Kids Pack 10 3/4 Hours Of Media Content Into 7 1/2 Hours Every Day

by , Jan 27, 2010, 8:16 AM
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According to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, eight-to-eighteen year-olds spend an average of more than 71/2 hours a day, seven days a week with media. The aim (of this study), says Kaiser, is to provide a more solid base from which to examine media's effects on children, and to help guide those who are proactively using media to inform and educate America's youth.

Five years ago, Kaiser reported that young people spent an average of nearly 61/2 hours a day with media, and managed to pack more than 81/2 hours worth of media content into that time by multitasking. At that point it seemed that young people's lives were filled to the bursting point with media.

As of today, says the report, those levels of use have been shattered. Over the past five years, young people have increased the amount of time they spend consuming media by an hour and seventeen minutes daily, from 6:21 to 7:38, almost the amount of time most adults spend at work each day, except that young people use media seven days a week instead of five.

And, given the amount of time they spend using more than one medium at a time, today's youth pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those daily 71/2 hours, an increase of almost 21/4 hours of media exposure per day over the past five years.

Media Use (8- to-18 year-olds; Average Amount Of Time Spent With Each Medium In A Typical Day)

 

Time Spent (hrs:min)

Medium

2009

2004

1999

TV content

4:29

3:51

3:47

Music/audio

2:31

1:44

1:48

Computer

1:29

1:02

:27

Video games

1:13

:49

:26

Print

:38

:43

:43

Movies

:25

:25

:18

Total media exposure

10:45

8:33

7:29

Multitasking proportion

29%

26%

16%

Total media use

7:38

6:21

6:19

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2009

Use of every type of media has increased over the past 10 years, with the exception of reading. But breaking out different types of print does uncover some statistically significant trends. For example, time spent reading magazines dropped from 14 to  9 minutes a day over the past five years, and time spent reading newspapers went down from 6 minutes a day to 3; but time spent reading books remained steady, and actually increased slightly over the past 10 years (from 21 to 25 minutes a day).

Changes in Media Use, 2004-2009 (8- to-18 year-olds)

Medium

Change In Average Amount Of Time Spent With Each Medium In A Typical Day (minutes)

TV content

+ :38

Music/audio

+ :47

Computers

+ :27

Videogames

+ :24

Movies

n/c

Print

- :05†

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2009

Today, 20% of media consumption (2:07) occurs on mobile devices, cell phones, iPods or handheld video game players. Almost another hour consists of "old" content, TV or music, delivered through "new" pathways on a computer.

The development of mobile media has allowed young people to find even more opportunities throughout the day for using media, actually expanding the number of hours when they can consume media, often while on the go. Over the past five years, the proportion of 8- to 18-yearolds who own their own cell phone has grown from about four in ten, to about two-thirds. The proportion with iPods or other MP3 players increased even more dramatically, jumping from 18% to 76% among all 8- to 18-year-olds.

Mobile Media Ownership (8-to-18 year-olds)

Mobile Device

Percent Owning Each Platform

 

2004

2009

iPod/MP3 player

18%

76%

Cell phone

39%

66%

Laptop

12%

29%

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2009

Eight- to eighteen-year-olds today spend an average of a half-hour a day talking on their cell phones, and an average of 49 minutes a day listening to, playing or watching other media on their phones, while 7th- to 12th-graders spend 1 ½ hours a day text messaging (time spent texting is not included in the count of media use, nor is time spent talking on a cell phone in the study).

For the first time since this research began in 1999, the amount of time young people spend watching regularly scheduled programming on a television set, at the time it is originally broadcast, has declined by :25 a day but the proliferation of new ways to consume TV content has actually led to an increase of 38 minutes of daily TV consumption.

The increase includes:

  • 24 minutes a day watching TV or movies on the Internet
  • 15 minutes each watching on cell phones and iPods
  • 59% of young people's TV watching occurs on a TV set at the time the programming is originally broadcast
  • 41% is either time-shifted, or occurs on a platform other than a TV set

In the last five years, home Internet access has expanded  to 84% among young people; the proportion with a laptop has grown from 29%; and Internet access in the bedroom has jumped to 33%. The quality of Internet access has improved as well, with high-speed access increasing from 31% to 59%.

