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Kids Overdosing on Media?

From the OMG files: A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that 8- to 18-year-olds devour an average of almost 8 hours of media every day. And since many of these pint-size multitaskers, say, text while watching TV, the actual number of total hours of media consumption is a staggering 11 hours. This marks a 20% increase from five years ago. Experts blame the constant access that mobile devices like cell phone and iPods provide. Of course, not all media consumption is created equal. Listening to tunes on an iPod is not the same as playing video games (and really, didn’t you used to spend hours listening to records?). But even so, with all that time in front of a screen, how are kids finding time for homework, outside play and just old-fashioned face-to-face conversation?

I’m absolutely guilty of using the TV as a babysitter. My own 4-year-old usually watches an hour of TV each morning while my husband and I get ready for work (no idea how else we’d shower in peace) and then maybe 30 minutes more at night while I cook dinner and get the baby down to bed. I don’t feel great about it, but not sure how we’d get by without it.

‘Fess up: how many hours do your kids spend consuming media each day?

PS. If you’re looking to wean your kids off TV, video games, cell phones, etc, we have some tips for you:

How to set realistic limits: No one’s telling you to shut the boob tube off permanently, but here are some doable guidelines to setting up some rules

Tips for toddlers: A guide for the Sesame Street set

Age-by-age guide: Appropriate TV/computer/video game guidelines for all ages