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  • Parents now have an easier way to find the variety of excellent family-friendly online content that exists, thanks to the newly-launched Richard and Linda Eyre Family Is Awards. Tweet This
  • "It's unfortunate that so many think of social media as a toxic place, because, though it can certainly be that, it can also be a place where parents are encouraged and given ideas and examples that will strengthen their families." Tweet This

Finding quality, family-friendly content online can be tough for busy parents, especially those of us who are not as familiar (as our kids might be) with all the different platforms out there, like YouTube or Instagram. But with many families at home and finishing up online school for the year and a long uncertain summer stretching before us, it is more important than ever for families to know where to access media content that will enrich and support family values rather than degrade them. The good news is that parents now have an easier way to find the variety of excellent family-friendly media, thanks to the newly-launched Richard and Linda Eyre Family Is Awards.

Named after New York Times' best-selling authors, TV show hosts, and parenting experts, Richard and Linda Eyre, who also serve as honorary chairpersons, the Family Is Awards are a wonderful resource for parents who are looking for family-friendly online content for themselves and their kids. Earlier this year, IFS senior fellow W. Bradford Wilcox was honored by the Eyres to receive a Family Is award for the research and education work featured on the Institute for Family Studies' blog.

Dr. Eyre recently spoke with IFS about the Family Is Awards and how to nominate other family-friendly media for recognition. 

IFS: Tell us about the Family Is Awards and why you and Linda became involved. 

Richard Eyre: After 40 years of writing and speaking to parents, we began to realize that the more effective way to reach today’s parents is online. But the difficulty of trying to massively expand the reach of our own social media was daunting and time consuming, and we came to realize that what we wanted to become was a catalyst to find and help expand the influence of existing social media influencers whose content fortifies families. 

We began working with Jamie and Mike Taylor on recognition awards for the most family-helping blogs, podcasts, Instagram, Facetime, YouTube and websites. When the Taylors, experts in online events and awards, asked us to be Honorary Chairs and proposed naming the awards after us, we were happy to accept. 

The awards are given in the six categories I mentioned. There are two winners each year in each category, one called the “People’s Choice Award,” which is chosen by online voting, and the other called the “Judges Award,” selected by a carefully chosen Judging Panel.

IFS: Social media can be a toxic place, particular for young girls. How are you hoping to change that with these awards?

Richard Eyre: It is unfortunate that so many think of social media as a toxic place, because, though it can certainly be that, it can also be a place where parents are encouraged, reinforced, and given the kind of ideas and examples that will strengthen their families.

But the online universe is huge, and the negative and family-undermining sites are much easier to find than the positive family-helping locations.  Through the nominating and screening and awarding phases of Family Is, we have been able to shine a light on hundreds of social media entities that are pro-family in the practical sense and which offer the kinds of content that parents and families want.

IFS: You received a long list of nominations in 2019 for the first-ever Family.Is awards. Were you surprised by the number of nominations you received, and more generally by the amount of quality content that is out there?

Richard Eyre: We actually were surprised by the quantity of good family-oriented sites and by the quality of the approaches and ideas that they offer. For a busy parent to go out on his or her own and try to find the social media that could be helpful is just too big a task. But our nomination and screening process located the best of the best and continues to make those lists available to couples and parents.

IFS: This was the first year of the Family Is awards. Who were some of the winners, and why were these specific groups or platforms chosen?

Richard Eyre: We are proud of all of the winners, and the full list can be found here, but I'll give you a sampling: The Crosby Family won the Judge's Award for Best YouTube because of the family-centric way they present their family music, particularly that of their 6-year-old daughter. Alec Lace won the People’s Choice Award for his podcast “First Class Fatherhood” on which he interviews both celebrity and regular fathers and learns how they approach and succeed at their role. Dina Alexander was the Judge's Award winner in the Website category for her “Educate and Empower Kids” site, where she presents family ideas that are practical, as well as new and exciting. Jennifer Borget’s blog, “Cherish 365,” which centers on the joy of family relationships, took the honors as the People’s Choice Award in the Blog category. Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson East was the winner in the Instagram People’s Choice category for her posts @shawnjohnson where she has nearly three million followers and where she focuses on life with husband Andrew East and their first baby daughter. The other Instagram award went to The Bucket List Family, who posts daily on their completely family-focused worldwide adventures. 

IFS: How do you nominate a family-friendly social media platform or website for consideration next year and what is the general process for nominations?

Richard Eyre: Nominations will open again in the next couple of weeks, and anyone can go to the website to nominate in any of the six categories for the 2021 awards.  Nominations will close in January 2021, when online voting begins for the People’s Choice awards, and the Judges' panel (including last year’s winners) begin their selection process for the Judges' awards.