News videos consumption in an age of new media: a comparison between adolescents and adults

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Abstract

Contemporary audiences have abundant access to news anywhere, anytime and through a wide range of media. Due to the short length of news items, they do not require prolonged attentional focus. Consequently, the genre is consequential for performing simultaneous activities, which are related (i.e. second screening) or unrelated (i.e. media multitasking) to the content of the news items. Despite the potential of second screen activities to increase the political participation of young people, and the fact that adolescents are heavy users of digital media, there is almost no data on the extent to which they perform such activities. Also, there are almost no comparative data about the rates of news video consumption of adolescents vs. adults. This descriptive study analyzes how adolescents and adults consume news video content in an era of second screens. For four consecutive days, subjects reported their viewing behaviors using a dedicated mobile application. Results demonstrate that adolescents consume significantly less news video content compared to adults; smartphones occupy a more prominent role in their news consumption behavior compared to adults; and they are significantly more involved in Second Screening activities. Implications of the findings for understanding adolescents’ contemporary media ecology are examined. IMPACT SUMMARY: a. Prior State of Knowledge: Young people are the primary age group that consumes news content mainly on digital platforms, and simultaneously performs multitasking and second screening activities. b. Novel Contributions: Adolescents’ consumption habits are significantly different from those of adults: they consume less news, the smartphone occupies a more prominent role in their news consumption behavior, and they are significantly more involved in second screening activities. c. Practical implications: The question of how adolescents consume news content has sparked significant interest of scholars and parents alike. As adolescents are in a developmental stage in which they socialize and acquire habits that will affect them later in life, an understanding of their media consumption habits can have significant consequences contemporarily, and possibly at later stages in their lives. The paper provides novel insights about adolescents’ news consumption patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-94
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Children and Media
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Media Multitasking
  • Second Screening
  • adolescents
  • news consumption
  • viewing behavior

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