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The Media In The Lives Of Teens & Tweens

by Stef Gvoz23. November, 2015

We are all well aware of the fact that new generations rely on the media to great extent in many aspects of their lives. Before were libraries now there are websites, coffee shops and diners are now replaced with chat rooms and social networks while art and live debate is being held at bay by video streams and imposing television. In this day and age it’s possible to do everything from a distance, from studying, meeting with friends or family, to shopping and food ordering. Let’s look into some numbers as to the use of media by tweens (8-12 years olds) and teens (13-18 years olds) in average American up-to-date society.

Teenagers nowadays develop multitasking abilities, maybe even easier than adults. That is why it shouldn’t strike as odd the fact that half of the American youth has no problem doing their homework while browsing through their social network profiles, or while watching TV. Major portion of the test subjects simultaneously listens to music. A slightly lesser percentage of them texts during their school related work. If we put aside all the time youngsters spend using media for school and homework activities, they end up using media some 6 hours for the tweens to 9 hours for the teens – daily.

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Among all of them frequent-media-users we can distinguish various types of consumer profiles depending on the content they are addressing. The tweens produce a significant number of so called Gamers, who obviously spend their time playing video games. But among them there is around 27% of Light Users, and those engage in media by listening to music and watching TV. As for the teens, some of them are Heavy Viewers, meaning they combine different sources of media in their substantially long daily media fix.  The number of Social Networkers and Readers is about the same, 10-13%.  The Gamers in the teen years occupy around 20% of the whole targeted demography.

The 2015 survey results revealed another very interesting thing – how different media preferences are when considering the habits of boys and girls separately, paying less attention to whether they belong to the tweens or the teens. It’s just that simple: boys like video games, girls not so much. Boys spend a lot of time waging console-game-wars, while on the other hand girls devote more time to reading and social network activities. Must be in their nature to act like that, right?

Despite social media’s exploding and overwhelming the modern communication and, on a larger scale, the whole Internet use, statistics show that television and music still dominate media consumption on a daily basis. Over 60% of both tweens and teens watch TV and play music, at the expense of other types of media references. Only 10% of teens define social media as their favorite feature of media involvement.

Considering the overall presence of media in everyday lives of young people and the frequency of their approach toward media content we can bring out the term ‘media diet’. The term includes every contact one would have with a digital device, including forms of passive consuming and vast varieties of interactive consumption, up to one’s own creating of digital content. When your tween or teen child is playing games, chatting, programming or creating image collages, have no doubt that he or she is on a media diet. The question remains whether the diet is good for them, and should it be analyzed and maybe restricted in some ways to coincide with balanced diets we strive for in terms of nutrition. Are we in need of media diet nutritionists? Remains to be answered in some future behavior related survey.

Below you can check the infographic which shows the media habits and preferences of American teens and tweens:

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