In this day and age it seems that media consumption is unavoidable. Babies to baby boomers are avid consumers and between the TV, computer, Internet, gaming system and cell phone, there are so many avenues for being plugged in. Kids in particular are increasing their screen time, game time and Internet time and are growing up in an age where constant media access is expected – and desired.
According to a recent report, Always Connected, compiled by the Sesame Workshop and The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, children ages 8-10 spend about five and a half hours each day using media, but are actually exposed to an alarming eight hours a day because they’re media multitasking, like watching cartoons while using a portable gaming system.
It’s not just older kids either. Babies have jumped on the technology bandwagon and of the 25 percent of children under five who use the Internet, 80 percent do so at least once a week. By age three, a quarter of those children go online daily. As kids get older, their Internet time increases as well with children ages 5-9 averaging 28 minutes of daily usage and those ages 8-10 hovering about 45 minutes a day.
While computer adoption is growing in popularity, TV still reigns supreme. The study found that kids of all ages watch approximately three hours of TV each day during the week and four hours on the weekends. While older kids add more screen time on top of that with multimedia, gaming and Internet usage, kids ages 2-5 spend most of their time watching TV, averaging three and a half hours a day, which is also the highest that number has been in the past eight years. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit TV time to one to two hours per day for kids over the age of 2, and no TV should be allowed for kids younger than 2.)
When it comes to children’s technology usage, moderation and parental supervision is key. “My mother used to say that too much of anything isn’t good for you, whether it be eating only protein, shooting hoops all day or “always being connected” to the digital world. There is no escaping the fact that parents need to moderate children’s media use and the content they choose,” said Dr. Lewis Bernstein, Executive Vice President of Sesame Workshop, in a press release.
One reassuring statistic from the report is that approximately 90 percent of kids ages 5-9 read books most days of the week, spending an hour each time reading by themselves or with an adult.
Does your child fall into these TV-watching and Internet usage categories? If so, how do you set limits on media consumption? We’d love to hear your comments below!