A recent national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 8- to 18-year-olds in the U.S. spend approximately 7 hours and 38 minutes a day surfing the Web, using Smartphones, watching TV, or using other electronic devices. That’s about a third of the day, or half the time we’re awake.
With so much time spent staring at a laptop or Smartphone screen, it’s hardly surprising that research has demonstrated possible negative effects, such as lower grades and a higher risk of depression and anxiety, in teens that spend almost all their waking lives (up to 16 hours a day in some cases) online, compared to those who consume less electronic device time. In addition, experts say that those who spend five hours a day on the computer or watching TV have a greater risk of becoming overweight.
What’s even more disturbing is that teens are now spending more time using media devices than they are sleeping. Another recent study shows that 69 percent of teens get less than seven hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep is responsible for ailments such as depression, headaches, and poor academic performance.
It’s true that America is veering into a digital age, and that technology is increasingly becoming a necessary part of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean that activities offline are not as important. You shouldn’t be spending more time in front of your computer or TV than in a day at school or sleeping. So instead of using up all your free time online, log off of Facebook and go out to exercise, read, or have a face-to-face conversation with friends. And go to bed early, for once! Your body and your brain will thank you for it.
Source: The New York Times
Photo via Elle.com
Last modified: January 26, 2010