Youth plugged in nearly most of the day: study

 @ibtimes
on January 20 2010 5:15 PM

The amount of time youngsters are spending on the web has ballooned to proportions that exceed the average adults full working week, according to a new study.

Young people now devote an average of seven hours and 38 minutes to daily media use, or about 53 hours a week according to Kaiser Family Foundation findings released today.

The media use -- including watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet -- is increasing as more gadgets emerge to keep kids more connected than ever.

A few years ago, the same researchers thought that teens and tweens were consuming about as much media as possible in the hours available. But now they've have found a way to pack in even more.

America's 8- to 18-year-olds increased their consumption of digital media over the past 5 years by one hour, 17 minutes a day, the study found.

When children are spending this much time doing anything, we need to understand how it's affecting them -- for good and bad,  Drew Altman, president and chief executive of the foundation, said in a statement.

The report, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-year-olds, is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students nationwide.

It is the third wave of the nonprofit's ongoing look at children's media use, providing a glimpse at current viewing and listening patterns while also documenting changes from five and 10 years ago.

Higher media consumption is the direct result of ready access to mobile devices.

Ownership of such gadgets has increased since 2004 from 39 percent to 66 percent for mobile phones and from 18 percent to 76 percent for MP3 players. As a result, young people now spend more time listening to tunes, playing games, and watching TV on their mobile phones than they spend talking on them.

Black and Hispanic children, who as a group perform poorer in school than whites, spend far more time with media than white kids, consuming an additional 4.5 hours a day on average, for a total of about 13 hours of media exposure.

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