Many teens spend 30 hours a week on 'screen time' during high school

Mar 12, 2008

While most teenagers (60 percent) spend on average 20 hours per week in front of television and computer screens, a third spend closer to 40 hours per week, and about 7 percent are exposed to more than 50 hours of ‘screen-time’ per week, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 48th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

Researchers looked at patterns of screen-time through high school, including total time viewing television, video, computer and the Internet. Then they examined the influence of neighborhood social factors on distinct patterns of screen-time.

“Boys and those whose parents had lower educational attainment were much more likely to be in the ‘high-screen time’ group,” said Tracie A. Barnett, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “Teens with high levels of screen time may be at increased risk of obesity.”

They analyzed 1,293 seventh grade students from 10 Montreal high schools. The students in the study had completed in-class questionnaires four times a year for five years, and reported their usual number of hours watching television or videos, and using the computer or surfing the Internet. The researchers defined neighborhoods by census district, looking at average education and income levels within districts.

Barnett and colleagues identified distinct levels of screen-time for each of television/video and computer/Internet use. Overall, their study showed that:

-- 52 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls reported average total screen-time levels above 42 hours per week;
-- 52 percent of boys and 39 percent of girls reported average levels of TV/video use above 23 hours per week;
-- 24 percent of boys and 7 percent of girls reported average levels of computer/Internet use of almost 30 hours per week.

“Most patterns were characterized by sustained levels throughout high school,” said Barnett, a researcher at Sainte-Justine Children’s

Hospital Research Center and assistant professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Montreal in Canada.

Approximately 73 percent of girls and 48 percent of boys were in the ‘low’ total screen-time group, corresponding nevertheless to between 18 and 22 hours of screen-time per week.

However, television still accounts for most of the screen-time, with 85 percent of adolescents reporting less than 10 hours per week of computer/Internet use.

For girls, living in neighborhoods ranked as the lowest third by socio-economic factors increased the likelihood of belonging to the high screen-time group up to five-fold compared to girls in the highest ranked socio-economic neighborhoods.

For boys, living in neighborhoods that had the lowest level of education increased the odds of being in the high screen-time group two- to three-fold, versus their counterparts where education levels were highest.

A more detailed analysis revealed that these associations were more pronounced for television/video watching and weaker for computer/Internet use.

“Researchers need to explore why adolescents’ (notably girls’) levels of especially television and video screen-time viewing through high school are higher if they live in neighborhoods that are socio-economically disadvantaged,” Barnett said. “In the meantime, we should make sure that teens living in these neighborhoods have access to safe and appealing active alternatives to sitting in front of screens.”

Source: American Heart Association

Explore further: 'Tis the season to overeat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ultrasounds dance the 'moonwalk' in new metamaterial

24 minutes ago

Metamaterials have extraordinary properties when it comes to diverting and controlling waves, especially sound and light: for instance, they can make an object invisible, or increase the resolving power of ...

13 primates die at South Texas research facility

41 minutes ago

A South Texas research facility where 13 primates died of hyperthermia in overheated rooms could face federal penalties, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said Monday.

Sony threatens Twitter with legal action over hack

51 minutes ago

Sony Pictures has threatened Twitter with legal action unless it removes confidential material stolen from the movie company's computers that someone has posted on the social networking site.

Continental works on infrared for car multi-touch

1 hour ago

Using infrared technology, gesture-control features might find their way into the "affordable" market segment. Automotive supplier Continental, with an eye on the future, is working on intelligent infrared ...

Recommended for you

'Tis the season to overeat

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Overeating is common during the holidays, but there are strategies that can help you eat in moderation, an expert says.

Don't let burns mar your holidays

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The risk of burns from fires and cooking accidents increases during the holidays, so you need to be extra cautious, an expert says.

Irish court mulls rights of dead woman vs. fetus

Dec 24, 2014

A lawyer representing a 17-week-old fetus living inside the clinically dead body of its mother told a Dublin court Wednesday that the unborn child's right to life trumps the woman's right to a dignified death.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.