Though it likely doesn't come as a huge shock to anyone, the amount of time that 8- to 18-year-olds spend engrossed in entertainment
media of some sort or another — TV
, video games
and even (GASP!) print
— has increased dramatically over the past five years.
fact, on average, the young'uns are spending as much time focusing on
entertainment daily as the average adult does at work. Even more, if
you consider the average work week is just five days, while this is
spread over seven days, the Kaiser Family Foundation found in its most
Here's a quick breakdown of some of the key findings:
- 7 hours and 38 minutes: Amount of time devoted to entertainment
media on a typical day (in 2004, that number was only 6 hours and 31
- 53 hours: Time spent in an average week.
- 10 hours and 45 minutes: actual amount of content consumed in
the average day, as the subjects tended to "media multitask" often,
meaning they might be on the computer while watching television or
listening to music
If you do the math, these pre-teens, tweens and teens are, on
average, consuming somewhere in the vicinity of 75 hours of media a
Mobile devices such as iPods and smartphones are the prime
culprit in this increased consumption, as even television watching is
no longer confined to the home.
From the study, here are some other interesting findings:
- 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).
although the study didn't establish causality, it did note that the
more media used, the lower the user's grades. Heavy users - consuming
more than 16 hours of entertainment a day, 21 percent of the study
subjects - said they usually got mostly Cs or worse. The light users
accounted for 17 percent of the study subjects and consume less than
three hours a day and reported better grades. Take from that what you
The survey was conducted
between October 2008 and May 2009 among 2,002 students in third through
12th grades. The students completed surveys in school. Media use for
school research was not included in the figures above, and time spent
on the phone or texting also was not accounted for in the report.
can download the full PDF here