Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
January 20, 201010:22 PM

Kids Today

In case you think that the world hasn't changed all that much since the Internet became commercially viable...

You may want to check out this very interesting article in today's edition of the USA Today titled, Kids' electronic media use jumps to 53 hours a week.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Kids spend 53 hours a week with electronic media.
  • That is 7 hours and 38 minutes per day.
  • Surprisingly, this is only 79 minutes more than ten years ago.
  • The biggest drop has been kids reading newspaper and magazines.
  • Kids reading books remains stagnant - meaning, they're reading as many books as they used to.
  • Cellphone ownership has increased from 39% (in 2004) to 66%.
  • 20% of kids' media comes via mobile devices.

This will freak some people out.

On a personal note, I was surprised at how surprised some of the people involved in the study and interviewed for this article were about kids and their media usage. Without knowing the details of the research project, there may be some questions as to what constitutes media usage, especially when they considered "hanging out online" as media usage. If kids all have mobile devices, laptops, etc... shouldn't the number of hours be much higher? Wouldn't it be reasonable to also say that being online is somewhat different from listening to music or watching TV and movies?

Passive versus active media.

It feels a little bit like this study (and others like it) quantify the Internet as if it's the same as TV, Print, Radio, etc... Which seems silly (and a little wrong). Kids may be engaged with the online media channel, but using it to collaborate, learn, communicate and not just sit idly by watching more reruns of whatever it is that kids are watching these days. Mobile devices and laptops are active media, while channels like TV, print and radio are passive. This makes comparing the two a little outlandish.

Take a read of the article and add your two cents below.

By Mitch Joel