A study published yesterday by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that American kids are, for better or worse, entirely absorbed in electronic media. Kids 8-18 years old spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes consuming media content, 7 days a week. This is a 1 hour, 20 minute increase from five years ago. And, final fun thought, the study was initiated before Twitter existed.
It's an easy study to skim, chock full of good charts and tables. Things that stuck out for me are (1) low correlation with bad grades and media consumption habits, (2) an amazing percentage of teens who are allowed TVs in their bedrooms (which is considered bad parenting here at growthology, right guys? Or am I just expressing jealousy hangover from my teen years with my cruel, cruel rents?), (3) the rapid rise in DVR penetration, (4) music consumption is the big gainer, which should cheer the icy hearts at music labels.
Meta-lesson that maybe only I find interesting: Losing Touch is Lost
So here America stagnates in the teeth of the worst recession in modern times, and yet a report shows an explosion of media consumption. Life is worse for these kids how? The growth of virtual consumption is not appreciated by standard GDP metrics, but I think Plato was right. Humans are a social animal, and we derive unmeasurable value from social networks that have become instantaneous in speed and global in reach. In a nutshell, can you imagine being a high school student today and have no sense of ever losing touch with your friends? Losing touch. Losing touch is a non-operative concept in their world.