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How much time do you spend in front of a screen?

January 20, 2010

There was a recent study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found that kids (8-18) are spending about 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen.  Basically, that leaves time for school, sleeping, eating and bathing.

The blog-o-sphere has been atwitter (haha) about the findings, though I have to say, did they really need a study to realize that kids’ (and adults’) lives revolve around technology?  I also am not convinced it’s a bad thing.

There is a reason that everyone uses technology to the degree that they do — it makes our lives easier.  We are able to do more and better things with it.  Could you imagine work without email?  Nothing would happen as quickly.  Schools now rely heavily on computers, so much that often there are no physical textbooks assigned for a class because everything is available online.

It seems like the Kaiser Family Foundation is critical of our acceptance of new technology and its applications.  Should kids go back to using the card catalog at the library instead of Google Books?  Just because they are in front of a screen does not mean they are up to no good — likely they are studying and learning.

Interestingly, kids are consuming about 11 hours of media in that 7.5 hour period suggesting that kids are good multi-taskers.  This could be good or bad.  Our generation already has an ADD problem, this cannot be helping.  However, being able to analyze and handle a lot could be good for efficiency in the long run.

I do not have kids (and am arguably still one) so my analysis of this study may be flawed and naive, but I just don’t believe increased consumption of media is a bad thing.

  • Yes, we don’t want kids’ brains to rot, however, there are remarkably smart and positive media available, so I say, don’t think so little of your children.
  • Parents can also do their part in controlling what kind of media the kids see.
  • Media professionals (probably very pleased by this study) should do their part by putting out positive media for the kids.

What do you think?  Are kids (and adults) consuming too much media? What kinds of media are your kids consuming?

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