Home Internet Access (8- to-18 year-olds)

 

% With Access

Access

1999

2004

2009

Home Internet access

47%

74%

84%

High-speed/wireless home access

-

31%

59%

Internet access in their bedroom

10%

20%

33%

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2009

For purposes of comparison, young people were grouped into categories of heavy, moderate and light media users:

  • Heavy users are those who consume more than 16 hours of media content in a typical day (21% of all 8- to 18?year?olds); 
  • Moderate users are those who consume from 3-16 hours of content (63%)
  • Light users are those who consume less than three hours of media in a typical day (17%)

Nearly half of all heavy media users say they usually get fair or poor grades (mostly C's or lower), compared to 1/4 of light media users. Heavy media users are also more likely to say they get into trouble a lot, are often sad or unhappy, and are often bored.

Media, Grades and Personal Contentment (8-to-18 year-olds)

 

Type of User

Percent Who Say They Get Mostly:

HeavyUser

ModerateUser

LightUser

Good grades (A's & B's)

51%

65%

66%

Fair/poor grades (C's or below)

47%

31%

23%

Percent Who Say They:

 

 

 

Have a lot of friends

93%

91%

91%

Get along well with their parents

84%

90%

90%

Have been happy at school this year

72%

81%

82%

Are often bored

60%

53%

48%

Get into trouble a lot

33%

21%

16%

Are often sad or unhappy

32%

23%

22%

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2009

Children who live in homes that impose some type of media-related rules, spend substantially less time with media than do children with more media-lenient parents.

Media Exposure by TV Environment and Rules (8-to-18 year-olds)

TV Media exposure with:

Hours:Minutes Used

TV in bedroom

11:56

No TV in bedroom

7:55

TV left on most of the time

12:14

TV left on only a little/never

9:05

No media rules

12:43

Have media rules

9:51

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2009

When young people hit the 11- to 14-year-old age group there is an increase of more than three hours a day in time spent with media and an increase of four hours a day in total media exposure. Just as children begin to make the transition into adolescence, their media use explodes, notes the report.

  • Eleven- to fourteen-year-olds average just under nine hours of media use a day, and, with multitasking. have nearly 12 hours of media exposure
  • The biggest increases are in TV and video game use, with11- to 14-year-olds consuming an average of five hours a day of TV and movie content, and spend nearly an hour and a half a day (1:25) playing video games.

The report concludes that understanding the role of media in young people's lives is essential for those concerned about promoting the healthy development of children and adolescents, including parents, pediatricians, policymakers, children's advocates, educators, and public health groups. The purpose of this study, say the authors, is to foster that understanding by providing data about young people's media use.

Please access the full report, in PDF format, for more details here.

 

0 comments on "Kids Pack 10 3/4 Hours Of Media Content Into 7 1/2 Hours Every Day".

  1. Dan Anny from Pixel
    commented on: January 27, 2010 at 9:41 a.m.

    Cool.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: January 27, 2010 at 9:56 a.m.

    The truer this study is, the more parents need to confiscate tech toys. The U.S. is declining steadily in science and math in particular (no doubt other subjects like spelling and history) so it looks like the aheader we get, the further back we get.

  3. Jeff Weitzman from Go Factory
    commented on: January 27, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.

    One of the striking things (among many) in the report was the effect of parental involvement on time spent. Households with rules regarding media consumption had dramatically lower rates of consumption. Your readers may be interested in our advice for parents on how to discuss media use with their kids. http://go2c.sm/kaiser2010

  4. Karri Carlson from Leadtail
    commented on: January 27, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.

    It's interesting to view this data in terms of how we can make important information available and accessible to youths by delivering it in the formats they are already consuming. We need smart people thinking about how to reinvent the 'public service announcement' and the 'after-school special' for a world where kids play XBOX LIVE while listening to their iPods, texting friends, and looking up information on the Internet.

    Rather than lament the decline in newspaper readership, I think we can be excited about the range opportunities we have to communicate with our kids!

  5. Doug Pruden from Customer Experience Partners
    commented on: January 27, 2010 at 6:46 p.m.

    On the one hand more hours of media consumptions as identified by this research could suggest more opportunities for marketers -- once we figure out which media works and how to best use it. On the other hand, after seeing some other studies about driving while talking (or even worse texting) on a cell phone, you have to wonder whether most multi-tasking really means paying even less attention to either medium. In which case the marketing challenge is getting much bigger.

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