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Study shows screen time for teens jumps to 7 hours per day

San Francisco nonprofit releases its 4-year report findings Tuesday

The report found that 53 percent of 11-year-olds in the study had their own smartphone. By the age of 12, the number jumped to 69 percent.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Teens are averaging over seven hours of screen time per day, a new study shows.

Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, released "The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tween and Teens" annual report Tuesday. The study polled more than 1,600 8- to 18-year-olds nationally, focusing on a range of topics related to the relationship teens, ages 13-18, and tweens, ages 8-12, have with all types of media and measured the findings over a four-year period from 2015 through 2019.

The growth in digital screen usage, smartphone ownership and the digital divide based on socioeconomic status were among the report's key findings.

"The 2019 census found that young people are spending significant time on screens every day, with 8- to 12-year-olds now on them for an average of about five hours a day, and teens clocking about 7 1/2 hours of screen time daily -- not including at school or for homework," wrote CEO and founder Jim Steyer.

The report also showed that twice as many of the respondents view online videos every day in 2019 than did in 2015, which was the No.1 media activity for all ages.

Additionally, the report found that 53 percent of 11-year-olds in the study had their own smartphone. By the age of 12, the number jumped to 69 percent.

Findings also revealed that socioeconomic status had in impact on screen time usage, with young people from families that made less than $35,000 per year consuming nearly three hours more of screen time per day than families that made more than $100,000 per year.

Laptop ownership among lower-income families has grown 11 percent in the last four years, while smartphone ownership has grown from 51 to 74 percent. While the digital gap appears to be closing, the report concludes it is far from being eliminated, citing a 21 percent gap between lower- and higher-income families when it comes to access to a home computer.

"We hope that as technology consumes more and more of young people's lives, the data we provide here will help to move industry, educators, policymakers, health providers, parents, and other researchers to action to ensure that this next generation can thrive within a rapidly moving digital world," Steyer wrote. "We simply do not yet know the full social, emotional, and cognitive impacts of our children being increasingly consumed by their devices."

Read the full report here