Report says kids are couch potatoes

Mark and Jo Rogers with their children Sami, 11 and Ben, 9.
Mark and Jo Rogers with their children Sami, 11 and Ben, 9. John McCutcheon

SOAKING up the sun at Kings Beach yesterday was just what the doctor ordered for the Rogers family.

Having been cooped up inside their Stanthorpe home during the chilly winter months, mum Jo admitted it was great for Ben, 9, and Sami, 11, to put down the Nintendo DS and the Wii controllers and get outside while holidaying on the Coast.

Mrs Rogers wasn't surprised to hear the latest annual New Generations Poll conducted by the Cartoon Network discovered Aussie kids aged from four to 14 were spending almost half of their spare time watching TV, on the internet or playing video games.

"I'm conscious of the amount of time they spend on electronics.

"In the winter they tend to play more games than in the summer because its so cold.

"With both of us working sometimes they play more than we like because we are busy cooking dinner and getting things done," she said.

The survey of 1600 children and 1600 parents found children spend about 2.4 hours glued to the TV while the time they spend playing sport and on outdoor activities had dropped by 15% since last year.

Instead they are spending more time indoors reading books and doing homework (up 16%) or playing with toys (up 27%).

But Mrs Rogers said her kids were pretty active when it came to sports.

While boasting he had spent a total of 59 hours playing his latest DS game, Ben plays rugby league and has just signed up for the cricket season and Sami enjoyed netball and softball.

Mrs Rogers said the key to getting outside was to use it as quality family time.

"We have a boat at home and often go out waterskiing, when it's warmer of course," she said.

"We play with them rather than sitting in the sand and watching." Cartoon Network researcher Peter Hammer said the figures reflected the changing nature of households as newer technologies infiltrated the average home.

"Aussie kids are tech savvy and show strong media awareness," he said.

"In 2011, it is all about 'screen time' ... tablet ownership has shot up 181% in one year and mobile use, whether owned or borrowed, is up 77%.

"And in technological tradition, TV remains the ultimate king of the screen."



  • 38% of their internet time is playing online games
  • Social networking accounted for 14% of internet usage, down 7%
  • One in five children claim to have more than 200 Facebook friends
  • 42% own their own mobile phone
  • 46% of screen time is watching TV

Source: New Generations 2011: The Changing World of Kids (Cartoon Network)

Topics:  parenting

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