Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds

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 7½ hours.

The report was released on Wednesday, January 20, 2010, at a forum in Washington, D.C., that featured the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, media executives, and child development experts.

Two things from this graphic jump out at me.

1) Whilst the time students spend recieving TV content has increased, the channels through which this content is recieved has changed dramatically. Students now spend a large proportion of their ‘TV’ time watching media through Youtube, Hulu,http://loggtv.com/ and a host of other video sharing sites (legal or otherwise – students are also accessing media through P2P sites such as http://isohunt.com/) This makes sense to me as I have noticed that I am increasingly spending less time watching TV and spending much more time personalizing my ‘TV content’ experience by using social media to watch what I want, when I want it. Children of the 21st century expect this type of capability in all facets of their life – and yet are still tortured by a one-size-fits-all curriculum model that is delivered in most schools.

2) In the last 10 years the amount of time students spend playing video games has increased significantly. You only have to look at Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 sales figures in 2009 for the first five days of sale – approx $550 million. Compare this to the five-day opening worldwide box office gross figures of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($394 million) and The Dark Knight (($203.8 million). The inherent complexity built into games in the 21st century require strong problem solving skills and in fact encourage collaboration through participation in MMO’s and virtual worlds. K12 education needs to start taking gaming seriously. No longer can the system view games as having no educational value.

This report is a good read, isn’t too lengthy and is littered with statistics and infographics. Recommended.

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