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CTR Weekly November 4: Three Surveys to Know About on Children’s Media Useage

“Just as abstinence-only sex education doesn’t prevent teen pregnancy, it seems that keeping kids away from the digital world just makes them more likely to make bad choices once they do get online.” Alexandria Samual, The Atlantic
“Boys are from Xbox, girls are from Instagram.”  A conclusion about media use by teens, by Common Sense Media

Three surveys basically say “kids use screens a lot, for many things”

Survey 1 by the former KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) media veteran Vicky Rideout (paid by Common Sense Media) asked the families of 2,658 older children (aged 8-18 years) how they use media. 58% watch television (on big screens) every day; two-thirds listen to music and 45% use social media daily (but only 1/3 said they liked it “a lot”).  Sadly terms like “television” and “screen” are vaguely defined (e.g., what, exactly, do they do with this large screen?) Multitasking is “the new normal.”

The average teen spends about nine hours/day consuming “various forms of media,” not counting school and homework. For more interpretation on this study, visit Larry Magid’s  post on his “Connect Safely” blog, or watch the video presentation captured by Scott Traylor.

Survey 2  by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) considered families of younger children (aged 6-months to 4=years), all from the same pediatric clinic in an urban, low-income community.  “Almost all children (96.6%) used mobile devices, and most started using before age 1. Content delivery applications such as YouTube and Netflix were popular. Here’s that link.

Survey 3 by Alexandra Samuel, published in The Atlantic argues that vilifying screens, Sherry Turkle style, may be misguided. She bases her case on “a series of surveys of more than 10,000 North American parents.” Hmmm.  In her article, called “Parents: Reject Technology Shame” she identifies three technology parenting strategies, and concludes that the best approach is to use some common sense (not the advocacy group) and to help kids learn to navigate the digital world, rather than shielding them from it.

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