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How Much Media Do You Use?
 

What the Foundation Found Out

In November 1999, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report on kids’ media use. The authors polled children aged 2-18 in order to secure the information on which they based their report. Among many other things, they asked about the amount of time each spent using various media outside of school, and not required for school work. Below is what they found out reported by age and gender.  The data tables are from page 20 in the report.

If you’re interested, you can read the complete report on the web at http://www.kff.org/entmedia/1535-index.cfmThe news release announcing the report is at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/aids/1999/11/kh991119.7.html.

Note: On March 9, 2005, the Foundation released a follow-up report, Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds.

Here are sample questions and answers designed to test your students' ability to read and understand data from the tables below.

Average Daily Time Exposed to each Medium by Gender
times are shown in hours and minutes (for example, 2:56 means 2 hours 56 minutes; while 0:03 means 3 minutes)

  2-18 years 2-7 years 8-18 years
Medium Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls
Television 2:56a 2:36b 2:08a 1:50b 3:26a 3:04b
Taped TV Shows 0:11 0:10 0:03 0:04 0:17 0:14
Videotapes (commercial) 0:29 0:28 0:27 0:26 0:30 0:28
Movies 0:14 0:13 0:01 0:02 0:22 0:19
Video Games 0:31a 0:08b 0:14a 0:03b 0:41a 0:12b
Print Media 0:42a 0:47b 0:43 0:47 0:41a 0:48b
Radio 0:36a 0:42b 0:26 0:22 0:43a 0:54b
CDs and Tapes 0:41a 0:56b 0:19 0:23 0:55a 1:16b
Computer 0:25a 0:19b 0:06 0:07 0:35a 0:26b
Total Media Exposure 6:40a 6:20b 4:26a 4:07b 8:10 7:41

Note: Within each row and age sub-group, only those mean times that do not share a common superscript differ from one another with statistical reliability. Those mean times without a superscript, or those that share a common superscript, do not differ by a large enough margin to ensure statistical reliability. Total media exposure is the sum of the amount of time children spend with each type of media. The “person hours” listed in Table 7 (page 19 in the complete report) are the most accurate assessment of the amount of time children devote each day to media use because it adjusts the exposure time to avoid double-counting those portions of the day in which the child uses more than one medium at a time.


Average Daily Time Exposed to Each Medium by Age
times are shown in hours and minutes (for example, 2:46 means 2 hours 46 minutes; while 0:10 means 10 minutes)

Medium

Child’s age in years

  2-18     2-4 5-7 8-13 14-18
    2-7 8-18        
Television 2:46 1:59a 3:16b 1:59 2:00 3:37a 2:43b
Taped TV Shows 0:11 0:03a 0:16b 0:04 0:03 0:20a 0:10b
Videotapes (commercial) 0:28 0:26 0:29 0:32 0:21 0:29 0:29
Movies 0:13 0:02 0:20 0:01 0:02 0:26a 0:11b
Video games 0:20 0:08a 0:27b 0:04 0:13 0:32a 0:20b
Print media 0:44 0:45 0:44 0:50 0:40 0:50a 0:37b
Radio 0:39 0:24a 0:48b 0:25 0:23 0:35a 1:05b
CDs and Tapes 0:48 0:21a 1:05b 0:23 0:19 0:47a 1:29b
Computer 0:21 0:07a 0:31b 0:05 0:08 0:32 0:30
Total Media Exposure 6:32 4:17a 7:57b 4:24 4:10 8:08a 7:35b

Note: Within each row and age sub-category, only those mean times that do not share a common superscript differ from one another with statistical reliability (p<05). Total media exposure is the sum of the amount of time children spend with each type of media. The “person hours” listed in Table 7 (page 19 in the complete report) are the most accurate assessment of the amount of time children devote each day to media use because it adjusts the exposure time to avoid double-counting those portions of the day in which the child uses more than one medium at a time.


Sample Questions

  1. Which group has the most Total Media Exposure?
  2. Is there any medium with which girls spend more time than boys?  If so, which?
  3. With which medium do children in all groups (ignoring gender) spend the most time?
  4. Which medium comes in second?

Sample Answers

  1. Boys 8-18 years old
  2. Yes, there are 3 - Print, Radio and CDs and Tapes
  3. Television - it is not even close
  4. CDs and Tapes overall (barely); print for children ages 2-13


These links take you to other Classroomtools.com activity pages containing data tables with which you might want your students to work.

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original web posting: Thursday, November 8, 2001
last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2005