Study: American kids spend 7.5 hours per day using electronics

American youths now spend more than seven and a half hours per day using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study.

American youths now spend more than seven and a half hours per day using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study.

According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, those aged between 8 and 18 years old spent an average of 53 hours per week using electronics -- and because some of that time includes several electronics at once, they actually manage to cram 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media into the 7 hours, 38 minutes actually spent per day.

[View the entire report (.pdf)]

In contrast, they spent less than six and a half hours using electronics five years ago, when the study was last conducted.

In that study, the authors concluded that use could not possibly grow further.

They were wrong.

The study also found some interesting behavioral effects. For one, the heaviest media users reported spending a similar amount of time exercising as the light media users.

Further, the heaviest media users had a greater association with behavioral problems and lower grades: 47 percent of those who consumed an astounding 16 hours of media per day had grades of mostly Cs or lower. In comparison, just 23 percent of those who consumed media three hours or less had such grades.

The heaviest media users were also more likely to report boredom, sadness or trouble at school.

But the study couldn't figure out the chicken-or-the-egg situation in this study: was it media driving kids to sadness and poor grades, or is heavy media use a result of those problems?

More interesting takeaways:

  • On average, young people spend about two hours a day consuming media on a mobile device.
  • On average, young people spend an hour a day on television or music content viewed through new pathways such as online.
  • For this age group, phones are used more for consuming media than actual conversations.
  • More than seven in 10 youths have a TV in their bedroom.
  • About one-third have a computer with Internet access in their bedroom.
  • The heaviest media users are black and Hispanic youths and “tweens,” or those ages 11 to 14.

The report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students in grades 3 to 12 that was conducted from October 2008 to May 2009.

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