Survey Report

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Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media:
The View From The Classroom
A National Survey of Teachers About the Role of Entertainment Media in Students’ Academic and Social Development

A Common Sense Media Research Study

FALL 2 012

Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media:
The View from the Classroom
A National Survey of Teachers About the Role of Entertainment Media in Students’ Academic and Social Development

Table of Contents
Introduction ................................................ 5 Key Findings ............................................... 7 Methodology ............................................ 11 Detailed Findings ..................................... 13 Entertainment Media and Students’ Academic Performance ..................13 Entertainment Media and Students’ Social Development ........................18 Background Data on Teachers and Technology ..................................... 20

Conclusion ............................................... 21 Toplines .................................................... 23 References ............................................... 31

Introduction
We often note that children and teens spend more time with media than they do in any other activity except— possibly— sleeping. In fact, the average time spent with screen media among 8- to 18-year-olds is more than twice the average amount of time spent in school each year (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010; National Center for Education Statistics, 2007– 2008). On average, American children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend more than 7½ hours a day using media for fun: everything from watching TV to listening to music, playing video games, and using social networking sites. And for a lot of that time, they are juggling more than one medium at once — sending tweets while watching TV, or listening to music while posting a Facebook update. Given that media use is something that happens seven days a week instead of five, this is more than the equivalent of a full-time job, dwarfing the amount of time spent in school (an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes a day, 180 days a year). Even the youngest schoolchildren — those in the 5- to 8-year-old age range — spend 168 hours more with media than they do in school each year (Common Sense Media, 2011; National Center for Education Statistics, 2007-2008; Education Commission of the States). Over the past 10 years, the media environment that children grow up in has changed dramatically, and the amount of time they spend consuming media has exploded. Childhood and adolescence have been inundated with — and possibly transformed by — reality TV, smartphones, iPads, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, World of Warcraft, Angry Birds, and texting, to name just a few. In 1999, 8- to 18-year-olds averaged 4 hours and 40 minutes a day with screen media. In 2009, it was 7 hours and 11 minutes a day. This survey explores the question of how the TV shows, video games, texting, social networking, music, and other media that are so much a part of young people’s lives affect the other big part of their lives — their academic and social development at school. We examine this issue through one important lens: the views and experiences of classroom teachers. There have been several important surveys of teachers about using media and technology as learning tools in the classroom, a vital topic that is outside the scope of this survey (e.g., PBS, 2009 and 2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2010; Fred Rogers Center, 2010; Joan Ganz Cooney Center, 2012). But there has been no national study we are aware of to explore what teachers think about the impact of at-home media use on their students’ academic skills and social development. Besides parents, teachers are the adults who spend the greatest amount of time with children and adolescents. They are in one of the best positions to observe influences on and changes in young people’s school work and social skills. Some of them are new to the...
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