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The heaviest media users, the study found, are black and Hispanic youths and “tweens,” or those ages 11 to 14.

When it comes to total time spent with media (TV/movies, computer, music, print, cell phone, and video games), however, Hispanic-Latino as well as Black youth between ages 8 and18 spend more time on average consuming media than their White peers (13 hours/day for Hispanic- Latino and Black youth; 8:36 hours/day for White youth; Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). Furthermore, Hispanic-Latino youth spend more time than their non-Hispanic White peers with each discrete form of media (TV, movies, video games, music, computer, cell phone) except print (e.g., books, magazines).

A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth. 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

Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of seven hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week), compared with less than six and a half hours just five years ago — a conclusion that shocked the authors. And because they spend so much of that time “media multitasking” — for example, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those seven and one-half hours.


This study, designed and analysed by staff at the Kaiser Family Foundation in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University, is the third in a series of large-scale, nationally representative surveys by the Foundation about United States young people’s media use. It includes data from all three waves of the study (1999, 2004, and 2009). The report is based on a survey conducted between October 2008 and May 2009 among a nationally representative sample of 2,002 3rd-12th grade students ages 8-18. The study focuses on recreational use of media including television, films and video, computers, video games, music/audio, print, and time spent using a cell phone for media consumption, not for talking or texting.

Among the questions addressed are the following:

   Which media are young people using?
   How much time do they spend with each medium in a typical day?
   How have new media platforms changed the way children and adolescents consume media?
   How big a role are mobile and online media playing in young people’s lives?
   How are they using computers and the internet?
   What is the media environment in which young people live - that is, the types and number of media available in their homes and bedrooms?
   What changes have there been in media use patterns over the years?
   How does media use vary across different age groups?
   Are there differences in the media use habits of boys versus girls, or among Black, White, and Hispanic youth?

According to this study, "[o]ver the past five years, there has been an increase in both time spent with media devices and in ownership of them among 8- to 18-year-olds: from 39% to 66% for cell phones, and from 18% to 76% for iPods and other MP3 players. During this period, cell phones and iPods have become true multi-media devices - young people now spend more time listening to music, playing games, and watching TV on their cell phones (a total of :49 [minutes] daily) than they spend talking on them (:33). "Over the past five years, young people have increased the amount of time they spend consuming media by an hour and seventeen minutes daily, from 6:21 [6 hours 21 minutes] to 7:38 - almost the amount of time most adults spend at work each day, except that young people use media seven days a week instead of five. Moreover, given the amount of time they spend using more than one medium at a time, today’s youth pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those daily 7½ hours - an increase of almost 2¼ hours of media exposure per day over the past five years."

Print media usage has changed - magazine usage (in minutes of time spent per day) by nearly 35% and newspapers by 50%, with a slight increase in reading books. Changes in TV content consumption - 41% of viewing occurs on either a different media platform, including mobile media, or in a different time period than the original broadcast - have "actually led to an increase of 38 minutes of daily TV consumption. The increase includes an average of 24 minutes a day watching TV or movies on the Internet, and about 15 minutes each watching on cell phones (:15) and iPods (:16). Thus, even in this new media world, television viewing - in one form or another - continues to dominate media consumption, taking up about 4½ hours a day in young people’s lives (up from a total of 3:51 in 2004)."

"In addition to mobile media, online media have begun making significant inroads in young people’s lives. The continued expansion of high-speed home Internet access, the proliferation of television content available online, and the development of compelling new applications such as social networking and YouTube, have all contributed to the increase in the amount of media young people consume each day. Today’s 8- to 18-year-olds spend an average of an hour and a half (1:29) daily using the computer outside of school work, an increase of almost half an hour over five years ago (when it was 1:02)....Top online activities include social networking (:22 a day), playing games (:17), and visiting video sites such as YouTube (:15). Three-quarters (74%) of all 7th-12th graders say they have a profile on a social networking site."

"Youth who spend more time with media report lower grades and lower levels of personal contentment. Moreover, the relationships between media exposure and grades, and between media exposure and personal contentment, withstood controls for other possibly relevant factors such as age, gender, race, parent education, and single vs. two-parent households." However, "[t]his study cannot establish whether there is a cause and effect relationship between media use and grades, or between media use and personal contentment."

Children who live in homes that limit media opportunities spend less time with media. However, there are disparities in media use in relation to both age and race. The jump in media use that occurs when young people hit the 11- to 14-year-old age group is an increase of more than three hours a day in time spent with media (total media use), and an increase of four hours a day in total media exposure. Black and Hispanic children spend far more time with media than White children do. There are substantial differences in children’s media use between members of various ethnic and racial groups. "Differences in media use in relation to race and ethnicity are even more pronounced, and they hold up after controlling for other demographic factors such as age, parent education, or whether the child is from a single or two-parent family....For example, Hispanic and Black youth average about 13 hours of media exposure daily (13:00 for Hispanics and 12:59 for Blacks), compared to just over 8½ hours (8:36) among Whites. Some of the biggest race-related differences emerge for television time."

Additional findings, from the Kaiser website, include:

   "Reading. Over the past 5 years, time spent reading books remained steady at about :25 a day, but time with magazines and newspapers dropped (from :14 to :09 for magazines, and from :06 to :03 for newspapers). The proportion of young people who read a newspaper in a typical day dropped from 42% in 1999 to 23% in 2009. On the other hand, young people now spend an average of :02 a day reading magazines or newspapers online.
   Media and homework. About half of young people say they use media either “most” (31%) or “some” (25%) of the time they’re doing their homework.
   Rules about media content. Fewer than half of all 8- to 18-year-olds say they have rules about what TV shows they can watch (46%), video games they can play (30%), or music they’re allowed to listen to (26%). Half (52%) say they have rules about what they can do on the computer.
   Gender gap. Girls spend more time than boys using social networking sites (:25 vs. :19), listening to music (2:33 vs. 2:06), and reading (:43 vs. :33). Boys spend more time than girls playing console video games (:56 vs.: 14), computer games (:25 vs. :08), and going to video websites like YouTube (:17 vs. :12).
   Tweens and media. Media use increases substantially when children hit the 11-14 year-old age group, an increase of 1:22 with TV content, 1:14 with music, 1:00 using the computer, and :24 playing video games, for total media exposure of 11:53 per day (vs. 7:51 for 8-10 year-olds).
   Texting. 7th-12th graders report spending an average of 1:35 a day sending or receiving texts. (Time spent texting is not counted as media use in this study.)"