Australian teens spend a significant amount of time on electronic devices and screen time is something many parents raise as a concern. Because of the increasingly ubiquitous nature of technology, more and more activities are being carried out on devices and when teenages are online, it is possible that they are watching TV, videos or Youtube, reading, listening to music, gaming, using social media, talking to friends via messaging or video chat or doing school work and homework. A large scale study by Common Sense Media, a US-based organisation dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology revealed that “on any given day, American teenagers (13- to 18-year-olds) average about nine hours (8:56) of entertainment media use, excluding time spent at school or for homework. [American] tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) use an average of about six hours’ (5:55) worth of entertainment media daily” (2015, p.15).
While no such study has yet been undertaken in Australia, the Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2015, conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS), included a number of questions for teenagers about their social media experiences. The findings from these questions (summarised in the infographic below) are of interest to those of us concerned about issues of digital health and wellness. As outlined by Ribble, this is one element of digital citizenship that needs to be taught to young people so that they can protect their physical and psychological well-being in a digital world (2011, para.8).
Australian Psychological Society. (2015, November 8). The nation’s distressed turning to risky behaviours for stress management [Press release]. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from http://www.psychology.org.au/news/media_releases/8Nov2015-stress/
Common Sense. (2015). The Common Sense census: Media use by teens and tweens (Rep.). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from Common Sense Media Organisation website: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/census_executivesummary.pdf
Ribble, M. (2011). Digital Citizenship in Schools : Nine Elements All Students Should Know (2nd Edition). Eugene, OR, USA: ISTE. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com