Overstimulated on Snack Foods and Screen Time

Posted by Amanda M. Fairbanks

When American kids aren't gorging themselves on snack foods, they're overstimulated-spending nearly every waking minute in front of an electronic device, be it a cell phone, computer, or television.A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation looks at the changing landscape of how media functions in the lives of 8- to 18-year-olds. And the results are startling.Five years ago, when the study was last conducted, kids spent less than 6.5 hours in front of such devices. Now, the figure is up to nearly eight hours a day, which doesn't include the average of 90 minutes a day spent texting or 30 minutes of talking on the phone. Combine that with multitasking-texting while listening to music, for instance-and the figure rises even more, packing 11 hours into a 7.5 hour window.The New York Times featured Francisco Sepulveda, a 14-year-old Bronx eighth grader, who sends or receives up to 500 texts a day:  "I feel like my days would be boring without it."The study found that when parents impose limits, exposure is lessened by up to three hours a day. But if we ask kids to detune, what takes its place?Be honest. How many hours of screen-time are you clocking in each day?