Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Timeout Part II

Last September I addressed the need to take timeout
http://bit.ly/QPSCp to develop common sense or else we will drown in excessive information. More importantly, I am concerned we are setting a bad example and raising a future generation of wired Americans with flying fingers who will lack common sense.

Read on:
The Kaiser Family Foundation just released their study titled Generation M² - Media in the Lives of 8-to18 Year-Olds
http://bit.ly/8x9Hzy detailing media usage of young people today compared to five years ago. By the numbers:

· Young people are now spending more than 7-1/2 hours per day, seven days a week on media usage. Given the amount of time they spend multitasking, thus using more than one medium at a time, it is estimated that they pack a total of ten hours and forty-five minutes into those 7-1/2 hours. Statistically an increase of almost 2-1/4 hours of media exposure per day over the past five years.

· Texting and time spent talking on a cell phone were was not counted as media usage in the Kaiser Family Foundation media usage. However, they did mention that the average youth spends thirty three minutes on their phones talking; 7th to 12th graders text an average of 1-1/2 hours per day. Interesting Stat: Only 27% of those surveyed indicated that they have rules about the amount of time they can talk on a phone; 14% have rules about texting. I wonder who is paying the bills?

· 20% of media consumption occurs on mobile devices. Over the last five years, the proportion of 8-to-18 year olds that own their own cell phones grew from 39% to 66%; iPods/MP3 players 18% to 76%.

· Heavy media users, those who consumed more than 16 hours of content reported that they received poorer grades, were less happy with school, were more often bored, got into trouble more often and were sadder than their peers who were moderate or light users.

· Surprisingly, media usage among the three groups did not displace the amount of time young Americans spent engaging in physical activity (e.g., sports, gym, dance, etc.) – just less than two hours in a typical day.

The authors of the report were amazed, given that back in 2005 they predicted usage could not possibly grow further. I suggest the authors brace themselves when they conduct their next study and release figures in five years. Rationale: Today’s 8-to-12 year olds will become 13-to17 year olds, thus will be well steeped and more advanced. Throw in tweeting, skyping, the evolution of tablets, the new/unknown, etc.

Once more I recommend for all age groups: control the daily flood of information + take time out to think = common sense.


  1. As with most things, "balance" is the key word. An understanding that balance is needed comes from a good informal education: from parents, friends, and mentors. Unfortunately, much of this education in common sense is not being passed along by parents (most likely because THEY are on their Crackberries and dont have time...) Fears over the effect of new technologies have been around since the cave men (OMG! FIRE! WHAT IF IT BURNS DOWN THE CAVE!) I guess I'm an optomist and feel that the right path will emerge and although life in the future will be different, it wont necessarily be worse. I'll be dead anyway.

  2. Great article, this supports a lot of the research I have been doing as well. Gen Y is most apt to try out new technologies and stay connected with others socially, which is why they spend so much time using this media. However, I recently read an interesting article that one university is allowing tweeting during class via mobile phones so that large classrooms can have a different type of conversation, allowing everyone to have a chance to participate virtually. There was an overwhelming positive response to this, as even shy students felt more included in classroom discussions virtually.