There is a developing trend among teenagers to use multiple forms of media simultaneously. For example, it’s not uncommon for a young person to be researching for a Social Studies project online using Google while Instant Messaging (IM'ing) a friend while listening to music and/or watching TV.
According to a recent survey by theKaiser Family Foundation (January 2010) young people spend about 7.5 hours a day with some type of entertainment media. But because they are multi-tasking (using multiple kinds of media at the same time) they are actually logging 10.75 hours of media time into those 7.5 hours.
"The amount of time spent with media increased by an hour and seventeen minutes a day over the past five years, from 6:21 in 2004 to 7:38 today.And because of media multitasking, the total amount of media content consumed during that period has increased from 8:33 in 2004 to 10:45 today."
Here are some more excerpts from the report that might surprise you:
Cell Phones & iPods:
Among 8-18 year olds ownership of these devices has gone up from 39% to 66% in the last 5 years.
About 2/3rds say the TV is usually on during meals and only 3 in 10 say that their parents set any rules about watching TV. 7 in 10 have a TV in their bedroom and half of the respondents had a video game console in their rooms. But for the first time respondents in 2009 reported a decline in viewing regularly programmed TV shows (down 25 minutes a day since 2004). But this decline was rolled back when the increased use of DVD players, TV recording devices and viewing TV through the internet is taken into account.
Top Online Activities:
Social networking sites like Facebook: 22 minutes a day. Playing games: 17 minutes a day. Watching YouTube videos: 15 minutes a day. About 3/4 of students in the 7th to 12 grades have a profile on a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace and girls spend a little more time than boys on these sites.
How Does This All Effect Their Grades?
Though a direct correlation is difficult to prove, there is a difference in the grades of light and heavy media users. About half of the heavy media users (more than 16 hours a day) report getting "mostly Cs or lower" whereas about a quarter of light media users (less than 3 hours a day) report getting "mostly Cs or lower."
More on this topic from Psychology Today
For more insights into Teens and Technology try checking out Larry Rosen's Blog on the Psychology Today website: Rewired: the Psychology of Technology