A massive study of 2,600 kids ages 8 to 18 found that
the average teen takes in 6.5 hours of screen time per day.
And that’s not even all the media they’re taking in all day. The average teen spends two more hours either reading or listening to music.
Meanwhile, tweens ages 8 to 12 use 6 hours a day for entertainment media, 4.5 hours of which are dedicated to screen-only activities.
None of this includes time spent using media for school or homework, so the numbers are likely even higher.
If the average teen is attending school from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and sleeping for eight hours a night, that means only an hour and a half of his or her day is spent doing something other than attending school or consuming media.
“The sheer volume of media and technology that kids are exposed to makes it clear that kids spend far more time with media and technology than they do with anything else in their life,” Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, the group that conducted the study, told Tech Insider.
That’s “including parents, teachers, friends — everything,” he said. “This is the number-one activity in the lives of America’s kids.”
Common Sense Media is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that conducts a study of this scale every five years. The report examines the media usage of teens and tweens day by day. The study’s respondents recorded the time they spent on various activities, and also reported how many text messages they sent per day to estimate how much time was spent texting. Common Sense Media shared some of the key findings with TI.
Other studies have shown that excessive screen time can “impair brain structure and function” for teens as they develop, according to Psychology Today. Staring at a screen all day can alter the function of the parts of the brain that control emotional processing, decision making, and behaving in a socially acceptable way.
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