A new study came out from Kaiser that talks about the astonishing amount of time that children spend with media today. Media is defined as tv, music, video games, print, computer and movies. Today’s kids 8-18 spend 7 1/2 hours using media, almost as long as an adult work day!
Before parents stress too much, we should remember that in the 19th century, adults were worrying about a new media that they thought would ruin young people’s minds… it was called… the novel. Change is difficult but may not always manifest itself in the way we think it will. When I recently spoke to a group of parents, they seemed relieved to hear that the news about media is not all bad. We all stress out about how much our kids use media, myself included, but as long as you are an involved parent, modelling proper media behavior (more to come on this!), setting ground rules and making sure your kids also read and have other activities, it’s ok to let your kids consume media too. Phew!
Some interesting facts from the Kaiser study, MP3 ownership has increased from 18 to 76% in the last five years. Due to multitasking — kids actually pack more than 10 hours of media use into those 7 1/2 hours! Television continues to dominate media consumption. And finally, although time spent reading magazines and newspapers has decreased, time spent reading books has actually increased in the last ten years.