Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kids, Technology & Camp

Earlier this week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, examining the amount of time that kids today spend engaged with technological media-Facebook, television, iPods, etc.

Here are some of the highlights of their research findings:

  • Young people, age 8 to 18, spend on average 7 hours and 38 minutes PER DAY using “entertainment media.” This adds up to an incredible 53 hours PER WEEK.
  • Black and Hispanic kids and teens spend, on average, 4.5 hours more per week using media.
  • HUGE increase in ownership over the past 5 years: *Cell phones: 39% to 66% *iPods: 18% to 76%
  • Only 30% of parents limit the amount of time that children spend playing video games, watching t.v. or using the computer.
  • In the homes of nearly 66% American families, the television is ON during dinner.
  • 7 out of 10 kids and teens today have a t.v. in their bedroom.
  • Increased use of technological media leads to decreased grades in school.

Drew Altman, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, provided the following comment in regards to these research findings, “when children are spending this much time doing anything, we need to understand how it’s affecting them – for good and bad.”

Technology has dramatically changed the ways in which children today grow up. It will be a LONG time until we fully understand the extent of these changes. As much as technology has moved us forward, it is the responsibility of schools and camps to make sure that it doesn’t move us backward at the same time. As Omar Bradley explains, “if we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.

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