Record Percentage of HS Kids Last Year Played on Computer 3+ Hrs Per School Day

July 30, 2012 - 5:07 PM

Darkness II

A scene from the video game Darkness II (AP Photo/2K Games)

(CNSNews.com) - A record 31.1 percent of American high school students in 2011 spent three hours or more on the average school day playing video or computer games or using a computer for something other than school work, says a recent report published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also, 32.4 percent of high school students watched three or more hours of television on the average school day.

In the last two years there has been a large increase in the former number. In 2009, according to the CDC report, only 24.9 percent of American high school students spent three hours or more per day playing video or computer games or using a computer for something that was not school work. By 2011, according to the CDC, that percentage had jumped to 31.1 percent.

A predecessor CDC survey in 2003, indicated that 22.1 percent of high school students spent three hours or more on the average school day playing video or computer games or using a computer for something other than school work; and in 2005, the CDC discovered that 21.1. percent did so.

The climb from 21.1 percent in 2005 to 31.1 percent last year represents an increase of 47.4 percent in the number of high school students who spend three or more hours per school day playing video or computer games or using a computer for something other than school work.

Meanwhile, what had been a long-term decline in television watching among high school students appears to have bottomed out.

From 1999 through 2009, according to the CDC, the percentage of high school students who watched three or more hours of television on the average school day declined from 42.8 percent to 32.8 percent. But between 2009 and 2011, the number stabilized, declining only from 32.8 percent to 32.4 percent.

The data comes from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and was published June 8 by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report published a breakout of the survey results for 41 states and 21 large urban school districts.

Among the states, Mississippi, with 42.9 percent, had the highest prevalence of high school students who watched television three or more hours on the average school day, while Utah, with 19.3 percent, had the lowest prevalence.

Utah also had the lowest percentage of students—18.7 percent—spending three or more hours on the average school day playing video or computer games or using a computer for something other than school work.

New Jersey, with 37.3 percent, had the highest prevalence.

Among the 21 large urban school districts included in the survey, Philadelphia had the highest prevalence of high school students—45.8 percent—who watched three or more hours of television on the average school day. Seattle, with 22.7 percent, had the lowest prevalence.

New York City had the highest percentage of students—43.9 percent—spending three or more hours on the average school day playing video or computer games or using a computer for something other than school work. Seattle, with 28.2 percent, had the lowest.

The survey report did not indicate how many of the 32.4 percent of high school students nationwide who watched television three or more hours on the average school day overlapped with the 31.1 percent who spend three or more hours on the average school day playing video or computer games or using a computer for something other than school work.