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Does Screen Time Make Teens Pull Away?

According to a story on CNET, one study says, yes, teens with more TV and computer time become more detached from their parents:

The researchers, who examined a 2004 study of more 3,000 youths aged 14 and 15, found that those who spent more time in front of television or computer screens also had more difficulty engaging in a rewarding relationship with parents. In fact, the possibility of low attachment between the teens and their parents increased by 4 percent for every hour of TV screen time, which could include gaming. That figure jumped to 5 percent for every hour spent on a computer.

Meanwhile, the author points out that a more recent study of adults suggests that Web users tend to be more socially engaged (though no mention is made of their parents):

Web users are “45 percent more likely to visit a cafe, 52 percent more likely to visit a library, 34 percent more likely to visit a fast-food restaurant, 69 percent more likely to visit other restaurants, and 42 percent more likely to visit a public park.”

In the end, as always, the stats are less important than what’s going on with the heart and mind of your own child. Instead of wallowing in anxiety and fear about the impact of hours in front of the TV and Internet, hopefully we’re noticing our kids’ level of engagement with us and the world around them and stepping in to intervene if needed.

And hopefully we’re continuing to ask God for wisdom for us and them about where the reasonable boundaries are for the new normal of 24/7 connection to the data stream.

(article via Mark Matlock’s always engaging and distracting Twitter stream)

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