A recent New York Times article reveals startling new information about our digital native kids. Just when we thought our digital natives couldn't log any additional on-line or plugged-in time, they do just that. According to the article, If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online, by Tamar Lewin, the Kaiser Family Foundation repeated a study last done five years ago and discovered that digital natives are now online or plugged-in "seven and a half hours a day... compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago." While that is startling enough, because digital natives multi-task so well, these kids pack about eleven hours of media use into these seven and a half hours each day. Of the seven and a half hours, digital natives average about two hours of that time on a mobile device. The study shows that more than 70% of teens have a TV in their rooms and more than 33% of teens have a computer with internet access in their rooms. The new study further supports the idea that our schools and our classrooms must continue to make strides in an effort to keep kids literally plugged in to education. More integration of technology into daily classroom activities, allowing students more access to technology for academic endeavors, and more out-of-the-box thinking and planning by teachers are just a few of the things that must happen in schools to keep our kids focused on their education.
All of these statistics are fascinating but on some level they should be downright frightening. Why? I'll explain in my next post and the explanation has nothing to do with classroom education.