Growing media consumption of teens

Guess what teens are doing right now? A new research shows that it is highly likely they are online or playing on some electornic toys. According to a recent Kaiser Foundation study, if your teenager is awake and isn’t in school, he or she is staring at a screen a smart-phone, a computer, or watching television. See the report in New York Times.

 The study found that preteens and teens spend an average of 7.5 hours on electronic devices daily, compared to 6 hours some five years ago. If you add the multitasking (talking on the phone and browsing Internet simultanesouly) it comes to 11 hours a day! They send and recieve hundreds of text messages everyday. Tweens (between ages 11 and 14) are the heaviest media users.

Very shocking indeed. Media consumption among teens have risen sharply in recent year. It has risen with more mobile and wireless gadgets like iPod, smartphones, Internet hotspots and utitlies like social networking. What I found very distrubing was that more than 7 in 10 youths have a TV in their bedroom, and about a third have a computer with Internet access in their bedroom. This is extremely dangerous. Without any adult supervision, kids are sure sure to get into trouble.

Parents are clueless about this growing trends and they do not what to do about it as well. When they were growing much of these were non-existent. It is hard for them to stay current on much of technology and are confused how to regulate technology or media use of their kids. We must communicate with the coming generations that life without electonics and Internet is possible and must be encouraged.

The boredom kids experience without these toys  is due to lack of imagination, requiring all kinds of stimuli to prevent them from losing interest in things, and even in life. The alternative to all this fiddling with cell phones is being alone with your own thoughts, which terrifies people used to the constant stimulation provided by our media-saturated culture.

Things are not going to get any easier in future. Parents must get into the game, not in becoming more adept at all those gadgets but talking with their kids about what they are doing. They must also explore potential dangers of some of the toy or utilities they use and set limits on media consumption. Every home must develop their household media policy, based on age of each children, media rules and sanctions when rules are broken. Parents must also model healthy media consumption and not allow unnecessary content to be dumped into our homes.

Lot more to do and know for the already exhausted, stressed out parents!

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