Teens and Time Spent Online

If your kids are awake, they’re probably online. So reads the headline to a story in yesterday’s New York Times about today’s teens and how much time they spend online. The article highlights a new study on the online lives of children and teenagers by the Kaiser Family Foundation. As the report states:

Eight-to-eighteen-year-olds spend more time with media than in any other activity besides (maybe) sleeping — an average of more than 7 1/2 hours a day, seven days a week. The TV shows they watch, video games they play, songs they listen to, books they read and websites they visit are an enormous part of their lives, offering a constant stream of messages about families, peers, relationships, gender roles, sex, violence, food, values, clothes, an abundance of other topics too long to list.

These numbers are up from an average of nearly 6 1/2 hours a day measured five years ago. The study attributes the higher numbers to increased use of mobile devices such as cell phones and iPods.

It also cites a lack of parental supervision. According to the report, most youth say they have no rules about how much time they can spend with tv, video games, or computers. But when parents do set limits, children spend less time with media: those with any media rules consume nearly 3 hours less media per day than those with no rules.

“The amount of time young people spend with media has grown to where it’s even more than a full-time work week,” said Drew Altman, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “When children are spending this much time doing anything, we need to understand how it’s affecting them – for good and bad.”

If you would like some tips on managing media consumption in the home, let me recommend an earlier series from this blog on the subject: Taming Technology in the Home. What are your thoughts about teens and time spent online?

1 Comment

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