38 Minutes for Print
A recently released Kaiser Foundation survey finds that young people ages 8 to 18 spend seven hours and 38 minutes using media in a typical day. Of course, that’s outside of school.
Those hours break down as follows:
• 4:29 for television
• 2:31 for music/audio
• 1:29 for computers
• 1:14 for video games
• 38 minutes for print
• 25 minutes for movies
The survey indicates that some of this participation occurs simultaneously (whew!).
The survey results, released in major newspapers including USA Today, indicate that daily book readership remains steady at 47% since 1999, but only 35% of kids say they read magazines daily (down from 55%). Only 23% say they read newspapers daily, a drop of 20% from ten years ago.
Vicky Rideout, the director of Kaiser’s Program for the Study of Media and Health says that electronic media is “part of the air that kids breathe.”
Rideout isn’t quite sure what it all means, but notes that “anything that takes up this much time, we really do need to think about it and talk about it.” Especially since the survey indicates, according to USA Today, that the more media they use, the less happy young people tend to be. Still, it’s kind of a “chicken and egg” thing: Do unhappy kids use media more or does using media more make kids unhappy?
The survey results raise lots of questions, including whether it’s actually possible for kids to spend this much time with media even if some of it IS simultaneous. Also, if the results are accurate, schools that fail to integrate technology into the classroom are depriving kids of “part of the air they breathe.” And I have to admit that I’m wondering how a high school student manages to take care of all his/her homework in the 38 minutes allowed for print.