Paying Attention

Brad M. Griffin | Jul 12, 2010

A recent study is calling attention to the trouble kids have with paying attention.

This Futurity article summarizes research at Iowa State on both elementary and college-age students. The gist of their findings: More than 2 hours per day of screen time (defined as television and video games) for either group was connected with higher attention problems. In fact, those watching for over 2 hours per day were twice as likely to be above average in attention problems a year later.

Its astounding to me that they didnt include computer screen time (or phone screen time) in this study, but apparently this is the first longitudinal study attempting to explore video gaming and later attention problems. In other words, we still know very, very little about the long-term effects of extended play (in this or other areas). According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study earlier this year, average combined media use for kids is over 7.5 hours/day (way, way more than 2 hours!), and only 30% of kids say parents set rules for their media use.

A longer article from the research team was published in the July edition of the professional journal Pediatrics. Its available online here.

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California.


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