Thursday, March 10, 2005

Survey Says Kids Love Their Electronics

Our 13-year-old daughter (known around these parts as the TeenWonk) has been telling me that a large number of her friends have all kinds of electronic gadgets, and how she is behind the curve because she doesn't have the same amount of Wonderful Stuff that Everyone Else seems to have.

I always thought that this was just one of the many tactics that she uses in her Endless Efforts to get her dad to spoil her a little more. At least that's what I thought until I read about a survey that had been conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Kaiser surveyed more than 2,000 third through 12th graders between October 2003 and March 2004 about their recreational or non-school use of TV and videos, music, video games, computers, movies and print. The study included nearly 700 panelists who kept seven-day "media diaries."
The survey yielded some surprising results:

For instance, 54 percent of children's bedrooms had a VCR or DVD player last year, up from 36 percent in 1999, and 31 percent of kids had a computer in their room, up from 21 percent.
It's one thing for the kids to have all these devices, but I've also learned that they are using them too:

On average, kids devoted six hours and 21 minutes a day to recreational media use, up just two minutes from 1999, the Kaiser study found. That's more than 44 hours a week — four more hours than a parent's typical work week.
It was very interesting to learn that the kids seem to be using multiple gizmos at the same time:

But 26 percent of kids in 2004 said they "multitasked" when using any form of media, up from 16 percent five years earlier. That could mean a child downloading music over the Internet while talking on the phone, or chatting online while watching a favorite TV show.
I did find one statistic that I found alarming:

The percentage of kids who can surf the Web from the privacy of their own bedroom doubled from 10 percent to 20 percent.
I believe parents that allow their minor children to use the internet unsupervised do so at their peril. Lack of parental-set boundaries seem to be the norm when it came to television viewing:

Fifty-three percent of kids said their families had no rules for TV viewing. The remaining kids said they had rules, but just 20 percent said the rules were enforced most of the time.
The entire Kaiser Family Foundation report "Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds" can be found here.

As for the TeenWonk, I know that it will just be a matter of days before she comes to me (with those large, sad eyes) and says "Dad may I have a....."

Update:(3/12/05) Citing a different source, Joanne Jacobs has some good thoughts on this topic.

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