By Robert Schoon (r.schoon@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Dec 21, 2013 08:46 PM EST
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(Photo : Nielsen: Latina Power Shift)

Young Latinos spend more time reading than they do on the computer, according to a new study released in December by Northwestern University and the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL). The study delves into what kinds of media are most important in Hispanic families today, and includes some interesting findings.

The study, called "Media, Technology and Reading in Hispanic Families," looked at how Hispanic family life in America, within the new world of proliferating electronic media choices, is taking shape. This included finding out how much time children and parents spend reading, using mobile devices, watching television, and playing video games, along with asking parents in households with children age eight or younger about their attitudes towards these choices.

The survey was conducted in late fall 2012, as part of a larger study looking at parenting and digital technology within the U.S. population as a whole. More than 600 Hispanic parents of children eight and younger were surveyed.

Among the study's key findings:

Hispanic children read for more than an hour per day, which is on average 14 minutes more than non-Hispanic White children. And there was no statistically significant difference in the amount of time Hispanic children read based on the parents' education and income level.

Hispanic parents are likely to own smartphones at about the same rate as non-Hispanic White parents - reflecting a high smartphone adoption rate among U.S. Latinos, which Pew found earlier this year in its own survey - but they are less likely to have a tablet, at 33 percent compared with 46 percent. Lower-income Hispanic families were less likely to own a smartphone, while middle and higher-income families reported owning smartphones at nearly the same level - about 77 percent.

Television, however, is the most important media implement in the Hispanic family household. Nearly all Hispanic families, 99 percent, surveyed reported having at least one television, while 50 percent had three or more. Hispanic children spent more time watching TV than they did with any other medium, at a little more than 2 hours per day. This is more than non-Hispanic White children.

This reflects the views of Hispanic parents, most of whom - around 60 percent - view television as having a positive impact on children's creativity and social school. The survey also found that nearly half of Hispanic families, 47 percent, find watching television together as an activity they enjoy "a lot," and a majority of Hispanic parents are likely to use television as a parenting tool to keep kids occupied while doing chores or preparing dinner.

Most Hispanic parents are convinced, however, that computer and digital literacy are important skills for their children to have as well. Sixty-six percent agreed that their children needed to be capable of computer fluency and newer mobile technologies like tablets in order to be successful, and most are confident in their children's skills. However, Hispanic parents are likely to have a negative opinion on video games, even though a large majority of Hispanic households have a video game console.

These results just scratch the surface of the study, which provides detailed assessments of the average Hispanic family's viewing and reading habits, broken down in detail. Check out the study here for more.

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