Media consumption. It’s been on my mind lately. I try to make sure the little one doesn’t consume much media (which isn’t hard because he has zero interest in Brian Williams and his news), that we are more outdoors than indoors, that he develops an engagement with life and not media. As I teach semester after semester of my body image class, I am becoming ever more cognizant of the role the media plays in influencing how young people feel about their bodies. So much so, that I am having my students go on media diet later this semester (something that I am sure will win me professor of the year). I personally resist different forms of the media– knowing that if I engage, I will never be able to unengage– while knowing that the media is a wonderful way to get information, to expand my exposure, to realize new ways of thinking. It’s complex, isn’t it?
But today, I had the good fortune of being a guest on an NPR show that I love, Tell Me More. Hosted by Michel Martin, Tell Me More. The topic of our conversation was a recent studio that revealed that the average eight to eighteen year old spends more than 7 1/2 hours with media each day, seven days a week. For Latino and African-American children and teens, that number JUMPS up to 13 hours (a day, yes). On the program, we discuss reasons why minority children might take in so much media, what the consequences are, and what parents should do with this information. I’ll share the link to the audio with you once I have it.
In the meantime, I am curious about your thoughts on media. How much media do you take in a day (computer, television, video games, audio, movies)? If you have children, do you worry about their media consumption? Does media consumption matter? Are there rules in your house about media consumption?