Kids or Adults?

Dad watching TVThe biggest complaint I hear from parents is about the amount of time their kids are glued to their entertainment and technology.

Kids are glued?

Pop Quiz: Which generation watches more TV in America?

A.  My 16-year-old daughter?
B.  My 21-year-old son?
C.  Me (44, yet young and ruggedly handsome?)
D.  My 72-year-old dad?

In a world where young people spend so much time glued to screens, the answer might surprise some of you. The answer is D. In fact, the older we Americans get, the more TV we watch.

Take a peek at this chart from the most recent Cross-Platform Report from Nielsen, revealing exactly how much time we spend weekly in front of the traditional TV:

Time Americans Watch TVYesterday I showed this data to a few hundred chaplains I was training at a conference in Springfield, MO. (Flight home cancelled, had to rebook… so hopefully I’m making my way home as you read this.) One of the fun and unique aspects of teaching this conference was the variety of ministries represented… most of them working with adults.

The majority of my speaking is typically to parents and youth workers, so this was an interesting switch, training people in their ministry to adults. But curiously, I was able to provide them with much more research about adult pop culture than youth culture, because most research about American culture is ages 18-49.

In other words, typically when I’m doing research about teenagers, I have to ignore 90% of the reports I come across, because they’re about adults, 18 and above. This time, I was FINALLY able to grab all these reports.

Curious what I mean? Try to find a report on the top shows teenagers watch on TV? Hard, huh? (in fact… if any one of you can find a current source that reveals the top TV shows 12-17-year-olds watch weekly, post it in my comments and I’ll give you a free book- up to three people, the first three, if you find different sources.)

Now, try to find what Americans 18-49 watch on TV. Easy peasy.

18-49 is that sweet spot for today’s marketers, so you’ll find an abundance of research about what they watch, where they spend their time and their money. This was really helpful for my workshops yesterday.

The majority of the chaplains in my audience were military chaplains, and since the military is often called “the largest youth group in America”… I had a blast talking ministry with them. Most these chaplains were working with 18-38 year-olds… big kids… who don’t live with Mommy.

Good times.

(Now, if I can just make it home!)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. 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, and 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.
[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it's real easy-go here.
This entry was posted in Entertainment Media, TV, Youth Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Kids or Adults?

  1. Chusi says:

    I have a 14 and 17 yr old. They don’t watch TV, they watch youtube videos (that friends suggest, or find themselves) at their computers. The 14 yr old just got introduced to Lost by a friend, so they’re catching up with all the episodes.