Last week the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report titled, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18- Year Olds, the third in a series of national surveys on media use.
According to the report, “Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.”
To summarize a few other interesting findings from the report:
- visiting social networking sites is the most popular activity;
- most users engage in some level of multitasking;
- cell phones have become content delivery platforms for young people;
- more of the heavy users reported poor grades in school (mostly Cs or lower);
- levels of physical activity did not vary by amount of media use.
A problem? Share your thoughts.
Like many aspects of human and social behavior, the level of media use among young people paints a complex picture. I am reminded of a couple related functional MRI studies conducted by faculty at UCLA over the past few years.
One study from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior observed positive cognitive effects in older adults who are new users of the internet.
Though not a study of media use, per se, Professor Russell Poldrack and colleagues found multi-tasking adversely affects the brain’s learning systems.
Media use behavior is sure to remain high on the public agenda—just as the daily amount of television viewing was an issue while I was growing up. The way I see it, media use today is, for the most part, active rather than passive and it encourages social interaction rather than isolation. For these reasons, I am not alarmed by Generation M2’s findings. Besides, I wonder how many hours per day we over 18-year olds interact with various electronic media?
I’m interested in your thoughts as well.
And . . . in case you want to “Twitter my Facebook,” etc., I’ve provided a few links below: