Kids (particularly those in developed countries) love to watch TV. Those in the US lead the way with kids watching an average of 35 hours a week! Two articles are relevant to this trait that are discussed here today.
Kids Are Consuming More Media
First up is an article from Broadcasting and Cable that details how overall time spent consuming media by kids has increased to the aforementioned 35 hours a week. That’s 5 hours a day!
While all this is good as far as creators go (more time spent watching means greater demand for content), it should be of concern as to the sheer volume of time that is spent. Kids have a right to be entertained, surely, but when they’re clocking in 5 hours a day, there ought to be a real worry about the impact that will have.
The article includes all media, so gaming counts for about a third of that time. However, just because gaming is interactive does not indemnify it from the same concern as TV.
Besides the obvious impact on attitudes, opinions and ability to resist commercial pressures, excessive TV viewing can also impact things like personal health and relationships. We’ve come a long way from the days when kids TV was limited to the few hours in the afternoon that networks set aside for programming. With the rise of cable networks and now the internet, kids have a never-ending stream of content that, like it or not, is hell-bent on acquiring as many of their waking hours as possible.
So the question now is, will this amount increase yet further? Thirty five hours a week is dangerously close to a full-time job in terms of time that could (should?) be spent doing something else. Your comments on this topic are most welcome.
Television Still Dominates Kids’ Media Time
As mentioned above, gaming only accounts for about a third of all kids media consumption time. This article over at Forbes delves into the belief that tablets and smartphones are eroding the TV’s dominant place and finds that that isn’t the case. While it notes that tablets have grown in market share, kids continue to devour televised entertainment for the simple reason that they don’t know any better.
This is certainly believable. Tablets and smartphones are still phenomenally expensive in relative terms and offer kids little additional entertainment value over TV.
TV has long dominated because of its ability to acquire and retain a kid’s attention. Adults are more fickle and require higher stimulation in order to achieve the same results. Kids can watch the same movie over and over again without ever getting bored.
Both these articles highlight the vast amount of media that (American) kids consume. It’s enourmous when you think about it and one can’t help but wonder what the macroeconomic effects are.