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: “My favorite app is Snapchat, because it offers quick messaging with a time limit that ensures privacy while being highly entertaining.”—Female, 20, FL 

If you want to know what teens are doing online, don’t ask their parents. A survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60% of 13-17-year-olds have a secret online account they say their parents know nothing about, while only 27% of parents suspect their kids have one. This statistic will likely worry parents who are increasingly monitoring online behavior. About 67% of parents say they have a rule in place for kids to be open with them about any “sort of uncomfortable or scary incidents that occur online,” however only 32% of teens surveyed say that such a rule exists in their household. (CNET)

Millennials around the are not only passionate about global issues, but ready to take them on. A World Economic Forum survey found that seven in ten 18-35-year-olds see abundant opportunities for themselves and their peers to tackle global issues, and half believe they have decision making power in their home countries. When the WEF asked about the three most serious issues affecting the world today, Millennials had the same response as the year before: religious conflicts came in third with 33.8% of responses, large scale conflict and wars came in second with 38.5% of responses, and climate change and destruction of natural resources was the top response with 45.2% of respondents. (Business Insider)

Outlet malls are thriving, and it’s all thanks to men and thrifty Millennials. According to Cowen & Co.’s latest Consumer Tracker Survey, outlet visitation by 18-34-year-old men reached a new peak of 44% in July, most likely due to male preference for brand stores over department retailers. Overall Millennial visitation is also up: on average, 31% of 18-34-year-old women and 35% of 18-34-year-old men say they visited an outlet mall every month between December 2012 and July 2016. An analyst of NPD Group attributes the trend to frugal Millennials who would rather save their cash for experiences. (MarketWatch

Teenage girls with depression or anxiety “are less alone than ever.” The Department of Education has revealed that these mental illnesses are a slowly growing epidemic among teen girls in England: about one third report having depression or anxiety, a 10% increase over the last decade. Social media pressure, bullying, and unrealistic body expectations are all cited as factors, which have especially effected young girls all over the world. In America, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that teen girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their male counterparts. (Teen Vogue)

Instagram has made connecting with consumers even easier for brands. The platform’s new “contact” button allows users to call, text, or email brands through their profiles. According to a social media specialist, “social…is a brand’s first line of defense—both for reputation management and customer service,” and the new button eliminates the hassle of having to respond to each individual comment. Brands like Nordstrom, Delta, and Denny’s are already utilizing the new feature. (Digiday

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Pokémon Go, because it's kinda a big deal for those of us who've been dreaming about it for over a decade.”—Female, 21, NJ 

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