A recent article in the New York Times highlights that teens are spending more time with media than ever before — an average of 7.5 hours a day. And, given that they can use several different types of media at once (listen to music while playing a video game or posting on Facebook), teens actually manage to bend time and get in nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.
Heavy media use (defined as more than 16 hours a day!) was found to be associated with several negatives, including behavior problems and lower grades. So, the increase in media, at least in its extreme, may be cause for concern.
The study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, who has a strong history of researching media use and content. KFF is also known for its thorough analysis of the sexual content on television (the Sex on TV series). Major findings there include that the amount of sexual content on TV continues to increase, and that references to safer sex or sexual risks and responsibilities are rare (about 14% of sexual content alludes to them). The last Sex on TV report I could find was from 2005.
But maybe KFF realizes that those studies are outdated, and it’s time to look more closely at the sexual content of the digital media teens consume instead. I look forward to it!