(NBC News) Like many kids his age, 14-year-old Ben Hinkle is rarely far from his phone.
“It’s so natural to me, like, if it’s not in my pocket, something doesn’t feel right,” he says.
He’s not alone.
A new report finds the average American teenager spends nine hours a day watching TV, playing video games, surfing the web, listening to music or texting using some kind of electronic device.
For kids between the ages of 8 and 12, it’s six hours a day.
The non-profit Common Sense Media surveyed more than 2,500 teens and tweens across the nation for the new study.
More than half multi-task, watching TV, texting or using social media while doing homework.
Experts say parents can help manage their kids’ technology use by looking at their own.
“If you’re constantly glued to your cell phone or your computer, then you’re not setting a very good example for your kid,” warns Common Sense Media’s James Steyer.
The trick is to help kids learn how to manage media without losing the ability to connect face-to-face with others.
Kids like Ben prove it can be done.
“They seem to think that it takes away from having social skills, and I don’t think that’s the case at all,” he says. “I can write a complete sentence. I can carry on a conversation just like anybody else can.”
In the study classic teenage entertainment like watching TV and listening to music ranked highest among teens. They tended to view social media as more of a chore.
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