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The Video Generation

At age eleven, I experienced Disney at the movies or on VHS, nowadays Digital Natives are experiencing it online. Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, reports:

“Kids 2-11 viewed an average of 51 streams and 118 minutes of online video per person during the month, while teens 12-17 viewed an average of 74 streams and 132 minutes of online video. Those over 18 viewed an average of 44 streams and 99 minutes of online video”

The way I see it, it’s impossible to avoid this phenomenon, and if anything, these numbers will continue to increase in the near future. Digital Natives can find anything from “digital play for girls today” ( to “where the hell is matt” ( to the NBA Finals. As Michael Pond, senior media analyst, Nielsen online, states:

“Today’s youth don’t know – or don’t remember – a time when they weren’t going online, so their adoption of online video has been seamless”

For young Digital Natives online video seems to compliment their TV experience. Their top online video destinations include Disney Records, PBS Kids, Nick, and Barbie, among others. For DNs, ages 12-17, the demographic with the highest average of streams viewed, the most popular destinations include YouTube,, Google Video, Facebook, bebo, and, among others.

In many ways, online video is more engaging and interactive than conventional video sources such as TV or DVDs. For example, YouTube enables users to watch related videos, post video responses, and make comments about the videos viewed. This establishes a community where users are not only able to find videos but also network with others who share similar interests. PBS Kids, for example, allows users to color and play games with their favorite characters. One common theme in all of these websites is availability of related-video-links. This makes it more likely for users to spend longer periods of time online. We all know the way it goes, one link leads to another link, which leads to yet another link…the possibilities are endless.

And there’s video content for everyone. Some of my school friends who studied abroad became experts at finding sites that would enable them to watch American shows while abroad. When they came back to the states they were hooked on websites such as or These are “link-sharing-website that catalogue links to TV shows, movies, music videos, sport, anime and cartoons to make them more easily accessible.” Not only do we have YouTube, where you can “broadcast yourself”, we also have websites that make it possible to watch all the episodes of all the shows you’ve ever loved watching, online. For those who love sports, there are websites such as, where soccer fans can watch matches for free. And my personal favorite, I recently started attending a church where they offer podcasts of the sermons, so if you spaced out for a second and did not pay attention to the youth pastor, no biggie, just watch the podcast.

Finally, I believe this development to be positive. From my own experience, I know I can sing Hakuna Matata better than I can recall the departments of Colombia – something I apparently learned in the 3rd grade. As a child I always loved learning through video. I learn about how babies come to the world at age five through a video my mom rented and to this day I remember clips from it. It is crucial that we learn and continue to harness the influence and power online video has on Digital Natives today. Video content online shouldn’t be just an extension of what young Digital Natives are experiencing in front of their televisions. It must continue to go beyond.

The Video Generation: Kids and Teens Consuming More Online Video Content Than Adults at Home, According to Nielsen Online