• I Weep For The Future…

    Posted by on January 21st, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Why? See this report from the New York Times -

    The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.

    And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

    “I feel like my days would be boring without it,” said Francisco Sepulveda, a 14-year-old Bronx eighth grader who uses his smart phone to surf the Web, watch videos, listen to music — and send or receive about 500 texts a day.

    The study’s findings shocked its authors, who had concluded in 2005 that use could not possibly grow further, and confirmed the fears of many parents whose children are constantly tethered to media devices. It found, moreover, that heavy media use is associated with several negatives, including behavior problems and lower grades.

    The third in a series, the study found that young people’s media consumption grew far more in the last five years than from 1999 to 2004, as sophisticated mobile technology like iPods and smart phones brought media access into teenagers’ pockets and beds.

    Contrary to popular wisdom, the heaviest media users reported spending a similar amount of time exercising as the light media users. Nonetheless, other studies have established a link between screen time and obesity.

    While most of the young people in the study got good grades, 47 percent of the heaviest media users — those who consumed at least 16 hours a day — had mostly C’s or lower, compared with 23 percent of those who typically consumed media three hours a day or less. The heaviest media users were also more likely than the lightest users to report that they were bored or sad, or that they got into trouble, did not get along well with their parents and were not happy at school.

    The report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students in grades 3 to 12 that was conducted from October 2008 to May 2009.

    On average, young people spend about two hours a day consuming media on a mobile device, the study found. They spend almost another hour on “old” content like television or music delivered through newer pathways like the Web site Hulu or iTunes. Youths now spend more time listening to or watching media on their cellphones, or playing games, than talking on them.

    “I use it as my alarm clock, because it has an annoying ringtone that doesn’t stop until you turn it off,” Francisco Sepulveda said of his phone. “At night, I can text or watch something on YouTube until I fall asleep. It lets me talk on the phone and watch a video at the same time, or listen to music while I send text messages.”

    Ah, the heterological nature of “progress,” eh?

    Comments on I Weep For The Future…

    1. Corey
      January 21st, 2010 | 11:07 am

      It’s sad, but true. Realistically, I spend about 10 hours on a PC a day. (I’m a software developer). If you forced me to go cold turkey, I’d probably lose it after a while. Which is kind of scary.

    2. MJ
      January 21st, 2010 | 11:21 am

      I’m on my computer from 8am every morning until 5pm every evening. I think that’s true of most working folks these days. That’s also why I rarely visit the internet on the weekends (except to check movie listings or something along those lines).

      Having said that, I don’t weep for the future that much. These kids are learning technological skills that will be useful to them down the road. For every bad thing about being so plugged in 24 hours a day, there is also some good coming out of it.

    3. January 21st, 2010 | 11:57 am

      I think there’s a huge difference between having to “work” on your PC for 50 hours a week, and, let’s face it, most white-collar workers work on a PC all day, and being a young kid and being on your I-Phone or some other internet connected device for 12 hours a day.

      That one 14-year old in the report has 500 texts a day? That’s insane. It’s worse than insane.

      Ever see the movie Wall-E? That’s our future – everyone fat and stupid beyond hope because they’ve unplugged from “human” life and have plugged into the martix of being on-line, gaming, texting, etc., all day long.

      Yes, I know, it’s strange to see this from a guy who writes a blog. But, I’ve said this before too – everything in moderation. Nothing in excess is good. These kids need to disconnect from the electronic devices and start dealing with real people, face to face, and start moving around and being active.

      Sure, yeah, they have great computer skills from all this stuff they are doing. And, that’s going to help them in the future. But, you don’t need to be sleeping with your phone to make sure you don’t miss any texts in the middle of the night to get those good skills.

    4. Corey
      January 21st, 2010 | 12:11 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Ever see the movie Wall-E? That’s our future – everyone fat and stupid beyond hope because they’ve unplugged from “human” life and have plugged into the martix of being on-line, gaming, texting, etc., all day long.

      I dunno if I agree with that statement. I spent most of my child life playing video games, I’d say, and I don’t consider myself fat or stupid. To say someone is stupid because of being online or on the phone all the time is an excuse for the reality, which is that technology or not, some(most?) people are just dumb to begin with.

      It could be worse though, right? We could not have technology and all those kids could be on drugs instead (60′s, 70′s anyone?).

    5. Corey
      January 21st, 2010 | 12:12 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Check out a movie called “Idiocracy”, THAT’s the future. It’s got electrolytes!

    6. YankCrank
      January 21st, 2010 | 12:49 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      That one 14-year old in the report has 500 texts a day? That’s insane. It’s worse than insane.

      Think that’s bad? Our agency just compiled a ton of info through research and focus groups on teenage girls, who are far more aggressive texters than men, and we found a case of a 13-year-old girl in CA who texted 14,528 times in one month. I dare somebody to try and text that much.

    7. YankCrank
      January 21st, 2010 | 12:51 pm

      @ YankCrank:

      Sorry, I need to be more clear. She had 14,528 outgoing texts, not counting what she was receiving.

    8. January 21st, 2010 | 1:12 pm

      @ Corey: I have seen that flick!
      @ YankCrank: That girl needs help.

    9. Evan3457
      January 23rd, 2010 | 9:04 am

      Corey wrote:

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Check out a movie called “Idiocracy”, THAT’s the future. It’s got electrolytes!

      Great frackin’ film. One hysterical set-piece after another.

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