TV Still Rules

I’m preparing to teach two training workshops this weekend, a “Discipleship” workshop to the teachers/faculty at a Christian school tomorrow, and then my parenting workshop in Eastern PA on Sunday. Doing a little research, I thought I’d check in on the ongoing battle between internet and TV, both media channels vying for our kids’ attention.

This is always an interesting study. Common perception is that kids spend much more time on the internet each day. But time and time again, to most people’s surprise, TV proves to be the primary media “time sponge” for young people.

In Kaiser’s huge media consumption report last year, kids averaged about 90 minutes per day on the internet, where they soaked up a good 4.5 hours on the TV immersed in American Idol, Jersey Shore, Family Guy, etc. (MTV is often the most watched network by young people)

Nielson’s brand new State of the Media report (free registration required to view whole report) reveals just how much TV kids were absorbing each day in quarter four. Check out this chart– the monthly hours of each age group in the last quarter of 2010:   (notice that my age group watches waaaaaaay more TV than our kids)

If you combine the top two rows, 12-17 year-olds are averaging almost 3 hours and 44 minutes per day of TV. About 6 months ago Nielson was reporting 12-17 year olds average about of 3 hours 46 minutes per day. Not much of a shift.

Wondering what people are watching? This past week American Idol still ruled broadcast TV, and Jersey Shore still reigned supreme on Cable.

Sigh.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to TV Still Rules

  1. Tracey says:

    I abhor Jersey Shore, it is just vulgar! I do see my 15 year old watching less live TV for sure, she usually records shows on the DVR and watches them later. Weird that those minutes are very low compared to the live traditional TV. I think at least watching recorded TV cuts down on the advertising the kids see, and I am not sure what is worse, the ads or the shows. Mostly she is doing homework, texting, talking on the phone and spending a little time on her computer. When I ask my college age daughter about some shows we have endjoyed together, she replies, “I am studying, I don’t have time to watch TV.” YEA for that! I would also like to add, I don’t police the TV watching too much. In my house, we have bonded over shows we watch together and have good conversations about it.I don’t view it ALL as negative, but I know most of it is.

  2. Tracey, thanks for sharing. I agree with you that the DVR minutes seemed low. That’s why I like that they added the third row of houses that have DVR… but even in those houses teenagers only average 30 minutes a day of DVR and my age (41) averages about an hour a day. That seems about right for my age group.