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World News and Trends: Media a full-time job for children

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Media a full-time job for children

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But how much time do children tune in to non-school-related electronic-media sources? According to a recent study, it's about 51/2 hours a day, totaling more than 38 hours a week.

"Watching TV, playing video games, listening to music and surfing the Internet have become a full-time job for the typical American child," concluded Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducted the national study of media habits of children ages 2 to 18. "This study really underscores the importance of paying attention to the messages and the information kids are getting from the media, both good and bad."

The amount of time spent using this type of media varied by age. Those in the 2-to-7 age-group averaged 31/2 hours daily, and the study found that a third of youngsters of this age have a TV in their bedrooms. For those over 8, media use averaged almost seven hours a day, and two thirds of this group had a TV in their bedroom.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that the bulk of children's daily media time—an average of 31/2 hours—was spent watching TV or videos. Listening to music on tapes, CDs or the radio occupied another hour and a half, and playing video games 20 minutes. In comparison, children spend an average of 44 minutes in recreational reading and 21 minutes using a computer for fun. About 60 percent of children said their parents had set no rules about TV viewing.

It's little wonder that families and societies suffer when children are so disconnected from their parents, when youngsters are fed a steady diet of mental junk food from the outside influences that so dominate their lives.

To better understand the principles that produce strong and stable families, be sure to request your free copy of our booklet Making Life Work. (Sources: Scripps Howard News Service, The Denver Post.)