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Monday, February 21, 2011

More Data for 8-18 Year Olds (USA 2009)

Although the data I collected on EDM310 in the Spring of 2011 do not match with much of the data from the Kaiser Family Foundation Study (2009): Generation M2: Media in the LIves of 8-18 Year Olds, there are some interesting comparisons that can be made and some very interesting data about media use that are found in the Kaiser Family Foundation study.

Media Ownership

Data are reported in this order EDM310 2011 8-18 year old USA 2009
Internet access in home 99% 84%
High speed internet access 86% 59%
Internet access in bedroom of child NA 33%

Two years later EDM310 students report higher internet access rates and significantly higher high speed internet access rates. We must remember, however, that access to high speed internet is considerably easier now than it was 2 years ago.

Here are data that I did not ask about:
Video Screen in Family Car NA 37% (No family car 3%)

This shocked me. Over a third of the family cars of 8-18 year olds in the United States had video screens in the family car in 2009!

Media Use

EDM310 students
• Watch movies 4 hrs a week
8-18 year olds
• Watch movies 2:55 a week

EDM310 students
• Listen to music 14 hours a week
8-18 year olds
• Listen to music 17:38 week

8-18 year olds
• use a computer (all reasons) 10:23 a week
• watch videos 39:22 a week

Now that is shocking to me. 8-18 year olds watch TV a full work week! Is this a comment on parenting or the result of the quality of television programming? Or other things?


EDM310 students
• 4% read newspapers ≥5 times a week
• 18% read electronic newspapers ≥5 times a week
• 53% read ≤3 books a year (not assigned)

8-18 year olds
• read print 4:26 a week (38 minutes a day on average)

Thirty eight minutes a day reading! And this includes time at school. Where has all the reading gone?


  1. Wow! Children are watching videos 39:22 hours a week? That is absurd to me! I think that saying that it is a result of the quality of the television programming would be a joke! Less and less substantial programming is coming on television, while more and more "reality television" is plaguing our channels!

    And only 38 minutes a day of reading? Wow! What is our society coming to?

  2. I believe that some of the reading time is now part of the video time perhaps. We have everything digital now: books, lectures, and even your favorite television shows can be viewed on-line after they've aired. Children don't need to read because some Hollywood or Disney producer is going to make the book into a movie (Who cares if they actually butcher the book's plot most of the time?). Even when I was in middle school this was an issue. I remember teachers warning us not to watch "Where the Red Fern Grows" instead of reading it because we would fail their test, and we did. I did see there is a distinction between movies and videos, and I just wonder how many 8-18 year olds distinguished between the two?
    I also agree with Brandon, that the quality of the television programming has improved at all. However, I would note that most programs that are produced for schools have improved or at least remained constant in quality. Now to get the History Channel to increase the legitimate information and lose some of the conspiracy theorists!

  3. Kids 8-18 watch 40 hours of TV a week and only read for about 10 hours a week. Watching TV is more passive than reading, so it is easier to be entertained by watching than reading. Reading today is not what it used to be. With new technologies, reading is becoming easier. Audio books are a great way to "read" a book, but the selections are limited. With the popularity of the iPad, Kindle, and other electronic readers, hopefully more kids will rediscover reading for entertainment.

  4. 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.

  5. I wish that children would read more, but it is definitely easier to just watch TV. It is a scary thought to me because some of the television programs out there are just not acceptable for children. Even "educational" channels are using gimmicks and theories to back up all of their information. While I think it is important to explore theories, lets keep that to a minimum and try to make a quality program that is educational. What happened to the Magic School Bus? I LOVED that show!

  6. Haha! Dr. Strange, I love how you asked "Where has all the reading gone?" I pictured you as Captain Jack Sparrow waving a book around. I have to say though, that I'm in the demographic that reads way more than 38 minutes a day. I don't even have a TV in my dorm anymore because I realized it was taking too much time away from my studies. So, I guess I'm the outlier in your data plots.

  7. Why would we read when we have things to entertain us with? Things where we don't have to use our imagination? Things like twitter and TV haha! This generation learns by watching and doing things....reading is so old-fashioned!
    However, I love to read and read all the time and reading will never be extinct in my life!

  8. What we have to do as parents is lead by example. We have to show our kids that reading is cool too. It's very easy to sit a watch tv all the time, because it's so much apart of our lives. Hopefully with the invention of ebooks, reading will make a strong comeback.