The Amazing Media Habits Of 8-18 Year Olds

Teen SmokingDude, my parents let me watch TV in my bedroom.

Kids are leading the world’s transition to digital media.This is in part because kids aren’t afraid of technology, and, in part, because kids haven’t spent years getting use to anything else.

So if you want to get a sense of where the world’s media habits are headed, it makes sense to watch what kids are doing.

The Kaiser Family Foundation did just that in a comprehensive survey released in January.  Kaiser surveyed more than 2,000 families, and turned up all sorts of interesting information about the media habits of 8-18 year olds.

(Just go to the presentation >)

Some key points:

  • Kids consume a hell of a lot of media–and more all the time.  Basically, if kids are awake, they’re consuming media.  And, increasingly, they’re consuming multiple forms of media at the same time.
  • Kids’ print media consumption is tiny and falling.
  • Kids’ digital media consumption is going through the roof.

No big surprise there.  What is a surprise is how little parents seem to care about this.  (Or, alternatively, how much parents encourage this media consumption by consuming a huge amount of media themselves.)

  • In 2/3 of households, TVs are on during meals
  • In 75% of households, TVs are on when no one is watching them.
  • More than 70% of kids have TVs in their bedrooms
  • Only 1/3 of households have media-consumption rules

No surprise, more media is consumed in households in which TVs are always on, where there are no rules, and where kids have TVs in their bedrooms.

And, no surprise, kids who consume the most media get the worst grades (is this cause or effect?)

It’s a long presentation, but it’s awesome.

Flip through the presentation here >
Note: This post was originally published on April 11.

TV still rules...

More media all the time -- now 10.5 hours a day

With 3 hours of media multi-tasking

What kids do when they're media multitasking

Mobile: Who owns what

Still 33 minutes a day gabbing on the cell phone

Again, TV still rules

But LIVE TV consumption is dropping (less couch-potato-ism!)

DVD consumption hanging steady (for now)

DVR consumption still rising (though surprisingly small)

Online TV consumption growing (will soon replace DVR and DVD?)

iPod TV consumption also growing (another threat to DVR and DVD)

And, lastly, TV consumption on a cell phone (we're betting that's iPhone-based playback, not MobiTV)

So, total TV-content consumption is growing, but via different media

Here's how kids are consuming TV shows

Moving on to music--it's growing, too

But as with TV, music is being consumed via different media. So long, CDs...

Next, computers: They're taking over

In part because almost all households now have Internet access

More than half now have HIGH-SPEED Internet access

A third of kids now have Internet access in their bedrooms

And here's what kids do on their computers (mostly social networking, games, and videos)

Kids now blow more than an hour a day on video games

Video games are a boy thing

Video games are shifting to handhelds (sorry, Sony)

And now for READING...

Books actually hanging in there (thanks to school?). Newspapers, not so much.

Only a quarter of kids glance at a newspaper every day (Sorry, Mr. Sulzberger)

Digital media is where it's at

Basically, if kids are awake, they're consuming media

And this is interesting: Check out media consumption by race

The race disparity has widened in recent years

And now for the side effects of all that media consumption...

No surprise: Kids consume media while doing homework

SHOCKING: In two-thirds of households, the TV is on during meals

In 75% of households, the TV is often just ON, even when no one's watching it

EVEN MORE SHOCKING: 70% of kids have a TV in their bedroom (Are we parents brain dead?)

Only one-third of households have rules about media consumption

No sh*t, Sherlock: Kids watch more TV in households in which a TV is just on all the time

No sh*t, Sherlock 2: Kids who have a TV in their bedroom watch a lot more TV

No sh*t, Sherlock 3: Kids who have no media consumption rules consume more media

No sh*t, Sherlock 4!

You can download the whole presentation here >

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