So your youngster sits in the basement playing video games and eating Cheetos all day on the weekends, and you want to know if this is normal. Or perhaps you’re merely curious to know about what teens do when they’re out with their friends. This section contains information and statistics on how teens spend their time.

Teens & screen time

  • Fifteen years ago, the average American youngster spent 28 hours each week in front of a screen. (Roberts, Foehr & Rideout, 2005) It’s since risen quite a bit. A report commissioned by commonsense media revealed the average child spends nearly 45 hours a week immersed in some form of media …3 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF TIME they spend with their parents, and more than the 30 hours a week they spend in school. (Szabo, 12-2-08)

Fact: All of this media exposure, which amounts to around 8 1/2 hours of digital media each day, is quite literally changing the brain structure of today’s youth. (Small & Vorgan, 2008)

Fact: If teens spent just two of their nearly 4 hours of daily TV time studying instead, it would be like adding 100 days to the school year.

  • Video gaming isn’t just a guy thing. According to a recent survey, teenage girls ages13 to 17 spend an average of 14 hours every week playing video games. (Nielson Report, 2009)
  1. Community resources teens say they have used at least once in the past 3 months:
  2. Parks: 65%
  3. Libraries: 62%
  4. Religious organizations: 51%
  5. Sports teams or lessons: 50%
  6. Learning opportunities outside of school: 50%
  7. Music, art, writing, or dance groups: 42%
  8. Volunteer, philanthropy, or political groups: 36%
  9. Museums: 24%
  10. Youth programs; such as YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, or Scouts: 23%

(Source: Benson etal., 2009)

How many teens work summer jobs?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show that in June through August of 2008, 32.7% of teens worked, down from 45% for the same period in 2000. (Petrecca, 5-6-09)