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Okay, so you probably read the report in USA Today (Wednesday) released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The headline on page one read “Kid’s digital day: Almost 8 hours.”  It appears that the time spent with media for kids 8-18 has increased by 79 minutes in the last decade bringing it to 53 hours a week.

So…what does all this mean? Some have interpreted it as a completely negative trend sighting lower grades and misconduct as a direct result. I am not here to contend with a foundation which spent time and money (probably a lot of it) to give us this survey but I do have some observations.

  • Could the fact that cell phones, iPods, video games and movies are cheaper (relative term) and more accessible than 10 years ago have anything to do with this increase?  Your answer probably begins with …duh. Shortly after Henry Ford invented the horseless carriage, there were more people driving them than 10 years before.
  • Ten years ago cell phones were expensive and clunky. They had evolved from the original “bag phones” that weighted 20 pounds but they were still not pocket size so what kid wanted to haul one around. Now they fit nicely in pockets and do more than make phone calls. Plus they are considered an accessory.
  • Not to be naive but students do use computers and PDA’s for more than games and social media. I know it may be a chunk of the time, but they also use these for research and schoo,l or at least that is the justification they give parents.
  • Reading books is down and being a lover of books who still thinks there is something more satisfying about holding a book in your hand and turning the pages than reading from a screen, I recoil at this statistic. However, at some point in history, man transitioned from the scroll to the printed page and I am sure there were skeptics in that century as well. Oh yes, the kindle and nook could have something to do with this as well.

I repeat, I am not trying to discredit the research, I am just saying we should look at it from other perspectives before it becomes sermon material.

So what do you think?

(For other blog posts on leadership, student ministry or spiritual growth, check out the archive section)

 

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