The Media and the Minor

And here’s one reason that the iPad is the way the future is going to go.  The future meaning maybe a year from now.  The Kaiser Family Foundation released a study this week about how kids 8-18 use media.  They average 7 ½ hours a day connecting to media in some form, and in those hours, they manage to fit 10 ¾  hours worth of interaction.  Obviously, there’s a lot of multitasking going on – almost 30% of the time that they spend doing something with media, they’re also doing something else with some other medium.  (So why not do it all on one handy device?) The study was conducted to measure media’s effect on children, and, hopefully, to guide those who are involved in their “healthy development”.  What the study found was that, of no surprise to any of us, media use among this age group for every medium except printed matter (books, magazines and newspapers) has grown hugely.  And while the daily reading of magazines and newspapers has dropped rather significantly over the past five years (to 9 minutes and three minutes, respectively) book reading has actually increased slightly in the last 10 years (from 21 to 25 minutes a day).  Now, about that multitasking – kids in grades 7-12 were asked whether they were doing something else while they were using a computer, and 66% said they were. 56% of them admit to being media interactive while they are doing their homework.  Thirty-nine percent in the study said that “most of the time” while watching TV, they’re simultaneously using a computer, reading, playing video games, texting or listening to music. Another 29 percent said they do this “some of the time.” Moreover, kids now consume TV content online (24 minutes), on an iPod or other MP3 player (16 minutes) and on cell phones (15 minutes). Which in general means ignoring commercials.

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