Media addiction absorbs teens 9 hours every day, a recent study published on November 4 has shown. The findings were revealed following the “Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens”, which surveyed 2,658 children aged 8 to 18, between February 6 and March 9.
This is the most extensive analysis of this kind conducted in the last 5 years. It was carried out by a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, which promotes safe technology and media consumption among kids.
It was determined that teens spend around 9 hours on average every day glued to media, while tweens (aged 8 to 12) have a less time-consuming media habit, amounting to 6 hours daily.
This amount is staggering, especially when considering that it’s only for entertainment purposes, and it excludes time dedicated to technology at school or while doing homework.
More precisely, it includes the following activities: socializing on networking platforms, playing games, listening to music, and watching TV, online videos or movies.
Just 6% of the respondents claim they don’t use any media on a daily basis, and as few as 3% of them actually generate new media content, the rest of them being just passive consumers.
The most time-demanding activity among adolescents when resorting to media is listening to music (66%), which surpasses watching television (58%) and social networking (45%).
Listening to music has also been rated as the teens’ favorite media-related pastime, being preferred by around one-third of the respondents, whereas preteens are more attached to television. Surprisingly, social media tops other activities just among 10% of the participants, although it has become an essential part of their lives.
When it comes to TV shows and other video content, half of the total viewing takes place using television sets during the original airing, 14% happens through mobile devices, while 22% is achieved through YouTube and similar platforms.
Researchers have also identified certain gender differences in media consumption: girls tend to dedicate 40 minutes more every day to social media, while boys are more interested in gaming, spending 56 minutes daily with video games (8 times as much as girls do).
Moreover, African-American teens have been found to consecrate additional time to media (around 11 hours and 13 minutes), in contrast with their Caucasian (8 hours and 48 minutes) or Hispanic counterparts (over 9 hours).
There are also disparities due to social income, since respondents from low-income families tend to be more dependent on media. Although they are less likely to own smartphones, tablets or computers, when they do have such devices they spend around 2 hours and 45 minutes more on average absorbed by them.
More alarmingly, addiction to media disrupts school work, since more than half of all teen respondents multitask by trying to study while listening to music, texting, watching TV or browsing social media.
Approximately two-thirds of them claim this doesn’t have any negative consequences on the quality of their work., despite extensive research suggesting the opposite.
In fact half of them believe that background music allows them to focus better. Just 6% of them admit it might affect their academic performance, while the vast majority (84%) insist that they actually do well at school.
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