Fact Sheet: Digital Media and Learning
October 19, 2006 | Grantee Publications | Digital Media & Learning

Youth today live media saturated lives.

  • Young people today spend an average of almost 6.5 hours a day with media.
  • The total amount of media content young people are exposed to each day has increased by more than an hour since 2000, with most of the increase coming from video games and computers.
  • Eighty-seven percent of U.S. teens aged 12-17 now use the Internet. That is up 24% from 2000. Half of those teen internet users go online every day.

Young people access media in their homes, schools and through portable electronic devices.

  • The typical 8-18 year-old lives in a home with 3.6 CD or tape players, 3.5 TVs, 3.3 radios, 2.9 VCRs/DVD players, 2.1 video game consoles, and 1.5 computers, according to a 2005 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Seventy-eight percent of online teenagers have used the Internet at school.

Youth make use of new media and technology.

  • The Kaiser study found that 64% of young people ages 8-18 have downloaded music from the Internet; 66% use instant messaging; 39% have a cell phone; 32% have created a personal website or web page; 18% have an MP3 player; and 13% have a hand-held device that connects to the Internet.
  • Seventy-five percent of online teenagers aged 12-17 use instant messaging, compared with 42% of online adults, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  • Eight in 10 online teenagers play games online.

Today’s youth get news online, make online purchases, create their own content for the Internet, and often use more than one digital medium at a time.

  • Between a quarter and one-third of young people report using more than one digital medium at a time (reading and listening to music or going online while watching TV, for example). The amount of time young people spend “media multi-tasking” is increasing.
  • More than half of online teens have created content for the Internet. For example, created a blog, personal web page, or shared artwork, photos, stories or videos online.
  • Nineteen percent of online teens keep a blog and 38% read blogs.

Most youth today now have Internet access, but race and class divides remain.

  • The majority of young people from each of the major ethnic and socio-economic groups now have Internet access at home.
  • Teens who are not online are more likely to be low-income, African-American and have limited access to technology.

Lenhart, Amanda, Mary Madden, and Paul Hitlin. 2005. “Teens and Technology:  Youth are leading the transition to a fully wired and mobile nation.” Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Rideout, Victoria, Donald F. Roberts, and Ulla G. Foehr. 2005. “Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Lenhart, Amanda and Mary Madden. 2005. “Teen Content Creators and Consumers.” Pew Internet & American Life Project. www.digitallearning.macfound.org www.macfound.org

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