The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
As someone who has three electronic devices within grabbing range right now I have to yield to the adolescent playing air drums, “You, all right. I learned it by watching you!” Let’s face it: Parents who use PDAs have children who use PDAs.
My baby has been trying to snatch my Blackberry for months now and if that’s not in his reach, he goes for the remote. Of course he could just be trying to figure out what is so important that mom is often holding it while holding him. I’m definitely guilty of being too attached to my media; but this 14-year-old has some things to teach even the most tech-savvy adults –
“I use it as my alarm clock, because it has an annoying ringtone that doesn’t stop until you turn it off,” Francisco Sepulveda said of his phone. “At night, I can text or watch something on YouTube until I fall asleep. It lets me talk on the phone and watch a video at the same time, or listen to music while I send text messages.”
I was trying to sort out why this article isn’t getting under my skin too much even as the study pointed out that the heaviest media users received average grades and reported being “bored” and “sad.” In addition to my own love for connectedness, the lead author of the study reinforced the idea that parenting still does have an effect on the amount of media consumed by the kids. No-tech-Sundays or something as simple as not allowing TV during dinner can significantly curb kid’s usage. Instead of panicking over this new study, it feels like something I can understand and will be able to have a non-fear based discussion when the kids are trying to text using their robo-clothes (that’s coming, right?).
However, my sense of being on top of this issue may last only as long as it takes to build the newest social network site that parents have not claimed as their own. As the researchers themselves point out –
Even during the survey, media use was changing.
“One of the hot topics today is Twitter, but when we first went into the field and began interviewing, Twitter didn’t exist,” Ms. Rideout said.