Responding To Kaiser's Generation M2 Study

Lots of chatter today around the study, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the finding that young people between the ages of eight and 18 devote just under eight hours a day to media consumption (which actually adds up to more like 11 hours of media content, if you take into account all the “media multitasking”). With hefty numbers like these and the rapid increase from the last time this study was conducted in 2004, it’s easy to spin negative a la USA Today and come up with provocative headlines like “Kids less happy as they’re more plugged into TV, music, Web?”

To the piece’s credit, it does use the question as a launching point for a slightly more nuanced discussion around (surprise) moderation and striking a balance between screens and real life, but with its overall cautionary tone, the repeated catch-all description of “media consumption” and “technology’  might as well be replaced with “junk food.” Overall it just struck me as a skewed way a looking at a much more multifaceted relationship between t(w)eens and media.

What’s missing is the flipside of this type of research. Both with the so-called “happiness/media” connection and its brush off of recent studies like Mediasnacker’s The Web Makes Me Feel and MTV Sticky’s Teen Age Clicks: Understanding Global Youth Culture, which cited music, TV and social networks as generating happiness and alleviating stress, and also with the far-reaching positive potential of new media.

MacArthur has also been funding lots of research about how all of this digital media is impacting learning whether formal or informal. Watching a show and then going to a fan forum and posting about it  or interacting with other viewers during the show online is much different than…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because I am creating a punk sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon costume for comic con and I worked really hard on it, so I will wear it any chance I can.” –Female, 21, NY

The nostalgic details and music that filled Guardians of the Galaxy were a major part of making it the superhero movie that Millennials want right now, and they’re continuing to use that nostalgia now that the film is out of theaters. The movie’s soundtrack, Awesome Mix Vol. 1, is being released as a limited edition cassette tape this November, in time for Black Friday. The fact that cassette tapes are considered by many to be a dead technology won't likely stop young consumers looking for a retro-style piece of the movie. The album has already been released as a digital download, CD, and vinyl, and is already the tenth largest selling album of 2014 so far. (Billboard)

GoldieBlox has had impressive success as a toy startup focused on promoting engineering to young girls. Now the brand is expanding into digital products with their first (free) iOS app, GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine, and Bloxtown.com, a “digital playground” of interactive games. The app teaches about animation and allows young users to create GIFs that they can then use in a physical construction set they have built themselves. (PSFK)

Some of Vine’s biggest stars are coming to TV. Rainn Wilson, of The Office and SoulPancake fame, is working on a scripted comedy that will follow five of the app’s most popular Viners ”as they try to break into Hollywood.” The show, appropriately named Hollywood and Vine, will be the first traditional TV show to have a cast of mostly Vine stars, but could benefit from their online fans: the digital stars chosen have a collective following of over 30 million. (The Verge)

Breaking Bad was a story of meth and murder that was hugely appealing to older Millennial audiences, so some parents are objecting strongly to dolls of the main characters of the show being on the shelves at Toys “R” Us. A petition to take the Walter and Jesse action figures out of the chain and moved to “an appropriate store” was started online by one Florida mom and already has over 7,000 signatures. One of the figures comes with “a sack of cash, and a bag of blue crystals”—a.k.a. toy meth—so we can kind of understand the concern. (Racked)

Can Elsa and Anna help get kids to eat healthy? Previous studies have found that labeling fruits and vegetables with cartoons makes them significantly more appealing to children, and Disney-branded produce sales have reportedly tripled in the last two years. Bags of apples with Frozen and Spider-Man characters are being released this month as a continuation of the effort to get families to live healthier lifestyles. (Brand Channel)

Did you know every month, Ypulse surveys our Millennial panel of over 60,000, asking 1,000 14-32-year-olds about current events, seasonal trends, changing attitudes, and new norms? The results of these bi-weekly survey results are delivered to our Gold subscribers on Ypulse as downloadable tables, with data broken out by age, gender, ethnicity, location, and education. (Ypulse)

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