Study of Media Use of 8- to 18-Year-Olds

The Kaiser Foundation has funded studies that are now getting longitudinal data, 1999-2009,  on media use in 8- to 18-year-olds. Although the basic finding is no surprise – yes, they are consuming more media today than in either 1999 or 2004 –  the statistics gathered and how they are consuming the media make for interesting reading. Some examples of what they’ve found:

  • In 2004, this group averaged 6.5 hours of media consumption per day, but by multi-tasking actually averaged 8.5 hours of content. In 2009, this increased to 7.5 hours of consumption per day, and averaged 10.75 hours of multi-tasked content. That’s a lot of multi-tasking going on – you might read another research study on multi-taskers.
  • Reading of newspapers and magazines has decreased over the past ten years (from 20 minutes per day to 12), but reading of books has increased from 21 to 25 minutes per day. Maybe the news and magazines are now being read on the web?
  • Looking at the differences between heavy  (>16 hours), moderate (3-16 hours), and light (<3 hours) users, the moderate and light users are very close (usually within 5% points of each other, even 1% for many) when asking about good grades, having a lot of friends, getting along with parents, being happy at school, often bored, getting into a lot of trouble, or often sad/unhappy. The heavy users are at least 10% points off, e.g., they get worse grades, don’t get along with parent quite as well, haven’t been as happy at school, are more bored, get into more trouble, and are more sad/unhappy.  Is there a large difference? No. But it is definitely noticeable in the numbers.
  • The highest use of media is in 11-14 year-olds (8.75 hours of media use per day and 12 hours when including multi-tasking), although the 15-18-year-olds aren’t far behind, and Hispanic and Black youth (9.25 and 9.75 hours of media use per day, respectively, and 13 hours when including multi-tasking).

Media consumption includes watching TV (both time-shifted and not), listening to music or other audio, using a computer, playing video games, reading, and watching movies.

Now the question – is this a good thing? Or is it just . . . change?

[from International Business Times]

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