Study: American kids spend 7.5 hours per day using electronics

Study: American kids spend 7.5 hours per day using electronics

Summary: 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.

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TOPICS: Smartphones
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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.

Topic: Smartphones

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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8 comments
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  • So you asked kids what their usage habits were

    and you expect the results to be accurate? How else do you get these numbers?

    From what I've seen, American kids have been spending more time than that on the TV for a while now. TV is the replacement for parenting. Although now the internet and video games are taking over.

    Who needs a baby sitter when you have broadband?
    T1Oracle
  • Hey, I would like to have them using electronics more in schools

    To make up for the students who, like myself, have writing disabilities and other disabilities.

    In fact, my parents had to threaten to SUE the school in order to get them to allow me to do all my work on a computer or have a large amount of extra time if a teacher insisted on me doing something by hand!
    Lerianis10
  • RE: Study: American kids spend 7.5 hours per day using electronics

    I urge interested persons to read the book
    "Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming
    Dark Age." It talks all about the effects that this
    author astutely points out. As a student of
    neuroscience, I feel that the effects of information
    intake overflow is frequently a dire consequence of an
    attentional system gone awry, incapable of filtering,
    integrating, and selectively attending to certain
    stimuli. It's a condition exacerbated by compulsive
    overuse of electronics.

    Andrea Akutagawa
    http://liberate.it
    AAkutagawa
  • Lack of parenting is apparent.

    Sorry but NO child should spend that sort of time at any electronic (baby sitter) device.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Agreed

      I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to view so many kids (and some adults) as having a mental illness when it comes to phones and texting. I see my young cousin on Facebook literally begging her contacts to text her. I see some walking around looking at their phone every 30 seconds, whether it rings or not, just to be sure they don't have a text message.

      Their focus seems so overwhelmingly aimed at phone use and texting, I have to wonder how they can spend much time on anything productive.
      shawkins
  • Autism on the rise in the US.

    Gee, wonder why...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
  • RE: Study: American kids spend 7.5 hours per day using electronics

    best market share ha ha....
    http://diamondpearlgoldsilver.blogspot.com/
    http://diamondpearlgoldsilver.blogspot.com/
    http://diamondpearlgoldsilver.blogspot.com/
    Jimmcoll
  • RE: Study: American kids spend 7.5 hours per day using electronics

    That's amazing for use everything about electronic for game.


    http://www.electronicreaderforkids.com/
    http://www.electronickitsforadults.com/
    electronickitsforadults