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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Quote of the Day: “If I played the lottery tomorrow and won $100,000,000 I would pay off my college loans and buy myself a good car, pay off my mother's debt and then save the rest for anything that might happen in the future.” –Female, 18, AL

This weekend, climate marches around the world attracted young consumers who are speaking up about their environmental concerns, and have no hesitation in calling out political leaders who aren’t willing to do the same. In New York, the thousands who gathered for the People’s Climate March demanding action on climate change included over 300 colleges represented by marching delegates. With statistics showing that by 2015 the youth vote will surpass Baby Boomers', Millennial concerns like these will increasingly shape the political conversation. (MSNBC)

We know that Millennials are marrying later in life than previous generations, but a new study from the journal Emerging Adulthood has shed some more light on the emotional reasons that might be. The research takes a deeper look into college students’ views on the institution, dividing 571 students at a public university in the Midwest into three different categories: “enthusiasts,” “hesitants,” and “delayers.” A full 58% fell into the “hesitants” category, a group that ”appeared to value marriage and expect to marry but were more hesitant about the permanence of marriage and expect to marry later than what they thought would be ideal.” (NYMag)

The generation labeled as “boomerang kids” is beginning to leave the nest. According to new Census Bureau data, 18-34-year-olds are gradually moving out of their parents’ homes: 31.1% live with parents in 2014, down from 31.2% in 2013, and a peak of 31.6% in 2012. However, the percentage of young adults heading their own household did not go up. So where are they going? Renting and moving in with other family members are most likely the answer, as the numbers for both categories rose slightly for the same age group. (Huffington Post)

After a successful test in Europe, Toys ‘R’ Us and Claire’s have announced a partnership that will create 100 branded Claire’s shops in European branches of the toy franchise, as well as 12 in the United States. After several attempts to strengthen the tween market of the well-known store, Toys ‘R’ Us is hoping to capitalize on the seemingly never-ending need for jewelry and accessories in the life of a tween girl to attract them. (MediaPost

They might not trust big institutions, but Millennials may have more faith in large corporations than meets the eye. A study that looked at 18-30-year-olds in 17 countries found that these consumers “look to the corporate world to solve global problems.” 82% believe that businesses are capable of doing more to help the world, and make the biggest impact addressing societal issues. They also want to work with those companies that make an effort to make change: 51% say they would personally like to get involved with making the world a better place, and 69% want brands to make it easier for them to get involved. (Fortune)

Millennial social media, spending, and media behaviors aren't easy to keep up with. So we track data in each of these areas in our bi-weekly survey of 1000 14-32-year-old Millennials nationwide to keep an eye on the trends that emerge. Our Silver and Gold subscribers get access to regularly updated data trend charts broken out by age and gender. We do the heavy data lifting for you, and we’re constantly adding new statistics to our database. (Ypulse)

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