from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
Santa Fe – A recent study of 2,000 U.S. young people shows just what New Mexico parents are up against in the screen-saturated world of pre-teens and teenagers. New Mexico parents should be wary of too much "screen time."
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study of two-thousand youth eight to eighteen nationwide found they spend an average of over seven hours a day interacting with digital media. Mother, journalist and author of “Let the Baby Drive,” Lu Hanessian, says too much screen time makes it difficult for children to relate to their parents and other children, "I am actually quite concerned and disturbed by the amount of time that children today, teenagers, are spending on devices and computers. It actually concerns me not just for the kids, but for their future."
The study found that over two-thirds of children 11 to 14 own a cell phone and spend an average of an hour and a half of each day texting. Critics of the study's findings point out that electronic communication and computer skills are essential for future business success.
Hanessian says parents could see their children lose interest in school and not respond to discipline because of texting and Facebook updating. She adds that the attachment that grew between parent and infant can be strained by electronic device distractions, but that it’s never too late to re-establish those essential ties, "It’s really hard to set a limit with a child who's losing empathy. They don’t care! So, the question to me is, how do we reclaim that empathic state, that connection, the attachment?"
The study is Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds and may be retrieved from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation at http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf
Eric Mack reporting, email@example.com