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Susie Xiong

ARTE 302 – Delacruz

Survey Brief

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


Information provided by the Program for the Study of Media and Health
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Published 2010-01-20

In the study I reviewed, the Kaiser Foundation completed one that was among the largest
and most comprehensive on the “amount and nature of media use[d] among American youth.”
The sweeping consensus is that media usage in every medium, with the exception of reading, has
increased dramatically. The amount that youth spent with media rose from an average of 6 ½
hours to 7 ½ hours, with a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes packed into that time due to
multitasking. Mobile devices such as cellular phones, portable music players, handheld video
games, as well as television or music delivered through these portable avenues take up most of
the time documented. Consumption varies by age and ethnic groups. 11-15 year-olds, Blacks and
Hispanics stand out in their media use. Boys in general consume more media than girls,
especially in video games and computers, while girls spend more time with social networks,
music, and print media.
The important finding is that “youth who spend more time with media report lower
grades and lower levels of personal contentment.” This correlation should be duly noted, though
it is not stated whether students performed less well on academics due to heavy usage of media,
or whether heavy media usage was indicative of other problems, or both. The numbers pairing
academic achievement and personal contentment to media consumption point to some type of
relationship that should be brought to attention. Are children feeling less and less connected
despite sharing various social networks? Do family and personal issues lead youths to seek
escape through media? Does heavy media usage detract from emotional and academic
exploration and growth? Do unrealistic images and lifestyles portrayed by the media lead to great
personal dissatisfaction? A more thorough investigation into the various factors may lead to
some answers, perhaps both surprising, and obvious.
Equally important is the finding that 16% of youths reported not having any type of rules
about their access to media time and content. Despite the proliferation of so many avenues to
countless images, texts, videos, sounds, and so forth, not much is limited to the children ravenous
for the next techno-fix. However, it has been shown that parents who establish rules and limit
media usage have children who spend less time with media than their peers. Parental
involvement and rule-setting does have an impact on children’s media consumption, and that
could be vital for their development.
As art educators, we must be aware of the backgrounds and lifestyles of the students in
our classroom. Information is power, and with data from studies by foundations, as well as
observations from our own experiences, hopefully we can better create a classroom and
curriculum conducive to the growth of the holistic student.