ColorLines reports that a new study from Northwestern University has found that young people of color (black, Hispanic and Asian American) are consuming or using an average of 13 hours of media a day — nearly 4.5 hours more than their white counterparts.
Compared with whites, minority youths watch TV from one to two hours more, listen to music almost an hour more, use the computer almost 1.5 hours more and play video games 30 to 40 minutes longer per day, according to the data.
The study also found that black and Latino youths were the biggest users of mobile phones, but advocates caution that mobile phones aren't the sole answer to bridging the digital divide. They argue that broadband home connections remain costly and inaccessible and that mobile phones don’t replace the Internet and computers in activities like job seeking.
The report made note of the impact that media have on youths and the types of messages that kids are exposed to. The authors wrote that the purpose of the study was to "briefly hit a national pause button: to stop and take note of these differences, to consider the possible positive and negative implications for young people's health and well-being, and to reflect on how each of us can respond in our own realms — as educators, public health advocates, content creators, and parents — in a way that benefits children, tweens, and teens to the greatest extent possible."
Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice, told ColorLines that these trends illustrate why it's so crucial that communities of color engage in political debates over regulating media.
These days, it's hard to do much that doesn't involve "media" — whether you're an adult or a kid. And going online to look for a job or do research for a project is a far cry from gazing at trashy TV or reading gossip blogs. We think it's not the hours per day but the substance of the content consumed that we should be focusing on when deciding whether kids being plugged for most of their waking hours represents progress or a problem.
Read more at ColorLines.
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