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Virginia Journal of Education


Media Use a Full-Time Job
for Many Young People

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Largely because young people can now take their media access with them almost wherever they go, the amount of time they’re spending focused on some form of media has ballooned, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In fact, consuming media is a full-time job for many of America’s 8-18 year-olds, as they’re now averaging 7 hours, 38 minutes a day. That’s an increase of one hour and 17 minutes in the last five years.

Some other findings from the study:

Grades. While the study cannot clearly link grades and media use, it found that 47 percent of heavy media users report getting fair or poor grades (mostly Cs or below) compared to 23 percent of light users.

Homework. About half of young people say they have media on while doing homework most or some of the time.

Texting. Students in grades 7-12 say they spend just over an hour-and-a-half daily sending or receiving texts, which is not counted as media use in the Kaiser study.

Reading. In the last decade, the percentage of young people who read a newspaper in a typical day dropped from 42 to 23. Time spent reading magazines also dropped, while book reading remained steady.

Family rules. Less than half of 8-18 year-olds say they have parental rules about what TV shows they watch, video games they play, or music they listen to. Just over half say they have rules about computer use.

The study, called “Generation M Squared: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds,” is based on a survey of over 2,000 students in grades 3-12.

Teachers Find TV, Video
Effective in Classroom

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Not surprisingly given the previous item, a 2009 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) survey shows that many teachers are getting productive use from television and video in the classroom. Here are some of the survey results:
• 87 percent of teachers say that TV and video reinforces and expands on content they’re teaching.
• 76 percent say it helps them respond to a variety of learning styles.
• 74 percent say it increases student motivation.
• 58 percent say it stimulates student discussions.
• 57 percent say it enables them to demonstrate content they can’t show any other way.

Teachers’ Workplaces
Can Get Dicey

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It’s not always a picnic for the men and women who stand at the front of our public school classrooms every day, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. Here’s some information on teachers’ workplaces, from the report “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009”:
• A higher percentage of secondary school teachers report being physically threatened by a student than elementary school teachers; however, a higher percentage of elementary school teachers are actually attacked by a student.
• Thirty-four percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching, and 32 percent said the same about student lateness to class and class cutting.
• One-quarter of teachers report that bullying among students happens on a daily or weekly basis. Also, 11 percent say that student acts of disrespect for teachers other than verbal abuse take place on a daily or weekly basis.
• Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of students ages 12-18 report that there are gangs in their school.
• Twenty-two percent of high school students report that someone has offered, sold or given them an illegal drug on school property in the last year.



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