Rising Media Consumption For Kids Aged Eight to Eighteen

By July 02, 2010

Media usage by children and teens has increased, with healthy growth in mobile and Internet usage, as shown by this year's Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 -Year-Olds is the last of three

surveys from 1999, 2004 and 2009 tracking publicly available information on the role of television, print media and Internet on the lives of young people.

In this age group, mobile device ownership has grown in the last five years "from 39% to 66% for cell phones, and from 18% to 76% for iPods and other MP3 players." With functionality diversification within these gadgets, time has increased in their usage: "young people now spend more time listening to music, playing games, and watching TV on their cell phones (a total of :49 daily) than they spend talking on them (:33)."

Ownership and functionality play these pivotal roles in usage increase, but parents' rules regarding media is extremely influential. "Only about three in ten young people say they have rules about how much time they can spend watching TV (28%) or playing video games (30%), and 36% say the same about using the computer." But any limit makes a big difference: any time limits cause kids to consume nearly three hours less of media per day than those with no rules at all. Regarding content, less than half of kids surveyed 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.

Most popular online activities are social networking, playing games, and visiting video sites. Most 7-12th graders have a profile on a social networking site. New media usage differs significantly by gender - girls spend more time social networking, listening to music and reading. Boys spend more time playing console and computer games, and visiting video sites.

The increase in media has upped time for music, TV, computers and video games. One reason for the large amounts of media that kids consume is multitasking - about forty percent of 7-12th graders use another medium "most of the time" when they are listening to music, using a computer or watching TV.

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