Internet and Kids

Here are some interesting facts about how the Internet has influenced kids’ traditional viewing habits:

  • 64% of kids report going online while watching TV, with 49% of Teens doing the same from three times a week to several times a day.
  • 73% of kids are actively multitasking, which is up by +33% since 2002.
  • 50% of 9 to 17-year-olds visit websites they see on TV even as they continue to watch
  • 45% of teens have sent instant messages or e-mail to others they knew were watching the same TV show
  • 33% of 9 to 17-year-olds say they have participated in online polls, entered contests, played online games or other online activities that TV programs have directed them to while they are watching.
  • While TV/internet multitasking, 47% of kids report their attention focused primarily online, with 42% saying they focus equally on the two, while 11% report TV holds their primary attending.

The US study (The Kids’ Social Networking Study by the research firm Grunwald Associates) was conducted online with 1,277 9-17-year-olds, 1,039 parents, and telephone interviews with 250 school district leaders in charge of internet policy.

Implication: kids are into multi-tasking, meaning that content in one medium is influencing a concurrent behavior in another medium. In other words, it’s not enough to just watch a TV program or read a book, nowadays – you also need to be online or connected by cell phone while doing so. An example: you just don’t watch American Idol, you also go online (or on a cell phone) and vote people off of the show. This means that, if Jesus had a TV program today on which he was telling parables, there would be an accompanying Website where viewers could log on and express their opinion, select an option, ask a question, or indicate their level of understanding!

About Joe Paprocki 2645 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

2 Comments on Internet and Kids

  1. It would be interesting to see how the “cast the first stone” parable would have turned out if a million people online had had the opportunity to vote the woman off the island.

    I think what’s different today is not the multi-ness of the tasking. Didn’t we listen to the radio or our record albums (anybody remember 8-tracks? LPs?) while we did our homework? In our house, we had to get a 12 foot phone cord so my sister could talk to her friends while she washed dishes or folded the laundry.

    What’s different today is the massiveness of our social interactions, the anonymity and sometimes fictiveness of our social interactions, and the instantaneous speed with which we can interact.

    I worry that those of us in the second half of life look at those characteristics of social interaction today and conclude that the social networks of young people are therefore weak and shallow. We sometimes discount them because they aren’t “real” relationships like we have.

    For me, paying attention and respecting this difference in creating networks is particularly important in catechumenate ministry. If our goal is initiation into the community, the body of Christ, we need to be skilled at building community the way younger people are accustomed to.

    Nick Wagner
    Team RCIA

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