How Much Time Do Kids Spend With Technology?

Twenty-first century children growing up in the United States spend an enormous amount of time with digital media. How much time do kids spend with technology? According a Kaiser Foundation study conducted in 2010, children between the ages of eight and 18 spend an average of 7 hours 38 minutes a day with digital media. When the use of more than one digital device at a time is taken into account, they spend more than 10-1/2 hours a day with digital technologies. Although these numbers are incredible, they should not be discounted. The Kaiser Foundation study examined more than a thousand families and had them keep extensive daily diaries to document the amount of time their children spent in front of screens and with other technology.


Television is the largest culprit, with kids watching an average of 4 hours  29 minutes a day. Music is the second leading technology, with an average of 2 hours 31 minutes a day. Kids spend about 1-1/2 hours a day using computers and 1 hour 13 minutes a  day playing video games.

The Kaiser Foundation study Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 4.46.58 PMcollected similar data in 1999 and 2004. In the 1999 study kids were found to have spent an average of 6 hours 19 minutes a day with digital media, which the 2010 study showed the amount of time to have increased to 7 hours 38 minutes a day. Kids between the ages of 11 and 14 spent the most time exposed to digital media, 11 hours 53 minutes a day. The youngest kids in this study, those between the ages of 8 and 10, spent an average of 7 hours 51 minutes a day using technology. Teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 had 11 hours 23 minutes of total media exposure a day.

This data is concerning for 21st Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 4.45.16 PMcentury children and may present additional concerns for children with ADHD and other learning and psychiatric issues.






Featured Image Credit: Games for Change


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In my work as a child psychologist, one of the things I see worrying parents the most is the “addictive” nature of social media and video game play. While I view most technology usage to be cognitively challenging and useful for kids, many parents worry about their kids only wanting to do things that involve a screen. And when it comes to kids with ADHD, Autism, and Learning Disabilities, stopping video game play can cause intense distress and arguments, to the point where many parents no longer want them to play games, no matter what the potential benefit may be.

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