Kids use media for almost 8 hours a day — Now what?

Kids use media for almost 8 hours a day — Now what? 150 150 Mediatrics

Yesterday the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report detailing just how much media kids are using.  Dr. Michael Rich, The MediatricianSM, was interviewed on NBC Nightly News, and the Center on Media and Child Health sent out the following in email to parents today. 

What's going on?
A new 
confirms that media are a constant presence in kids' environments:

  • Kids spend more time using media than they spend in school: Kids use TV, music, computers, video games, movies, and print for a total of 7hours and 38 minutes a day.

  • Kids have media in their pockets and bedrooms:
    66% of kids own a cell phone, 76% own an MP3 player, 71% have a TV in their bedroom, 50% have a gaming system in their bedroom.
  • Kids are media multi-tasking: For more than 25% of the time kids spend using media, they are using two types of media at once (e.g. watching TV and chatting online)

Why should I care?

  • Kids learn from what they see and hear. All media are educational. Some teach accurate, healthful lessons, while others teach misleading and harmful lessons.
  • Kids need time for healthy activities. If media are constantly in use, kids may not have time for the activities that will keep them healthy: eating balanced meals with family, doing homework, being physically active, playing creatively, and, most importantly, sleeping.  

What can I do?

  • Create limits and rules around media. The Kaiser report found that kids whose parents had any kind of rules about media 
    used 1/3 less media than those whose homes had no rules at all.
  • Keep media in common areas. Keep dinner time TV-free, leave the computer in the family room, and if you don't have
    TV in your child's bedroom
    yet, keep it that way.
  • Teach active, critical media use. Engage kids in
    thinking about the media they use, rather than passively consuming it. These skills will stay with them, no matter how media change.

  • Ask questions. If you have questions about media and kids, or want to see what other parents are asking, log on to


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