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New studies on kids and how they use technology emerge all the time, but this latest one from Common Sense Media, an organization dedicated to helping children thrive in this new media world of ours, is probably one of the most graphic — and eye-opening — yet.

As director of research Michael Robb writes in this blog post, the study isn’t meant to demonize technology, but help parents better understand how their kids are using it — and what they can do about potentially worrisome behavior.

In the new report, Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Tweens, the org found that teens (ages 13-18) use an average of nine hours of “entertainment media” every day, with tweens (ages 8-12) clocking in at six hours. This does not include media used at school or for homework.

Of that media consumption, teens use more than 6.5 hours of screen media time; tweens use more than 4.5 hours.

What are they doing? Consuming.

And much of time, they’re doing it when they’re also doing other things — like homework.

Photo via YouTube/Common Sense Media
Photo via YouTube/Common Sense Media

They found that among teens, music is the top use, 66 percent listening to music every day; 58 percent watching TV; 45 percent on social; 34 percent watching videos; and 27 percent on mobile games. See chart to the right.

Surprisingly, they found that social media isn’t as fun for kids as adults might think.

“Social media is an integral part of most teens’ lives (45 percent use it “every day”), but only 36 percent say they enjoy using social media ‘a lot,’ compared with 73 percent who enjoy listening to music and 45 percent who enjoy watching TV ‘a lot,’ ” states the blog post.

Boys tend to game much more than girls, with teen boys playing 56 minutes per day, compared to girls’ seven minutes. But girls are on social much more — over an hour and a half per day — vs. boys at 52 minutes.

Perhaps the most disturbing finding?

“Everyone can be a maker, but not many are. The vast majority of kids’ engagement with media consists of consuming media, with only a small portion devoted to creating content,” the study found.

Only 3 percent of both tweens and teens use all these wonderful new technological tools to actually create something.

Check out more stats from the study in the infographic below and be sure to watch the following video on teens talking about their everyday media use:


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