According to a new report done by the nonprofit group Common Sense, teens and tweens are spending a lot of time using screens—most of it passively consuming media. In other words, tweens and teens are mostly using their computers and smartphones to watch TV and music videos.
The survey, which took place from February 6 to March 9 of this year, asked more than 2,600 tweens (ages 8-12) and teens (ages 13-18) to detail their media habits. According to Common Sense:
The purpose of this study is to offer a comprehensive picture of the use of media by young people in the U.S., including the level of enjoyment, frequency of use, and amount of time devoted to a wide array of media activities and devices. As far as we know, this is the only large-scale… survey to explore young people's use of the full range of media.
The group found that young people are spending a lot of time looking at (mostly mobile) screens. 11% of the tweens polled said they spend more than 8 hours each day with screen media—only 6% said they don't spend any time with screen media each day. Most respondents said they consume screen media for 2-4 hours a day (27%) or 4-8 hours a day (also 27%). The number of engaged hours jumped for teens—26% estimated they spend more than 8 hours each day with screen media. Among teens polled, 31% said that figure was closer to 4-8 hours per day, and 20% said 2-4 hours was their average. Again, only 6% of teens said they don't spend any time with screen media each day.
And, per the study, most teen and tween users are spending that time watching television or listening to music.
A closer break-down of how tweens and teens spend time online shows that the bulk of their non-TV or -music time is spent playing games or using social media.
Very little of that time is devoted to content creation—just 3% among both age groups. Bummer.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.