Wired Teens Hooked on Electronics

When 13-year-old Monica Bi gets together with friends, they can't wait to share the latest toy. It's no secret that kids today have plenty of distractions.

Eight to 18-year-olds now spend as much time listening to music, watching TV and being entertained on line, says a new study as most adults spend at work.

"Kids are spending an average of more than seven and a half hours a day - seven days a week - using media," said Vicky Rideout of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "That's more than 53 hours a week. That's a full-time job."

Read the Full Study

But it's not the full story. For almost three hours a day, kids are multi-tasking - like listening to music while using the Internet.

It all adds up to more than an hour a day playing video games, almost an hour and a half on a computer, more than 2 and a half hours listening to music, and nearly four and a half hours watching TV.

Youths Spend 7+ Hours a Day Consuming Media

"The reason why I have glasses is probably because I use computers a lot," Monica said. "and TV, and it's getting worse."

According to the study, teens now spend one hour, 17 minutes more using media than they did five years ago.

There's a link between media use and poor grades. Almost half - 47 percent -of heavy users, those using more than 16 hours a day - reported getting C's or lower. Just 23 percent of light users, those under 3 hours a day, got low grades. Homework and media don't mix well.

The researchers found that kids do cut back when parents make the rules: like no TV during dinner and no TV in a child's bedroom.

"It really has an impact," Rideout said. "Parents may realize that they have more influence than perhaps they thought."

Read the Nielsen Study

There is another parental influence to consider - their example. A separate study by the Nielsen Companyfound that adults aged 25 to 44 spend even more time watching online video than teens do.