A volunteer who attended the Orange tour with me in Dallas last week sent me a link about a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study here. You can read/download the reports and studies here.
The study covers media usage among 8-14 year old children in the United States. We know that our teens and pre-teens are media hungry, but this study reveals all the details. Here are some of the findings.
- Teens are spending on average, 7.5 hours consuming media through a variety of devices (phones, iPods, computers, TV’s, etc.) daily.
- Due to multitasking (ie. listening to music while playing video games), teenagers are packing in more than 11 hours of media consumption into 7.5 hours.
- 47% of the heaviest users who consume 16 hours of media a day are making c’s or less (go figure)
- These heavy users are also the ones complaining of being bored, don’t get along with their parents or are generally unhappy.
- These numbers also don’t include the 2 hours daily these teens spend texting and talking on their phones.
Here’s one of the most interesting findings:
The study found that young people used less media in homes with rules like no television during meals or in the bedroom, or with limits on media time.
One of the researchers noted, â€œI donâ€™t think parents should feel totally disempowered,â€ she said. â€œThey can still make rules, and it still makes a difference.â€
This is the 3rd study on this topic since 2004 and the trend is that teenagers are consuming more media as the availability of devices becomes easier. Visit the study to get more details and distribute to parents.
So, as we attempt to reactivate the family, we must equip parents with the tools to do so. TV, video games and other media outlets aren’t bad, but they are in direct competition with family time. Families can set time limits and it won’t “ruin” anything.
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What do you think the possibility is of getting parents engaged in some of these media activities WITH their children?
Would that help or hurt the effort to reactivate the family?
Ha! That’s a good question. I think that for most, it would probably help. For the media/devise addicted kid, to tell him that it’s time to connect as a family and shut everything down… it’s like we’re forcing them to come out of their element. Don’t get me wrong… there is time where turning the devices off needs to happen, but I think that using the media to connect with our kids is a great way to make “a” connection… kind of like meeting them on their turf.
So yes, we do need more of this as well… in addition to the “hey, let’s turn the TV and cell phones off for a little while” family time as well.