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 like Netflix because it helps to pass the time, especially when I'm doing something boring such as folding clothes.”

—Female, 16, IL

Sephora is stepping up its mobile efforts to create “addictive shopping experiences." To re-launch their private label the Sephora Collection, the beauty brand took a page from dating app Tinder, introducing a feature that allows users to browse looks and swipe left to pass, or swipe right to buy from Sephora.com. Eventually, they hope to add more “user-generated” looks with consumers’ photos. They also added the “beauty uncomplicator," a tool that helps users “whittle through thousands of makeup and beauty tools to find what they're looking for,” by filling in the blanks like Mad Libs. (Adweek

Barbie’s image makeover seems to have made a positive impression. The once-struggling franchise has seen 11% year-to-date gains and a recent 23% sales increase, despite Mattel’s other girl brands experiencing losses. Mattel credits the iconic doll’s new content marketing for its “better-than-expected earnings.” The “You Can Be Anything” campaign launched last fall, focusing on empowering and inspiring girls, and including unscripted video content aimed at Millennial parents to increase confidence in the brand and appeal to their desire for purpose-driven toys. (MediaPost

Not even alcohol can escape the “healthifying” movement. Alcohol brands are expanding their product lines to include “a host of gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, all-natural, low- and no-alcohol drinks,” to cater to the Millennials and their increasing desire for healthier and “free-from” products. Non-alcoholic beverages that look still look “adult” have also taken off, as more young consumers are choosing to drink less. Diageo, the world’s largest spirits maker, is testing dairy and gluten-free Baileys liqueur, launching a Smirnoff vodka made with real fruit juice, and recently invested in Seedlip, a nonalcoholic distilled “spirit.” (MarketWatch

Young consumers want their financial institutions to be mobile. According to the 2016 FIS Consumer Banking PACE Index, 81% of Millennials are accessing their accounts on a computer or laptop, and 63% are accessing on their mobile phones on a monthly basis. They are 30% less likely than Baby Boomers to visit a bank location or use a drive-thru, and are 17% more likely to pay a bill from their bank through a mobile device. It’s crucial for banks to adapt to their needs—especially as over seven in ten Millennials with bank accounts anticipate at least one financial-focused life event to occur over the next 36 months. (Mashable

Over six in ten Millennials would rather lose their cars than their phones, according to a recent Wall Street study. The research looked into the attitudes and investment preferences of wealthy 18-35-year-olds globally to “restructure how the firm communicates with clients and prospects in the future.” The study also found that 50% of wealthy Millennials say they are “politically unaffiliated,” and 61% are worried about the state of the world and feel responsible for making a difference. Wall Street’s biggest challenge might be their “quick trigger” on underperforming mutual funds, with less than 20% saying they would hold on to one for more than a year. (Breitbart

Quote of the Day: “My favorite online celebrity is Jenna Marbles because she is hilarious and weird. I like how honest she is.”

— Female, 22, CA

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