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US youths spending more ‘screen time’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by 3K Admin   
Monday, 25 January 2010 18:25



WASHINGTON, Jan 25 — Young people in the United States are spending more time than ever with nearly every form of media — except print.

A report released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that young people spend more hours on the computer, in front of the television, playing video games, texting and listening to music than an average adult spends full-time at work.

“And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multi-tasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those 7 hours,” the report said.

However, the report also flagged a downside: Those who were big media consumers were more likely to earn average or poor grades in school. Nearly half of all heavy users of media platforms have C grades or lower, compared with 23 per cent of light users.

The foundation, dedicated to analysis and information on health issues, worked with Stanford University researchers surveying students aged eight to 18.

The 10-year study said youths now spend more than 7½ hours each day using electronic media.

However, for the first time over the course of the study, the amount of time spent watching regularly scheduled TV declined, by 25 minutes a day, from 2004 to last year. Still, the many new ways to watch TV — on the Internet, cellphones and iPods — led to an increase in total TV consumption.

The report showed that 20 per cent of youth media consumption in the US is now done over cellphones. About one hour a day of music and television is now consumed through digital forms like through iPods and sites like Hulu, a free online video service that offers hit TV shows.

The only media they are not soaking up are newspapers, magazines and other print publications.

Parents who impose limits — like not having a TV set in the bedroom, and not leaving the television on during meals — have children who consume less media, according to the report.

An explosion of mobile and online media facilitated by broadband and smartphones accounts for the move to screen living. The last thing youths do when they fall asleep is send a text or check a social networking application on their phones, which they then tuck under their pillows, the authors wrote.

And young people own more gadgets and computers than ever. Last year, 76 per cent of youth owned an iPod or MP3 player, compared with 18 per cent in 1999. Nearly seven out of 10 youths owned a cellphone last year, compared with four in 10 a decade earlier. The percentage of youths with laptops more than doubled to 29 per cent.

The foundation’s finding on youth and media five years ago showed children were breaking records of “screen time” and often surfing the web on their computers while text messaging and watching television. “At the point, it seemed that young people’s lives were filled to the bursting point with media,” the authors wrote. “Today, however, those levels of use have been shattered.”

Key findings include:

• US children aged eight to 18 are now spending more than 53 hours a week using entertainment media. Ten years ago, that figure was 43 hours a week.

• TV still dominates, followed by music, computers and video games. TV watched online and over phones has contributed to TV viewing figures.

• Children spend an average of 38 minutes a day reading a print publication, compared to 43 minutes a day 10 years ago.

• Children are using mobile phones for music, videos and other entertainment more than for talking. — Washington Post




Last Updated on Monday, 25 January 2010 18:36