Equity & Diversity

Kids Media Use ‘Imbalanced’?

By Francesca Duffy — June 15, 2011 1 min read
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Minority children spend around 13 or more hours a day either watching T.V., listening to music, playing video games, or consuming other forms of recreational media content, according to a national study released by Northwestern University. In contrast, white youth spend around eight and a half hours a day on those activities.

The study, which used data from previous surveys conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation on media use among 8-to 18-year-olds, reveals that Black and Hispanic youth watch about an hour more of live T.V. each day than white youth, and spend 45 minutes more on computers, cell phones, and other platforms than white children. Also, while Black and Hispanic youth are more likely to have a T.V. in their bedrooms, Asian children are more likely to have more computers in their homes and in their own rooms than the other race groups. However, all groups were found to spend 30 to 40 minutes a day on reading print—the one medium to which they all devoted the same amount of time.

Northwestern Professor Ellen Wartella, one of the study’s co-authors, told the Associated Press that the study is not meant to “blame parents” and noted that there may be good reasons why some groups use certain media more than others. Even so, she said the findings suggest that some kids’ may be “tethered” to technology to the point of creating an “imbalance.”

The report also noted that it’s important to take into account the media-consumption differences among these youth groups in order to determine the positive and negative effects that they can have on kids’ health and well-being.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.