Study Shows Kids Tethered to Technology

Study: Kids ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven hours a day with gadgets.

ByABC News
January 20, 2010, 12:26 PM

Jan. 20, 2010— -- Researchers have seen the future ... and everyone is watching YouTube.

The average kid sponges in 2.5 hours of music each day, almost five hours of TV and movies, three hours of Internet and video games, and just 38 minutes of old-fashioned reading, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That adds up to 75 hours of media every week. And that doesn't even include the hour and a half spent text messaging each day, and the half hour kids talk on the cell phone.

In fact, the cell phone is one of the gadgets that makes this all possible for kids.

"You don't have to sit down in front of a TV anymore and watch television at the time a show is broadcast," said Vicky Rideout of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Kids can watch it on their laptop, in their bedroom. They can watch it on their cell phone on the bus to school."

But what about homework?

Kids at New York City's Taylor Day school said all the technology can be a distraction.

"Sometimes, if you're trying to study and you're on Facebook," one student said, "all of a sudden you don't have time to get work done."

It turns out members of the multitasking generation pays a price for their digital lives on their report cards. Among the heaviest media users, about half get C's or lower in school, while only a quarter of light users report bad grades.

Ten-year-old Katie Semac is holding off on getting a Facebook page.

"There's plenty of time for that down the road," she said.