Kill Your TV, and iPod, and Computer, and Cell Phone?

My cyber friend Alexandra Grabbe, who has a wonderful, environmentally conscious, and superbly written blog about being an innkeeper in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, sent me the link to this New York Times article about the epidemic of childhood obesity and how America’s overweight children cost the whole country money.

You have to read to almost the end of the article to get to the really surprising and perhaps the most upsetting part of the article. According to a study by the Kaiser Foundation released on January 20, 2010, children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 7 hours 38 minutes A DAY using media. But that number is actually an underestimate. Here’s what the Kaiser Foundation says:

And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

Oh. My. Expletive Deleted (the good Web editors at Mothering.com would rather we did not swear). God.

What. The. Expletive Deleted?!

How many hours are there in a day that an 8-year-old child could spend more than seven of them watching TV, playing video games, using the computer, listening to an iPod, and talking on the cell phone?

We don’t have a TV.

My kids do not have computers.

There are no video games at our house.

And though 10-year-old Hesperus has been begging for an iPod (”ALL my friends have them, Mommy! I want one!”), we A) don’t have enough money to buy her one right now and B) wouldn’t buy her one even if we did.

“How do you spell, ‘Poor deprived child, Mommy?’” 6-year-old Etani wanted to know the other day. This was in reference to not being allowed to eat candy at that exact second of the day.

The kids haven’t caught on yet that they are deprived for so many other multi-media reasons.

Here’s what I’d like to know: Do your kids spend THAT much time in front of electronic devices? Does the results of this study seem plausible? Have you decided to kill your TV and more or do you think all this media exposure is good for children? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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