Teens Spend More Time Doing This Rather Than Sleeping


My son plays video games with friends around the country while skipping with other friends.  My youngest son plays an online game, Terraria, while listening to streaming music. It is no surprise to me that teens and tweens are spending more time on social media and electronic devices than ever before.




What did surprise me was the number of hours the spend every day on their devices.  According to a study by Common Sense Media, teens spend about 9 hours a day on some type of media. Tweens, children 8-12, spend about six hours. Common Sense Media claims this is the first large-scale study to explore tweens and teens’ use of the full range of media.  The study followed about 2,600 kids between the ages of 8 and 18.CSM did not include time students used media for their homework.

Here are some key findings that may surprise you:

  • Social Networkers and Gamers/Computer Users both spend about seven hours a day with screen media
  • Social Networkers spend more than three hours a day using social media and only 44 minutes playing games,
  • Gamers/Computer Users average two and a half hours playing games and 53 minutes on social media.
  • Teens considered “Light users” averaged about 3 and a half hours of media time on a daily basis, Tweens in this category averaged about 2 and half hours.
  • Teen boys spend more time on games, while teen girls spend more time on social media
  • Watching TV and listening to music are the top choices for teens and tweens to spend their time.
  • 53 percent of tweens — kids 8 to 12 — have their own tablet and 67 percent of teens have their own smartphones. Mobile devices account for 41 percent of all screen time for tweens and 46 percent for teens.

Parents say they are more concerned with what the teens and tweens are doing on their devices, more than how much time they spend on their devices.  As a mom to two tweens, I agree with that statement. If they are having fun, interacting with friends, and not watching or playing bad games or TV, I have no problem with them spending 3 or 4 hours on various devices.

Surprisingly, there was a difference in time spent on media compared with the income and education of parents.  Teens in lower income households and households where parents had less education spent more time, about an hour and a half to two hours more, consuming various types of media.

The five takeaways from the study are:

  • The vast diversity of ways young people interact with media—the remarkable variety in their preferences and patterns of use.
  • Underneath all this diversity, tweens and teens today place an enduring value on two media activities in particular: watching TV and listening to music.
  • Young people’s en- gagement with media still consists primarily of consumption rather than creation.
  • The socioeconomic and racial/ethnic differences in children’s media use patterns are inescapable and concerning.
  • Although it almost goes without saying, we are struck anew by the ubiquity of entertainment media in young people’s lives

Kids say that social media connects them. They know what is going on in the world as a whole and their world.  These findings are not necessarily bad things. These kids are digital natives and what they do is considered completely normal for 21st century kids.  For parents, this just means we need to be aware of what our kids are watching, listening to, playing on their game consoles.  



Teens, Tweens, & Social Media


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