Sabrina and her brother Ruben are fighting over the family computer. At the same time, their younger brother Daniel is playing videogames with a friend.
“It’s just fun killing other people and stealing their stuff,” says Daniel, age 8.
And sister Alinna waits to watch her favorite program on the big TV.
“I dream about watching TV, and I watch Sponge Bob in my head,” says Alinna.
Four kids in one family who love anything with a screen.
“It’s just nowadays it seemed like they’re a lot lazier, and just want to sit on the tube and on the phone all the time,” says their father, Harry.
A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids spend up to seven-and-a-half hours a day with electronic media. For all those hours spent online or watching TV, what are they not doing? Experts say they’re not reading, studying, exercising or even just talking with other people.
“Instead of using that time to become an adult, by learning how to talk adults, learning how to talk to women, learning how to talk to men, learning how to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Those are hours that are lost, that can never really be regained,” says Timothy Fong, M.D., addiction psychiatrist.
What Do You Think?
- How do you define addiction? Do you think it is possible to be addicted to your cell phone, your email or your computer?
- If you could not go online, turn on electronics or watch anything with a screen for an entire day, what would you do with your time?