“Young people now devote an average of 7 hours, 38 minutes to daily media use, or about 53 hours a week — more than a full-time job.” Whoa!!!! according to the report, “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-year-olds,” which is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students nationwide.

No wonder some of my student seem dead tired in school. School itself is a full time job. Now that kids are spending more time with media these days than time on school, it’s a wonder students have time to do any homework at all. I guess should be impressed with the marks they do get! Research determined that marks for heavy media users are lower than marks for light media users. although, more research needs to be done to determine if there is a definite cause and effect.

Years ago I remember reading that when kids spend 24 hours a week on a part time job their grades go down significantly because it’s too much for kids to manage. Fifry three hours a week on media must be way, way too much. When do kids sleep? No wonder some of my students aren’t coping. I don’t think I could do my job very well if I spent 53 hours on media either. I tell my students school is their job, and they shouldn’t let anything interfere with their job.

Kids spend most of their time on their cell phones checking out Facebook,MySpace, texting, playing video games, watching TV and listening to music. They actually don’t spend much time actually talking on their cell phones. Those 53 hours kids spend on media takes away from family time. Communication between parents and kids is almost non existent. I can remember before my son, Chris, got his license, I had to drive him every where. Bus service was almost non-existent in our community at that time. We used to talk about things while we were together in the car. I can remember thinking it would be great when Chris gets his license and can drive so that I won’t have to take him everywhere. It turned out to be great on one hand, but wasn’t on the other. Since he drove himself to whereever he had to go, we didn’t have that time together in the car to talk about things. I came to really miss that time. I felt I’d lost something precious. I would imagine now if I were driving Chris, we might not have those conversations because he would be wrapped up in his iPhone or Ipod or iSomething or other. That would be a shame.

Parents of course can limit the time kids get to spend on media. Some parents block incoming messages during homework time and after 11:00 pm. that sems like a good idea. I just had a thought. Teachers in schools have been encouraged to use web based tools as productivity tools to teach with and as a cognitive means to support learning. If using web based technology really catches on in schools so that all teachers use it in their classrooms to teach and to have their students create and demonstrate learning, how many hours a week will kids then spend using media 63, 73 ???. It’s kind of scary. Is that a good thing. I’m not sure.

Photo thanks to azureon2

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14 Responses to “The 53 hours a week teens spend on media use is way too much of a good thing.”

  1. Tracy Rosen on January 22nd, 2010 10:12 am

    Elona, This response is me wondering out loud here.

    Is it possible that the statistics can be viewed differently. 53 hrs a week on media as a past time does seem much, like an addiction. But maybe we need to look at media as more than a past time. Not 53 hrs out of their lives but 53 hours of their lives. For our generation media is still viewed very much as a layer on top of our lives, while younger generations don’t see it as something extra, just another part of life. Perhaps it is no more an addiction than…hugs, water, air.

    Still wondering out loud… at the same time, perhaps our attempt at using social media in the classroom is actually pushing students away from human connection (like the car conversations) and towards connections that have layers of media between them.

    Or, is this just that we see media as layer(s) that get in the way of human connection because we grew up differently?
    .-= Tracy Rosen´s last blog ..What I am thankful for at the moment =-.

  2. Elona Hartjes on January 23rd, 2010 7:03 am

    I’m thinking that those 53 hours are part of their lives. That’s why I am concerned. I’m having difficulty visualizing how spending 53 hours a week on media constitutes a balanced life. I’m certainly no expert, and I don’t really know exactly how kids engage media for those 53 hours. Maybe I should ask my students. The topic could make for an interesting discussion- could be a research project one of my students might want to undertake.

    My Mom used to get annoyed when I was a kid because she thought I read too much. I always had my nose in a book. She was constantly telling me to go and do something else and not spend all my time reading. I guess she thought I needed a more balanced life. 🙂

    Just on a lighter note, I’m not sure that media time is a necessity like hugs, water and air. It is becoming more and more important but too much water and too much air is not good for us either- you can never get too many hugs though! 🙂 Media time can be polluted just like water and air can.

    I think that the media doesn’t have to get in the way of human connections. Old fashioned letters facilitated connections. The new media can do that now too. It all depends on how it’s used.

  3. Mirjan Krstovic on January 24th, 2010 10:48 pm

    This is an interesting blog post. I am one to say that I also spend a lot of my time on the computer, probably an average of 4 hours per day,which works out to about 30 hours per week…I am part of several social networks, I tweet regularly, write blogs, respond to other blogs, research, collaborate with kindred spirits around the globe, etc, etc, etc….
    Sometimes I also wonder if all this is worth my time, or if I should be devoting time to other activities…I admit that my life is also “out of balance” because I am hooked on computer.
    When it comes to our students, they are what we call the “digital natives”…computers, iPods, iPhones, and all other personal digital devices are just a part of their life. I agree with you that spending, or OVER spending time on all these media does not constitute a balanced life; however, it is very much a part of their life, and it is here to stay! The word is changing, and the question becomes how do parents and teachers change their discipline and teaching to suite the changing world? How can we get our kids to learn something during those long hours spent on various social media? Can we embrace this brave new world? Web2.0 tools are chaning the way our kids learn, the way our kids socialize, the way they communicate, the way they think and all of this means that we need to teach them how to be responsible users of these tools, how to manage their time, balance their life, and recognize the costs and benefits of technology…we need to integrate this into our curriculum…

    Mirjan Krstovic
    .-= Mirjan Krstovic´s last blog ..Literacy Reflection: It’s all Greek to me! =-.

