• Julia Corsetti

Battle of the Generations: Media Consumption In Quarantine

You’ve seen what everyone’s been up to during quarantine. How have you seen it? On your personal portal to the internet, of course.

We can all agree that the coronavirus pandemic has made most of us even more glued to our devices and screens. I mean, what are we supposed to do, build a chair?

We're not all lucky enough to be Ron Swanson.

The biggest hits of quarantine, other than scrolling, have been: piecing together puzzles, baking sourdough with a homemade starter, playing Animal Crossing, and going for an afternoon stroll (masked up) to see something beyond your four walls.

But the rest of the time, we’re consuming media. Depending on your generation, you are spending that time looking at or listening to different mediums.

In a study of media consumption in the era of COVID-19 based on age groups, 4000 participants were asked how the recent outbreak has changed what types of media they’re consuming.

Generation Z (16-23 years old) have begun watching more online videos in quarantine. Ever heard of TikTok? Me neither.

Millennials (24-37 years old) saw the largest increase in usage across the board. Even more of a widespread bump overall than Gen Z. Maybe because Gen Z has grown up with screens surrounding them, from the moment they were born, and they’ve already become accustomed to life with devices, perhaps meaning their relationship with the machines with which we spend so much time has been sturdily defined, less prone to wavering even in the face of a life-changing pandemic.

Generation X (38-56 years old) are reading more online and watching more cable. This is the age group that’s hip to modern technology while also veering into the “vulnerable population”. Therefore, they are likely more fearful (rightfully so based on life-threatening outcomes) of catching coronavirus, so perhaps they want to be up to date on all of the latest news about the spread, infection rates, the policy changes, political backlash and business updates.

Lastly, the Boomers (57-64), have seen the smallest increase in media consumption, with a spike in broadcast television, probably for the same reason as Gen X, to stay on top of the news in the most effective way they’re comfortable with: TV. Makes sense, they’re set in their ways.

And how has each generation spent their time online?

Well, overall, most of us are looking up coronavirus updates. And then cleansing the palate with some funny videos to cheer us up from the endless barrage of depressing news. So, if you’re in the mood for a pick me up, give John Krasinskis’ YouTube program “Some Good News” a watch. It’ll brighten your day!

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