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By Donald F. Roberts

Interpreting the complete array of media on hand to teenagers and teens, this ebook describes not just the quantity of time they spend with each one medium, however the sorts of content material they select, and the actual, social, and mental context of a lot in their publicity. This nationwide pattern research offers a entire photograph of younger people's media habit.

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There is good reason to expect parent estimates of their children’s media exposure to be somewhat different than the children themselves might give (if they were able to provide accurate information themselves). Because parents frequently are not present when their children are engaged in media activities, they may be unaware of how much of which media and what content their children consume under what conditions. Moreover, in light of recent public discussion of the possibly negative role of media in children’s lives, some parents may be inclined to give “socially desirable” responses to some of the questions.

Moreover, differences in interpretation of what a question asks may be even greater among children and adolescents than among a sample of adults. We suspect, for example, that variations in what “reading” means to 7-year-olds and 16-year-olds may be both qualitatively and quantitatively greater than the variations likely to be found among adults. Without further belaboring the issue, suffice it to say that the task of surveying a large sample of children and adolescents about how they spend their media time poses a variety of measurement problems.

Queries from their offspring can attest, children and even adolescents (who presumably can “tell time”) have different conceptions of time THE SAMPLES 17 units than we might expect from adults. Young people also often lack accurate information about a variety of other relatively standard (and important) survey questions. For example, many youngsters have no idea of their parents’ education or income level; others may have been given false information. Moreover, differences in interpretation of what a question asks may be even greater among children and adolescents than among a sample of adults.

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