Parents often underestimate two things about children’s media use: a) how much time kids spend on screens and b) the impact of the content of screens on children. So we put together a free Infographic called the Repercussions of Growing Up on Screens.
Instead of playing hopscotch on sidewalks, riding their bikes through the neighborhood, exploring creeks and finding little critters, most kids these days stay indoors, glued to their screens.
- According to the Kaiser Family Foundation research report Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, total screen exposure for 8-18 year olds has risen over the past two decades to an average of more than 7 hours per day.
- Most at risk of excessive screen time are middle schoolers, boys, and Latino and African Americans. Middle schoolers average nearly 9 hours per day, which is 15% more than high schoolers. Boys average 8.5 hours; 28% more than girls. Latino and African Americans average over 9 hours of screen exposure a day; a whopping 50% more than whites.
- Over the past five years, laptop, cell phone, and iPod ownership has exploded. The proportion of 8- to 18-year-olds owning a laptop has climbed from 12% to 29%; cell phone ownership has jumped from 39% to 66%, and those with an iPod or other MP3 player has gone from 18% to 76%.
- In the last five years, home Internet access has expanded from 74% to 84% among young people; the proportion with a laptop has grown from 12% to 29%; and Internet access in the bedroom has jumped from 20% to 33%. The quality of Internet access has improved as well, with high-speed access increasing from 31% to 59%.
- Children who are heavy media users are more likely to report getting fair or poor grades (mostly C’s or lower) than other children. Indeed, nearly half (47%) of all heavy media users say they usually get fair or poor grades, compared to 23% of light media users.
- While the vast majority of young people tend to score quite high on the contentedness index,* those who are less content spend more time with media (13:06) than those who are at the top of the contentedness index (8:44). And, looked at from the other perspective, those who spend more time with media report being less content.
- The U.S. Congressional Public Health Summit in 2000 found that violence-heavy media induces children to be more prone to view violence as an effective and acceptable way of settling conflicts, become more emotionally desensitized to violence in real life, and view the world as a violent and mean place.
- Compared with adolescents who had less exposure to rap music videos, adolescents who had greater exposure to rap music videos were 3 times more likely to have hit a teacher; more than 2.5 times as likely to have been arrested; 2 times as likely to have had multiple sexual partners; and more than 1.5 times as likely to have acquired a new sexually transmitted disease, used drugs, and used alcohol over the 12-month follow-up period. A Prospective Study of Exposure to Rap Music Videos and African American Female Adolescents’ Health
- Each increase of 1 hour per day of music video viewing was associated with a 31% average increased risk of starting to drink alcohol during the next 18 months. Television and Music Video Exposure and Risk of Adolescent Alcohol Use
Through the Heal Our World <–> Heal Ourselves campaign dozens of organizations and celebrities are calling upon the purveyors of children’s entertainment to produce more uplifting children’s entertainment. We believe it is possible to create pop culture that illuminates the good happening in the world and models healthy, balanced relationships with the planet and with one other.
Parents can also reduce their children’s exposure by creating a tv environment and rules that encourage their children to separate from the screens sooner than later. Children that have televisions in their bedroom spend 50% greater time on screens than those who do not. Kids without media rules in their household, on average, spend four more hours on screens than those with rules.
The infographic also shows the impact of extreme media exposure on grades, personal contentment and behavior. Does viewing violence lead to violent behavior? See for yourself and a lot more on the Repercussions of Growing Up on Screens infographic.
A huge thank you to the Kaiser Family Foundation for their Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds report that inspired the infographic. Special shout-outs to other people and organizations researching the impact of media on kids today!