Greater Media Use Found Among Minority Kids

Time spent with TVs, music players, video games, computers varies by race and ethnicity, analysis shows

WEDNESDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Black and other minority children in the United States spend far more time than white children watching TV and videos, listening to music, using computers and playing video games, new research shows.

Northwestern University researchers analyzed the results of previous media use studies done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and found that minority youth, 8 to 18 years old, consume an average of 13 hours of media content a day, about 4.5 hours more than white youth.

Minority youth spend one to two more hours a day than white youth watching TV and videos, about an hour more listening to music, as much as 90 minutes more on computers and 30 to 40 minutes more playing video games, the researchers found.

Among the specific findings:

  • TV viewing (including TV sets and technologies such as TiVo, DVDs and mobile and online viewing) totaled 5 hours and 54 minutes a day for blacks, 5 hours and 21 minutes for Hispanics, 4 hours and 41 minutes for Asians and 3 hours 36 minutes for whites.
  • The average amount of time spent using cellphones, iPods and other mobile devices to watch TV and videos, play games and listen to music was 3 hours 7 minutes a day for Asians, 2 hours 53 minutes for Hispanics, 2 hours 52 minutes for blacks and 1 hour 20 minutes for whites.
  • The average amount of recreational computer use was 2 hours 53 minutes a day for Asians, 1 hour 49 minutes for Hispanics, 1 hours 24 minutes for blacks and 1 hours 17 minutes for whites.
  • The proportion of youth who use entertainment media "most of the time" while doing homework was 35 percent among blacks and Hispanics, 30 percent among Asians and 28 percent among whites.
  • Youth in all racial/ethnic groups spent 30 to 40 minutes a day reading for pleasure.

"In the past decade, the gap between minority and white youth's daily media use has doubled for blacks and quadrupled for Hispanics," the study's director, Ellen Wartella, who heads Northwestern's Center on Media and Human Development, said in a university news release. "The big question is what these disparities mean for our children's health and education."

The study was scheduled to be presented Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at the Lambert Family Communication Conference on Children, Media and Race. Experts note that research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary because it has not been subjected to the rigorous scrutiny given to research published in peer-reviewed journals.

More information

The Nemours Foundation explains how TV affects children.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release, June 8, 2011

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