Teens Spend More Hours Consuming Media Than Sleeping

­Young boy in bedroom using laptop and listening to MP3 player

A recent report on media use reveals that teens are now spending more hours consuming media than sleeping. The average American teenager is spending about nine hours a day on entertainment media alone.  The research shows that on average, kids are spending about 40% of this time on “passive consumption” compared with just 3% of their time on content creation.
Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends two hours or less of screen time per day for children.  So how do we encourage our children to put down the electronic devices and engage in other activities?  Here are our top suggestions:

Watch your own screen habits. Although your teen may not seem to pay attention to anything you do or say, you are still her most important role model. So you can’t tell her to cut back on TV time if you’re watching endless hours of TV, texting while you’re driving, or eating dinner with your Blackberry on the table.

Remind teens to limit screen usage. Banning electronics completely isn’t realistic these days, but it’s important to let your teen know you’re paying attention to how much time she’s on a screen.

Encourage activities that involve socializing. Look for activities and clubs that engage your teen socially, so he will get out and be with other people.

Create screen rules together. You’ll be more likely to get your teen’s buy-in if you come up with screen-time rules as a family.

Talk about it. Simply setting limits won’t go over well with older teens, who need to have rules that make sense to them.