It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that youth spend more time using media than any other activity in their day. And for some reason I had always assumed that kids consume media targeted towards them pretty evenly regardless of their race and ethnicity. This 2011 Northwestern University study did a very succinct job of telling me I was totally wrong.
Turns out minorities consume an average of four and half more hours of media a day than their white counterparts (most of it in television). “Four and half HOURS?!” I thought. I wish I could find time to watch America’s Got Talent let alone an unabridged DVD of Lord of the Rings!
Now, admittedly, this study would require hundreds of pages from many other studies to provide a comprehensive analysis on this sensitive topic. There’s no way I can possibly try to tackle all the reasons why this racial discrepancy exists, but I can offer you the study’s highlights:
•Minority youth consume four and a half more hours of media daily than White youth even after adjustment for socio-economic status
•The smallest discrepancy is for video games, with minority youth only playing half an hour more per day than White youth
•84% of Black youth, 77% of Asian youth, and 64% of White youth have a TV in their bedroom respectively
•Reading print is the only medium without statistically significant differences by race
•Asian youth spend nearly three times the amount of time on a computer than White or Black youth at 3hrs per day
•Multitasking media also does not differ significantly based on race
•Despite Black youth watching the most television, Asian youth and Hispanic youth receive the most media exposure per day at 13hrs. White youth are exposed to 8.5hrs daily
“So what?” you might be asking yourself. Well, as media outlets and content continues to grow at an exponential rate towards critical mass, youth eagerly absorb all the information they can. Understanding their habits can yield both an opportunity for positive exposure and an increase in media effectiveness as well as an opportunity to limit the negative effects of too much consumption.
Bottom line? This study gives context to and paints a broader picture of an often hard to motivate demographic.
The full report, agenda, attendees can be downloaded at http://cmhd.northwestern.edu/?page_id=9.