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Probably every waking minute of a child’s life outside of scheduled activity is spent with phones, videos, games, TV, or computers — over seven and a half hours, writes Tamar Lewin in the NY Times.
And because they’re multitasking, they probably pack nearly eleven and a half hours of media content into it.
The study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The findings shocked its authors, who had concluded in 2005 that use could not possibly grow further.
Dr Michael Reich, who directs the Center on Media and Child Health, says that with media use so ubiquitous, it was time to stop arguing over whether it’s good or bad, and accept it as part of a child’s enviornment. It’s
like the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat.
Although studies have established a link between screen time and obesity, it is surprising that heaviest media users reported spending the same amount of time exercising as light media users.
While most of the young people got good grades, 47 percent of the heaviest users (at least 16 hours a day) had mostly C’s or lower.
The heaviest media users were also more likely to report that they were bored or sad, or that they got into trouble, did not get along well with their parents, and were unhappy at school.
The study does not say, however, whether media use causes such things, or whether these children turn to media as a result of them.
Donald F Roberts, a Stanford communications professor and one of the report’s authors, called the results of this growing use of media “a stunner.”
The study shows that young people use less media in homes with rules like no TV during meals and no TV in the bedroom, or with limits on media use.
Heaviest users appear to be black and Hispanic youths and “tween,” or those between 11 and 14.
Victoria Rideout, a Kaiser VP who is lead author of the study, says parents can still have an effect on children’s use, even though it’s become more difficult.
I don’t think parents should feel totally disempowered. They can still make rules, and it still makes a difference.
sole source: Tamar Lewin’s article in the NY Times on 1/20/10. www.nytimes.com
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