Featured Programs & Activities
Addressing Screen Time in After School and Summer Programs

According to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, each day, U.S. youth currently spend about:

  • 4.5 hours watching TV
  • 1.5 hours on the computer outside of school work
  • 1 hour and 10 minutes playing video games
  • an average of 25 minutes watching movies at a theater.

These numbers add up to a total of 7 hours and 36 minutes of screen use per day.

Go to the full report: "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds"

School age youth are spending about 53 hours per week outside of school using television, the internet, and other forms of media according to a report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this year. Surveys gathered in 1999, 2005 and 2009 show that screen usage continues to inflate. Recent increases can be attributed to the array of TV content now available from television broadcasts, pre-recorded programs on DVRs and the internet, the increase in ownership of mobile media devices including laptops, iPods, cell phones and portable gaming devices, and the phenomenon of media multi-tasking.

The large amount of time youth spend with screens is a growing health concern. Studies have shown screen time to be associated with childhood obesity, attention and behavior problems, and poor school performance.

To help combat the upward trends in screen use among youth, the UW Center for Public Health Nutrition (CPHN) developed resources for educators, parents and youth to reduce screen time and heighten media awareness. This spring, CPHN partnered with School’s Out Washington and the Skagit Healthy Communities project to train summer and after school care providers about the effects of screen time and how to promote healthy screen behaviors in youth. Materials for delivering four lessons on reducing screen time and becoming “Media Savvy” were provided to participants. The lessons and activities were adapted from the Powerful Choices curriculum developed for the Center's Unplugged and Media Savvy project in elementary schools. The lessons have also been pilot tested with 3rd through 6th graders in summer program settings.

The lesson plans and additional resources for out of school care providers and parents, including newsletters and tips to reduce screen time are available here.

Partners

UW Center for Public Health Nutrition, Schools Out Washington, Skagit Healthy Communities. This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number U58/5U58DP001491-02 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC or DOH.

Evaluation

The lesson plans and materials were pilot tested with 3rd - 6th graders in summer program settings. Summer and afterschool care professionals also provided feedback during the trainings to help inform the revision of the materials.