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Stark differences in media use between minority and white youth in US: Study


June 8, 2011 - Washington

Minority youth aged eight to 18 years in the US consume an average of 13 hours of media content a day, about 4-1/2 hours more than their white counterparts, a study by Northwestern University has claimed.

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

The report finds that minority children spend one to two additional hours each day watching TV and videos, approximately an hour more listening to music, up to an hour and a half more on computers, and 30 to 40 minutes more playing video games than their white counterparts.

The only medium for which no difference was found between minority and white youth was reading print for pleasure. Young people in all groups read for pleasure approximately 30 to 40 minutes a day, the study finds.

"Our study is not meant to blame parents," says Wartella, a longtime Sesame Workshop trustee and Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication. "We hope to help parents, educators and policymakers better understand how children's media use may influence health and educational disparities."

The study, "Children, Media and Race: Media Use Among White, Black, Hispanic and Asian American Children," is based on a new analysis, by race, of data from the Kaiser Family Foundation's previous media use studies. It finds that race-related differences among youth are robust even when controlling for factors including parent education and whether or not children are from single- or two-parent families.

Black and Hispanic youth are more likely to have TV sets in their bedrooms (84 percent of blacks, 77 percent of Hispanics compared to 64 percent of whites and Asians), and to have cable and premium channels available in their bedrooms (42 percent of blacks and 28 percent of Hispanics compared to 17 percent of whites and 14 percent of Asians).

Minority youth eat more meals in front of the TV set-with 78 percent of black, 67 percent of Hispanic, 58 percent of white and 55 percent of Asian 8- to 18-year-olds reporting that the TV is "usually" on during meals at home.

There are no significant differences in time spent by youth multi-tasking their media, as 37 percent of white, 44 percent of black and 41 percent of Hispanic middle and high school students report using another medium "most of the time" while watching TV.

ANI

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