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Study: Minority Children Consume More Media Content than White Peers

A study on media consumption broken down by race and ethnicity of children released its results today, finding that minority youth consume media content at a rate that is 4.5 times that of their white peers.

The first national study to focus exclusively on children’s media use by race and ethnicity, “Children, Media and Race: Media Use Among White, Black, Hispanic and Asian American Children” reports that minority children consume greater quantities of all forms of media, watching two more hours of TV and videos, up to 1.5 hours of computer use, an additional hour of music listening and 30-40 more minutes of playing video games.

Northwestern professor Ellen Wartella, who co-authored the study along with former Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Vicky Rideout and Northwestern post-doctoral fellow Alexis Lauri, adds that the gap between minority and white youth’s daily media use has doubled for blacks and quadrupled for Hispanics over the course of the past decade.

“Our study is not meant to blame parents,” Wartella said. “But it suggests that kids are very much tethered to technology at all times. To be tethered so much by technology seems to be an imbalance … as a parent of two boys, I know it’s a wake-up call for me: All things in moderation.”

The report gathered its information from the 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation Generation M2 study on media use among 2,000 8- to 18-year-olds and the foundation’s 2006 Media Family study on another 2,000 children from birth to 6 years old. It did not analyze the specific content youth were consuming, nor did it offer solutions on how to bridge the gap.

The one activity all children spend an equal amount of time on? Reading. The study found that children read for an average of 30-40 minutes a day, regardless of their race.

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