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Tweens, Teens, & Media Use

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

There’s plenty of talk about when screen time should start for younger children, but the kids that have the most screen-centric lives are definitely older ones. A new study by Common Sense Media found that American teens (age 13 to 18) use an average of 9 hours of media daily and tweens (age 8 to 12) average 6 hours a day—keep in mind this is not including for school or homework purposes.

The study defines “screen media” as TV, movies, the internet, online videos, online and mobile games, using social media, reading on the computer, tablets, or phones, and listening to music online. The study found that the wide majority of teens multi-task using media while also doing their homework (50% use social media, 51% watch TV, 60% text, and 76% listen to music while studying).

There’s a handy infographic here, which crunches a lot of the stats found in the wider report. Some of the most interesting findings include the fact that TV and music still dominate daily media habits of both tweens and teens, that passive consumption (listening to music, watching videos/TV, and reading) trumps interactive consumption, communicating online, and media for artistic purposes, and that girls are much more likely to engage in social media (and boys in video games).

In the video above, two teens talk about their personal media-driven lives at home. If you have a tween or teen of your own, do the stats (which, mind you, are averages) sound accurate? Feel free to weigh in in the comments below.

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