A new report shows that children and teens are spending more time using media for entertainment. This increase is driven in large part by access to mobile devices.
The report was released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. It involved a 2009 survey of 2,002 students. They were in the 3rd to 12th grades. Their ages ranged from 8 to 18 years.
The study covered TV, movies, computers, video games, music/audio and print Results were compared with a 2004 survey.
Results show that students reported using entertainment media for more than 53 hours per week. Their average daily recreational media usage was seven hours and 38 minutes. This was an hour and 17 minutes more per day than in 2004.
In the past five years the percentage of students who owned a cell phone increased from 39 percent to 66 percent. Ownership of an iPod or other MP3 player increased from 18 percent to 76 percent.
Only about three in ten students reported that they have rules about how much time they can spend using entertainment media. Media usage dropped by nearly three hours per day when parents set limits.
Seventy-one percent of students reported that they have a TV in their bedroom. Fifty percent said they have a console video game player in their room.
“When children are spending this much time doing anything, we need to understand how it’s affecting them – for good and bad,” Drew Altman, PhD, said in a news release. He is the president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Last year the Sleep Education Blog reported that technology may be taking a toll on teens’ sleep. And studies have examined the relationship between TV viewing and sleep problems in children.
The AASM recommends that parents keep the TV and computer out of their teen’s bedroom. Parents also should set a “communication curfew” at night; set a time after which your teen can no longer talk on the phone or send text messages, instant messages or e-mails.
Learn more about teens and sleep loss on SleepEducation.com. Parents can get more tips for teen bed times.