Kids Ar Multi-Media-Tasking, Kaiser Finds


Kids are spending more time with new media including computers and video games without cutting back on TV watching, reading or listening to music.

That's because they are becoming multi(media)taskers, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Wednesday.

The study found that since 1999, children and teens' exposure to media has gone up by more than an hour, from 7:29 per day to 8:33, most of that increase coming from video games or recreational computer time.

But since much of that has become multi-layered usage--surfing the Web while watching TV, for example--the total number of hours of media usage has stayed virtually the same (6:19 in 1999 vs. 6:21 in the newest study).

One in four participants said they sometimes (185) or often (10%) log on during a TV show to do something related to the program content.

Two thirds of the kids have TV in their bedrooms, and those watch an hour and a half more TV than the ones who don't.

V-Chip backers got some bad news. Some 80% of the kids said they have no rules about TV watching (53%), or that the rules they have aren't enforced most of the time. The other 20% watch more than two hours less of TV a day.

Media usage breaks down this way:

  • 3:51 a day watching TV and videos (3:04 watching TV, 0:14 watching prerecorded TV, and 0:32 watching videos/DVDs)
  • 1:44 listening to music.
  • 1:02 using computers (0:48 online, 0:14 offline).
  • 0:49 playing video games.
  • 0:43 reading.
  • 0:25 watching movies.

The rest of the time, when they aren't sleeping they spend  2:17 a day hanging out with parents, 1:25 in physical activity, an hour pursuing hobbies or other activities.

The study used a "nationally representative" sample of more than 2,000 3rd through 12th graders who filled out questionnaires. Seven hundred of them also maintained seven-day media diaries.