Kids Spend More Time Consuming Entertainment Media Than You Do Working - HotHardware
Kids Spend More Time Consuming Entertainment Media Than You Do Working

Kids Spend More Time Consuming Entertainment Media Than You Do Working

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, music, Internet, video games, movies and even (GASP!) print — has increased dramatically over the past five years.

In 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 recent study.

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 minutes)
  • 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 week.

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). 

And, 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 will.

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.

You can download the full PDF here.
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A lot of the media multi-tasking has to do with students surfing the web while doing their homework. The 10 hours 45 minutes a day statistic seems unrealistic to me.

Also, is this one reason why we're falling behind in the Sciences and Math?

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I think we might be behind on the sciences and math because it has been easier for people to skim that stuff and go into investment banking and make 'easy' money by BSing away other peoples (investors) money.

What happens when everyone decides to take the easy way with no oversight is what we had happen.

Plus the "no child left behind" handcuffs teachers and doesn't let them encourage students that excel in their studies, I don't see the US reversing the trend of losing the lead in the technical workforce any time soon. But that is a rant for another time :P

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Plus with broadband speeds and 3G coverage, it isn't like these kids have to beg their parents to power up their 14.4k baud modems and take their home phone off the hook to get at all the content like I (we) did!

And when we did go online there was only news that we got from TV or newspaper at pretty much the same speed, or goto BBS's or play a LoRD or some other mud of your choice.

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/agree on the "no child left behind". Being married to a teacher and talking to a lot of them certainly makes you realize what a negative effect actually resulted from that program.

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Indeed, Canada has their special programs for gifted kids in public schools, does the US have the same? I guess in the US if you want a quality education, you need to either go to private school or move to a rich neighborhood.

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In high schools they'll have advanced or AP (junior/senior only) courses if they are lucky. But of course the previous 8 years they've been told to not try since they have to stay the same pace as the others.

Which leads a lot of parents to either send their kids to private school, or to home school. And home schooling leads to not teach outside of the parents preconceived ideas.

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the good days, i wish i could enjoy more media time :)

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I find one thing specifically funny about this study. I have gone back to school, and have children as well. My 3 year old gets on the internet (of course with direct supervision, and she is only allowed on a very small number of site, PBSkids/Disney/ and a couple other children only sites) either way I study on a daily basis. I also listen to music almost the entire time I study. My school is also internet based where I have interactive multimedia study exercises, I also have discussion questions where I have to post at least 2 separate responses to each issue 4 days a week every week. However if I only post the required number I will on the greater number of weeks get an insufficient, do I generally post at least 8 times and answer those who re-post to my post frequently. So if I am online studying, listening to music, and posting to a chat board on specific questions which is still by definition chatting, as well as my own time I spend on the internet places like HH, am I a true multi-tasker or am I ruining my mind like these students. Many of these definitions do not take everything into account. For one thing I don't focus on music I am listening to and spend any mental time on it, in fact it helps me think better and reduces distraction. I think definitions with many things today do not take a lot of things into account in a discussion.

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Well.... how else is the Gov supposed to track every one of their movements and habits, Plus Video games today really prepares them for real combat. If not, they learn how to behave on the streets of LA :) Since they don't teach real history anymore, it is alot easier to have a generation believe what one says if they put all their messages in movies and video games and music that they can instantly access on their smartphones. I am just waiting for the Disney movie about Mao! That way they can control everything by having them grow up with instant tracking embedded within things like free credit report checks.com's or lifelock services, censuses, online PC backups or even that rollout to the right of your screen that tells you everywhere to buy whatever you type in your emails! I know a few of us remember the days before cellphones and internet, when you actually spent time with real people. When one had to Plan and use their head to coordinate/communicate with others, When ones imagination was the most important aspect of someones life. With that it prompted jobs, relationships, happiness and productivity? Now all kids want to do is be like JayZ and make words sound alike and get PAID!? Yeah real musician, Bach, Mozart would really say that takes talent? I bet they would be more impresed with the guy who invented Auto Tune!

Its a good thing I am in the Video game/Entertainment/CB/anime industry ;) BUY KIDS BUY!!!!

ps. don't worry I try to create non-bias historically factual entertainment, That is why I do Sci-Fi !

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