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Youth & Young Adult Catechesis: Ministering to Youth in a Media-Saturated Culture
The Agorà was the chief marketplace of Athens, the center of the city’s life. It was there that new ideas were discussed, the newest fashions were worn, the newest things purchased or sold. In short, it was the heart of Athenian culture. So where is the agorà for youth? All road signs point towards the media. In a recently released study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation on the media consumption of 8 to 18 year olds in America, they concluded: ‘Over the past five years, young people have increased the amount of time they spend consuming media by an hour and seventeen minutes daily, from 6:21 to 7:38—almost the amount of time most adults spend at work each day, except that young people use media seven days a week instead of five. Moreover, given the amount of time they spend using more than one medium at a time, today’s youth pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those daily 71/2 hours—an increase of almost 21/4 hours of media exposure per day over the past five years.’ The document goes on to say that the greatest increase of teen media over the past five years has been in mobile communications. 66% of people from 8 to 18 have a media-enabled cell phone, which they use more for playing games and watching movies than communicating. These are mind-blowing statistics, and they point to a harsh reality: The youth don’t consume media. Media consumes them.