  4. Elona Hartjes on January 25th, 2010 7:04 am

    Web 2.0 tools have changed the way people, not only teens, can in interact with the world. The problem is at this point schools for the most part are lagging behind. Kids come to school knowing how to use and are willing to use many of the new digital tools in the classroom. Teachers can use these tools as a productivity tool to deliver the curriculum but more importantly as a constructivist tool to support and share their learning. Schools definitely need to catch up and teachers definitely need more training and time to incorporate these tools into their teaching practice. I have learned a lot about the new technology from my students in my classroom. I’m comfortable with that. We learn together.

  5. joshylynn harrris on February 8th, 2010 4:47 pm

    i think the artical was true ,real,and awsome.It’s so true we do spend alot of time on the media.Also we spend alot of time on Facebook.I really like this artical……..

  6. Elona Hartjes on February 8th, 2010 6:52 pm

    Thanks for leaving the comment. I’m glad you liked the article.

  7. You are doing it right now… « Jim Wardle's Centennial CVI Site on April 1st, 2011 5:53 am
  8. Emily on June 8th, 2011 4:42 am

    I know I may be bias on this subject as I am seventeen and possibly a high media user. But I must say that teenagers are affected by media all aroung them, we may not be using it but its always readily available. Right in front of our face. I wouldn’t be surprised that adults use just as much media. You have to define what you mean by media too. Tv? Internet? Newspapers? Magazines? Bulletin boards? There’s more than just one type. School work also requires us to use media, quite often. To be practically honest, being a student in grade 12 in Australia has required me to use possible 2-3 hours a night of internet research or assistence of assignments or homework. I also use the internet for practically 50% of my classes in a school day. Each class 50 minutes. Tv to me just seems like a rest from all the work I get! So factoring in school work and leisure time I can completly understand how most of 53 hours can span a whole week for a person my age, and people of more higher usage of the media than me could probably reach that amount of time. Honestly, I am not a big user of facebook I probably frequent the site 2-3 times a week, and only for possible 10 minutes. But have to admit I can’t say that for the rest of my age group.

  9. Elona Hartjes on June 8th, 2011 7:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing your insights. My assignments for my students are 90% on line and the research I do for my MEd courses are also on line. I hardly watch tv anymore because I’m online for work, my courses for for entertainment. Maybe someone can invent a exercise bike with a computer attached so I can exercise while I’m online.

  10. Valuable Lessons from Avoiding Media « janetkrater on September 27th, 2011 9:39 pm

    […] to me that media is not all good. According to the article by Elona Hartjes on Teachers at Risk (http://www.teachersatrisk.com/2010/01/20/the-53-hours-a-week-teens-spend-on-media-use-is-way-too-muc…) the average teen spends 53 hours a week on media. This was shocking to me. After participating in […]

  11. Rachel on November 21st, 2011 11:40 pm

    Im a teen and i know 53 hours seems like way to much time but if the average teen is anything like me half the time i spend on the computer is well of course facebook, but a lot of it is spent researching and doing stuff for school.

  12. Teenager on December 10th, 2011 7:05 pm

    I’m guilty of spending 53 hours online. I’m, fourteen turning fifteen, Sophomore, and a computer addict, if I do say so myself.

    The reason why we spend so much time here isn’t some sort of universal enigma. EVERYTHING has moved to Internet, so we did as well. Yahoo gives you news within 15 minutes — much faster than a newspaper by far. TV? Oh, that’s on the internet too — and it’s free. The board game Monopoly? That’s there too. AND you can even play it with that Texan that seemed pretty cool on the cb.

    Everything is online. And that’s not a bad thing. I can completely attribute most of my knowledge to the internet. It helped me understand everything from syntax, to 1337; from psychology to mathematics.

    Plus the fact that my Biology teacher assigns us weekly assignments that will take a MINIMUM of 4 hours of constant typing. 12 point font, 1.5 spaced. If it’s handwritten, she won’t accept it. Writing for school is a lost art.

    Some parents implement I time limit. Mine did. At least — until I had to start staying up into the night to finish those Biology assignments. You won’t believe the things me and the people I know do to evade these limits. Personally, I know my father’s email, account password, and our network code. If he ever blocks my account, I know my mother’s password. If all else fails? Text a friend to look something up for me.

    Social Networks help me keep in touch with friends. If I don’t have someone’s number, I can send them a quick IM and they’ll respond.

    You can read books on the internet. You can write your own books and self-publish them. Again, it’s no wonder we’re spending so much time on the internet. Everything’s there.

    Seeing as I this article/blog on the internet completely proves my point. You couldn’t have wrote this if the interent wasn’t so readily available. I wouldn’t have seen it. This comment would never have been written.

  13. Litsa on December 11th, 2011 1:48 am

    Touché, dearest teenager! The question is how many hours a day ARE YOU ACTUALLY LIVING!
    Life is too short to be spending so many hours on the computer. THINK ABOUT IT. Talk about those biology assignments with your school counselor. Did you know that the thinking and storing process is not instigated unless we actually use our hands to form letters? And what do your parents say? Are they concerned? Take good care of yourself anyway possible and part of that is actually living. Good luck to you; from your writing I can see you have lots of potential.

  14. The DMM Social Media Blog on February 3rd, 2012 10:31 am

    […] caused by the very thing that is meant to make him more productive.  With teenagers spending about 53 hours a week on Facebook alone, it can potentially be argued that technology now hinders our ability to think […]

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