Teenagers Spend an Astounding 9 Hours Per Day in Front of a Screen
With 24 hours in a day, we are supposed to spend 8 hours sleeping for proper health. We find ourselves spending around 8 hours working and leaving 8 more hours to take care of everything else. Students who are expected to excel must often spend close to 8 hours at school, then a few more hours with extra-curricular activities and finish up with some homework before shuffling off to bed in order to get a good night’s sleep. With so much going on at any time, it’s hard to imagine that there is any time left in the day for hours watching television, surfing the net or chatting with others online. However, recent findings from Common Sense Media shows some startling facts about how children 8 and up spend upwards of 9 hours per day accessing and absorbing media of all kinds.
The non-profit organization Common Sense Media is dedicated to helping parents and children understand the implications of using technology in unhealthy ways and focuses on finding ways to support positive and responsible habits concerning time spent behind the screen of a computer, television, smartphone or computer. The digital world changes at a rapid pace and it is not always simple to determine which games, movies, shows or music might have a negative impact when shared with an inappropriate age group. Common Sense collaborates to develop tools for parents and children as well as providing in depth information as to the appropriateness of different software or other digital media. In order to understand how technology is being used, Common Sense began polling families from around the nation to help identify areas that need attention.
The report titled Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens found a number of interesting facts, not the least of which is the fact that teens and tweens spend almost 50 hours per week indulging in all kinds of electronic media entertainment. That’s enough time to spend at a full time job with plenty of overtime. Unfortunately, children are not receiving any financial benefit from this daily devotion, and they are often not reaping any benefits for their mental development either. Spending more than 9 hours per day on entertainment is creating poor habits that makes it nearly impossible to maintain good grades or even function in society at all. In order to make sure that children will be able to function and manage their lives as adults, it is important to instill a balance between work and play and make sure that we don’t lose touch with reality.
Media users are classified into several different groups. There are those who heavily watch videos, those who play video games, some who share with social networks and others who read online with a computer, tablet or smartphone. Each of these different types of engagements have their own sets of issues and topics that parents should look out for when their children are getting too much screen time and not enough positive and productive activities. In fact, the consensus found that those who spend time consuming media are less likely to be spending time creating it. With online addictions and disconnects from reality getting in the way of developmental growth, it is prudent to make sure that we instill good values in our youth so that they will not be completely lost and dependent when they reach adulthood.
Everyone matures at a different rate. Maturity comes from life experiences and learning how to deal with them in a reputable and responsible manner. Parents can take logical approaches with their children to address issues that can occur when interests and ambitions are not prioritized to ensure the best possible chances for success. Allowing children to access the Internet and other digital media without restraint or direction can lead to a path of confusion and despair later in life. Monitoring the types of activities and the time spent consuming media will give parents a better idea of how to address time management and decision making so that their children have the best possible chance to succeed in life.