According to a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the amount of time young people spend engaging in entertainment media has increased by an hour and seventeen minutes a day over the past five years. The study claims that today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media during a typical day (more than 53 hours a week).
Studies show that the rise of mobile devices being used as multi-media devices, such as cell phones and iPods, has been the primary culprit. “The bottom line is that all these advances in media technologies are making it even easier for young people to spend more and more time with media,” said Victoria Rideout, Foundation Vice President and director of the study. “It’s more important than ever that researchers, policymakers and parents stay on top of the impact it’s having on their lives.
According to the report, only about three in ten young people say they have rules about how much time they can spend watching TV (28 percent) or playing video games (30 percent), and 36 percent say the same about using the computer. Today’s youth admit that their homes are very “TV-centric,” with (64 percent) of young people claiming the TV is usually on during meals, and just under half (45 percent) saying the TV is left on “most of the time” in their home, even if no one is watching. Seven in ten (71 percent) have a TV in their bedroom, and half (50 percent) have a console video game player in their room.
Although the study cannot determine a cause and effect relationship between media use and grades, it has acknowledged the differences between light and heavy media users in that about half of heavy media users tend to get fair or poor grades compared to about a quarter of light users.
Even with the rise of social networking through MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and the various other mediums of media, TV remains the dominate type of media content consumed, at 4:29 a day, followed by music/audio at 2:31, computers at 1:29, video games at 1:13, print at :38, and movies at :25 a day.
The more today’s young people indulge in media usage, the better they come at multi-tasking the assorted mediums that exist. According to the study, high levels of media multitasking also contribute to the large amount of media young people consume each day. About 4 in 10 7th-12th graders say they use another medium “most” of the time they’re listening to music (43 percent), using a computer (40 percent), or watching TV (39 percent).
According to staff at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the report is based on a survey conducted between October 2008 and May 2009 among a nationally representative sample of 2,002 3rd-12th grade students ages 8-18. Respondents completed a self-administered written questionnaire in the classroom. It focuses on recreational use of media and covers TV, movies, computers, video games, music/audio, and print.
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