As the video and presentation from the Kaiser Family Foundation below shows, kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend over 53 hours per week with media. The behavior of the M2 generation, as they are labeled here, creates significant challenges for digital marketers'. With multiple devices in play, it becomes harder to create deep and meaningful engagement with brands, and a marketer or product designer must become astute at embracing the environmental noise created by multiple tangential interactions with other forms of entertainment being simultaneously accessed by the consumer.
As a passive medium, television has maintained a role in the multi-tasking mix thanks to the emergence of DVRs, which enable a child to rewind and replay whatever was missed while responding to a text or playing a game. Fragments of conversations unfold via text message are actually more interesting because they have a different pace and rhythm than voice conversations, and they have the added benefit that they can't be overheard. On average, the M2 consumer spends 50% more time consuming media on a cell phone than talking on it, even though mobile devices represent only 12% of their music and TV consumption by platform.
The study is compelling not just because it shows how little parental oversight really exists, despite the continuing evidence that unsupervised media and Internet access is correlated with poor performance in school and social situations. What is so interesting to me is the quantifiable evidence that media fragmentation is becoming the norm for this generation, because they are effectively driving it and not just adapting to it.