The average tween or teen consumes nearly 11 hours of media a day, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, and scientists are raising concerns about how all that screen time is affecting young people.
That 11-hour average shows how multitasking has become routine for young people. For example, in the 2010 Kaiser study, one hour of watching videos while simultaneously texting would count as two hours of media consumption.
But even without factoring in multitasking, the screen-time numbers young people are racking up are astonishing. Surveys by market researcher Ipsos Mobility last fall show that on school days Canadian teens spend five hours a day just on their smartphones — texting, social networking, gaming, and watching videos.
Scientists worry it’s producing distracted kids who have a hard time focusing and thinking deeply or analytically.
Some educators and parents say anxiety is climbing in kids who spend so much time curating multiple online profiles, keeping up with hundreds of digital friends, and picking their way through the sometimes nasty world of social media and online bullying.
But experts say there are ways to counteract some of those effects, and ensure that kids have a healthier online life.