a means for building quality. He remains advisory board chair to the international children's TV festival (Prix Jeunesse), a 2013 Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, and a Governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. In 2014, he received the “Pioneer” Award from Kids @ Play Interactive.

Kleeman travels worldwide seeking best practices in children’s and family media, technology and products; he has given presentations on six continents. He writes extensively for trade and general press, including two book chapters and commentaries for the Huffington Post and Kidscreen.

Entries by David Kleeman

10 Reasons Why We Need Research Literacy, Not Scare Columns

(9) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 6:43 PM

This column was co-authored with Glenda Revelle, Associate Professor, University of Arkansas, and Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents, and the Media at the University of Amsterdam, with additional contributions from members of the Children and Media Professionals group on Facebook.

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Kids and Educational Media: Desire to Learn vs. Design to Teach

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 3:42 PM

This week, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center published a fantastically rich study of children, families and media called "Learning at Home." Among other findings, it quantified something observers of the field had suspected for some time: Kids' consumption of educational content drops precipitously after age 5...

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In Media, Home and Schools: I Teach. You Learn. I Hope.

(1) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 5:28 PM

I teach. You learn.

I hope.

Sadly, the relationship isn't 1:1; if it was, schooling would be far more successful, and educator assessment simpler.

In most situations, to teach conveys intent: a goal, plan and curriculum.

Learning is far more complex, resting on a wide variety of factors. These include...

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Children and Families, Media and Play: The Five Minute Futurist

(1) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 12:42 PM

At last week's Children's Media Conference in Sheffield, England, I was asked to play the "five minute futurist" - to project ten coming trends or developments for children and families (this being the 10th annual CMC, everything was "top tens"). The night before the panel, I told someone...

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Grasping at Elephants: Reporting on Kids Media Research

(1) Comments | Posted March 29, 2013 | 4:50 PM

I've written here (more than once) about the need for greater research literacy, not just for the general public but also among journalists, as they are often the public's first line of information and understanding about emerging study findings. This week, we've seen a prime example...

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The Two Freds

(2) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 5:30 PM

I've just begun a Senior Fellowship with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. For someone in my field, merely having my name in the same sentence as Mister Rogers is a heady, humbling experience. I'm too old to...

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Big Bird is Proxy for a Golden Goose

(8) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 12:35 PM

If the threat weren't so serious, the flood of viral "Sesame Street" image mash-ups, Facebook posts and Tweets would be highly amusing. Public broadcasting supporters have been wonderfully inventive in slamming Mitt Romney's debate claim that he "loves Big Bird," but would end government public media subsidies.

I'm concerned, though,...

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Transmedia Makers: Frustration + Opportunity = Magic

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 12:02 PM

When the frustrated imagination of a generation meets the opportunity to bring its dreams to life, will magic occur?

For some time, I've been bothered by malleable use of the term "transmedia"; it seemed that the term could mean whatever a children's media content creator wanted or needed for the...

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Going 'Screen Free' vs. Getting 'Screen Smart'

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 12:02 PM

April 30 - May 6 is "Screen-Free Week," intended to help families "break the screen habit." Unfortunately, by emphasizing "break" rather than "manage," this annual event doesn't promote wise family media habits any more than "Eat Nothing Week" would foster healthy diets.

When it was established in 1994, "TV Turnoff...

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Children and Media: Pediatricians' Monolith Myth

(8) Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 11:58 AM

Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released the long-awaited update to its 1999 policy statement on media use by children younger than two. I am amazed that with 12 years to work on it, the AAP labored so mightily and brought forth such a mouse.

To be sure,...

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Spongebob Squarepants vs. Caillou: Both of These Things Are Not LIke the Other

(19) Comments | Posted September 15, 2011 | 4:48 PM

News sources can't resist an inflammatory headline about the ills of exposing children to media. Academics, increasingly in an environment where "publish or perish" isn't enough: you have to publish and publicize, are all too willing to oblige. This week, the perpetrator has been an innocent and entertaining...

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Bert and Ernie: Just "Ducky" As They Are

(12) Comments | Posted August 12, 2011 | 4:50 PM

Earlier this week, a participant on change.org launched an online petition for Sesame Street to "let" Bert and Ernie get married. I'm a strong advocate of marriage equality and LGBT rights, but here's why I think this petition is ill-advised.

Sesame Street curriculum is built around...

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Parents and Media Ratings: Context Isn't a New Concept

(1) Comments | Posted June 21, 2011 | 2:20 PM

In the July issue of "Pediatrics," a research team headed by Iowa State's Douglas Gentile found that parents are not satisfied with age-based rating systems like those used by the television V-chip, on video game boxes, or for movies by the MPAA. As I read coverage of the...

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Achieving e-Quality

(3) Comments | Posted April 26, 2011 | 11:36 AM

As long as media have created content for children, there have been debates about what defines "quality." From the "penny dreadfuls" to radio to comic books to music, and onward to TV and digital media, parents have been cautioned about wasted time, moral decay or learning delays. At the same...

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Animated "Governator"? Other Pols Say, "Me, Toon"!

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2011 | 1:30 PM

He said he'd be back, and here he is. At the MIP-TV television market in Cannes, France, one of the children's series up for sale is The Governator, a little retirement project for former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The animated program combines all his previous careers -- bodybuilder,...

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Why Commercial Media and Its Fans Should Support Public Broadcasting

(23) Comments | Posted February 15, 2011 | 10:53 AM

This week is the "perfect storm" of children's entertainment conferences -- Toy Fair, Engage Expo and the Kidscreen Summit. Executives, creators and analysts representing merchandise, TV and digital screen media, music and books, and more have descended on New York to see what's new and debate the state of our...

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CES 2011: I Second That E-Motion

(6) Comments | Posted January 16, 2011 | 8:22 PM

Last week, I attended my first Consumer Electronics Show, the massive exhibition of all things technology in Las Vegas. Not unlike Sin City itself, it's something everyone should see once, just for the jaw-dropping sensory overload. With 140,000 attendees walking 35 football fields of show floor, it's no surprise that...

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"A Screen Is a Screen Is a Screen" Is a Meme

(13) Comments | Posted December 8, 2010 | 7:56 AM

Children's television has been a playground for memes for as long as it's existed (much longer than "meme" has been a word!). Most are light and from pop culture -- from Davy Crockett coonskin caps to rumors of gay Teletubbies. Others grow from more dire murmurs about media's effects on...

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Law, Sausages & Kidvid: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

(5) Comments | Posted August 25, 2010 | 5:09 PM

Children's television icon Fred Rogers was fond of quoting from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "The Little Prince": "That which is essential is invisible to the eye." Of course, the invisible essential can be wondrous or appalling. It's long been said that one should never see law or sausages being made; in...

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Screen Time Screeds -- Why Parents and Journalists Need to "Speak Research"

(13) Comments | Posted July 25, 2010 | 10:02 PM

In recent weeks, papers worldwide have punched parents' guilt buttons yet again by hyping a study that claims screen time harms children. Editors seemingly competed to give the Iowa State University research the most extreme headline: "Watching TV and playing video games can 'DOUBLE risk of getting ADHD',"...

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