Examining adolescent screen time: surprising stats on television and computer usage

Examining adolescent screen time: surprising stats on television and computer usage
by imagerymajestic for FreeDigitalImages.net

Wondering what adolescents' screen time looks like these days? I was surprised to learn that kids spend more time on screens than they do in school, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.  In fact, time spent with media takes up more of their time than any other activity other than sleeping, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

That, my friends, is a whole lot of screen time. A new study released this week by the National Center on Health Statistics examined television and computer screen usage outside of school by kids ages 12 and 15 in 2012.  Some findings from the study include:

* 91.1% youth aged 12–15 reported using the computer daily outside of school. That said, more than a quarter of kids said that while they do use the computer daily, they do so for less than an hour a day.

* 98.5% youth aged 12–15 reported watching television daily - yup, nearly every single kid who responded had some screen time.

* 27.0% of kids said that watched 2 hours or less of television plus computer use daily.

* 6.9% of respondents said that they watched 5 hours or more of television each day.


A separate study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that tweens and teens who have televisions and computers in their bedroom recorded a whole lot more screen time. I know, this isn't shocking. If they just called me, I could save them some time, but I guess scientists will be scientists. I did find it interesting that pediatricians who watch more TV are less likely to advise families to follow AAP recommendations.

The AAP recommends that children, including tweens and teens, limit leisure screen time to 2 hours or less daily and that they not have TVs in their bedrooms. Other suggestions include that parents enforce curfews for devices and televisions and that they apply to the whole family. Yup, mom and dad, that goes for you, too.

The AAP also acknowledges that "important positive and prosocial effects of media use should also be recognized" and suggests that parents "coview TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers, and use this as a way of discussing important family values."

So no, you don't have to ban the television, but it is a good thing to be aware of as summer goes on and kids increasingly turn to screens for entertainment. I'm a huge fan of Common Sense Media if you need to check out what your tweens and teens are watching/playing, need ideas for family movie night or wonder how to make media use as positive and educational as possible.

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Filed under: Media, Parenting

Tags: screen time

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