Kids and media

BoardBuzz was interested to learn about a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) media usage study via Ars Technica. The study focuses on the media usage of 8- to 18-year-olds. We already had a pretty good idea that kids spend much of their time watching tv, playing video games, or interacting online. Well, this latest study reveals that kids spend almost every waking hour outside of school consuming some form of media. In 2009, the average 8- to 18-year-old had nearly 11 hours of media exposure per day.

A breakdown of media consumption among types and age groups. Total media use time is lower than exposure due to a 30 percent average of "media multitasking."

A breakdown of media consumption among types and age groups. Total media use time is lower than exposure due to a 30 percent average of "media multitasking."

Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds is the third in a series of large-scale, nationally representative surveys by the Foundation about young people’s media use. It includes data from all three waves of the study (1999, 2004, and 2009), and is among the largest and most comprehensive publicly available sources of information about media use among American youth.

Additional findings include:

  • Reading. Over the past 5 years, time spent reading books remained steady at about :25 a day, but time with magazines and newspapers dropped (from :14 to :09 for magazines, and from :06 to :03 for newspapers). The proportion of young people who read a newspaper in a typical day dropped from 42% in 1999 to 23% in 2009. On the other hand, young people now spend an average of :02 a day reading magazines or newspapers online.
  • Media and homework. About half of young people say they use media either “most” (31%) or “some” (25%) of the time they’re doing their homework.
  • Rules about media content. Fewer than half of all 8- to 18-year-olds say they have rules about what TV shows they can watch (46%), video games they can play (30%), or music they’re allowed to listen to (26%).  Half (52%) say they have rules about what they can do on the computer.
  • Gender gap. Girls spend more time than boys using social networking sites (:25 vs. :19), listening to music (2:33 vs. 2:06), and reading (:43 vs. :33). Boys spend more time than girls playing console video games (:56 vs.: 14), computer games (:25 vs. :08), and going to video websites like YouTube (:17 vs. :12).
  • Tweens and media. Media use increases substantially when children hit the 11-14 year-old age group, an increase of 1:22 with TV content, 1:14 with music, 1:00 using the computer, and :24 playing video games, for total media exposure of 11:53 per day (vs. 7:51 for 8-10 year-olds).
  • Texting. 7th-12th graders report spending an average of 1:35 a day sending or receiving texts. (Time spent texting is not counted as media use in this study.)

What do you think of the study results? Read the full report and decide for yourself.

Erin Walsh|January 22nd, 2010|Categories: Educational Technology, Student Achievement, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|


  1. […] with a teenager knows that the use of digital media is on the rise. As BoardBuzz previously mentioned, in a recent report issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit research organization, the […]

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