Teen Media Consumption 2015

Posted on: 11/9/15 6:25 AM | by Jonathan McKee

12yrgirlipadHow many hours per day do your kids digest entertainment media and technology?

Think about it for a moment. If you add up all the screen time, music, social media, video games, TV, mobile video… all of it! How many hours would it be?

Common Sense Media just did the math in their exhaustive study of thousands of teens (13-18) and tweens (8-12), and the total hours today’s young people spend soaking in media per day might surprise you.

Teenagers: 9 hours a day, or 8 hours and 56 minutes, to be exact.

Tweens: 6 hours a day, or 5 hours and 55 minutes, to be exact.

Funny, whenever I share these kinds of figures with parents at my parent workshops, a common response I hear is, “Not my kid!” That’s where this report was particularly helpful, identifying various distinct types of “Media Users.” The report claims:

Tweens’ and teens’ media “diets” vary widely, but there are several distinct kinds of media users.

Then they provide examples, laying out exactly how much time Light Users, Readers, Gamers and Social Media Users each spend per day. See their chart:

Common Sense Media CHART

As you look at this chart, you might be already mentally placing your kids into one of those slots. Perhaps your kid is a Reader, and only (I use that word loosely) averages about 4 or 5 hours in media each day. Or maybe your kid is one of those Social Networkers or Heavy Users, averaging 9 to 16 hours per day (Yikes!).

The 44-page report is eye-opening, but yes, I know many of you don’t want to tackle 44 pages. If that’s the case, you’re in luck. We just wrote a nice 1-page summary for you in this week’s Youth Culture Window article, Screen Addicts. You’ll probably find the article a nice conversation piece to discuss with your kids. That’s why we actually provided some discussion questions at the bottom of the article to help you dialogue with your kids about their media time.

But maybe your response is simply:

“I know my kids spend way too much time, my question is, how do I help them be responsible with said time?

That’s why my friend Doug Fields and I wrote the book, Should I Just Smash My Kid’s Phone? Parents are finding it an extremely practical and realistic guide to helping their kids navigate the world of media and technology responsibly.

Are you having these conversations with your kids?


Keeping Social Media Safe

Should I Just Smash My Kid’s Phone?

More Than Just the Talk: Becoming Your Kids Go-To Person about Sex