2010 Kaiser Report Blames Mobile

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GENERATION M2 Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds A Kaiser Family Foundation Study JANUARY 2010


GENERATION M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds

A Kaiser Family Foundation Study. JANUARY 2010

My post headline is purposefully... what's the word? Inflammatory? Because this report is significant and important, and heralds in a much larger message beyond the report's main point that "Kids are consuming more media."

It's this important:

  • When the printing press was invented, there was a huge increase in the access to printed knowledge (and the participation in its sharing by those with a printing press)
  • The internet further enabled a huge increase in the sharing (and production) of knowledge, by those with networked computers
  • Internet-connected mobile devices are ushering in another massive increase in the personal production, sharing, and consumption of knowledge (in more and easier forms of media than were ever available to the individual thanks to built-in cameras, video and audio recorders, GPS, etc.).

This revolutionary device that lets you consume or produce knowledge is in your pocket all the time, not at the city printing press, not even in the computer lab at school, but at arm's length, and accessible whenever the urge or need to produce (or consume) hits!

This is amazing!

The Report

Just out this week, from kff.org, the reports dings Mobile devices as the new up-and-comer on the block that is increasing the recreational consumption of media in our kids (8 to 18 year olds). They spend more time than ever consuming media (the report does not go into how much media *production* has increased, but keep in mind that much of the media they are consuming includes time spent *creating* media that others are consuming — e.g. most of the Facebook media they're consuming is produced by their friends).

Since we're talking about 8-18 year olds, we're talking about the current practices of the next ten years' worth of college and university students. As a Learning Technology Consultant, my questions are:

  1. Are we, as educational institutions, evolving and adapting to this fast enough? (Answer: No.)
  2. How is this affecting the structure of our (human) thinking — and thus learning and teaching? (Answer: In significant ways, and the nature and business of the university will have to change if it is to remain relevant).

Main Headings

  • Over the past five years, there has been a huge increase in media use among young people.
  • Youth who spend more time with media report lower grades and lower levels of personal contentment.
  • Children whose parents make an effort to limit media use—through the media environment they create in the home and the rules they set—spend less time with media than their peers.
  • Two groups of young people stand out for their high levels of media consumption: those in the tween and early teen years (11- to 14-year-olds), and Blacks and Hispanics.

Of Import to Educators

  • There's more access to, and ownership of, media in the car, the home (extending into the bedroom), and pockets (mobile media) of kids. They see the world, learn about it, and increasingly depend on media to understand the world (p. 9-10)
    Between the lines: If you try to ignore new media, you will be deemed irrelevant by them.

  • "On a typical day, 8- to 18-year-olds in this country spend more than 7½ hours (7:38) using media—almost the equivalent of a full work day, except that they are using media seven days a week instead of five" (p. 11).
    Between the lines: How does school compare against this media? Could it seem boring in comparison?

  • Physical activity has increased in the past 5 years (p.12).
    Between the lines: Is this because media is no longer tethered by cords, thanks to mobile.

  • Today, two-thirds (66%) of all 8- to 18-year-olds own their own cell phone, up from 39% five years ago (p. 18).
    Between the lines: most or all college freshmen for the next ten years probably will (at least) have smart phones and access much of their media content on the go. They will be used to getting information from their pocket. They will demand that their educators provide it.

  • Kids spend most of their recreational computer time on Social Networking, Video Games, and video sites like YouTube (p. 21).
    Between the lines: As we develop curriculum we need to consider What is it that they like to do? How can we engage them? What is important enough to them that they'll spend a lot of time and energy to do it?

  • The "digital divide" is narrowing, although now it's more about the quality/speed of access (p. 23).
    Between the lines: While we can't ignore that disparities still exist, we can no longer use disparity as an excuse to wait until all kids have equal access before we start engaging.

  • Time spent playing video games has increase almost threefold between 1999-2009 (p. 26).
    Between the lines: Games have always been great at conveying culture, beliefs, and other forms of knowledge. Instead of disparaging them as "not valid" forms of learning, we should further embrace them.

  • Listening to music is still very popular (p. 28)
    Between the lines: More money towards the arts.

There's more, on Print Media (kids are reading less); Multitasking (they're overlapping use of different forms of media): Media Rules (family rules affect all this); Race,Class, Gender, and "Parent's Education" (I wonder if the latter is their way of addressing class differences).

I'll let you download and read the report yourself, and tell me what your thoughts are.

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