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The FBI’s Peter Strzok spends 10 hours in open testimony in Congress. Also on the Friday rundown: Granite Staters protest AG Sessions' approach to fighting opioid abuse, and Latino Conservation Week starts on Saturday.

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MA Parents Compete for Attention of Screen-Saturated Teens

March 7, 2011

BOSTON - Massachusetts parents should be wary of too much "screen time." A recent Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation nationwide study of 2,000 youth ages 8 to 18 found they spend an average of more than seven hours a day interacting with digital media.

Mother, journalist and author of "Let the Baby Drive," Lu Hanessian, says too much screen time makes it difficult for children to relate to their parents and other children.

"I am actually quite concerned and disturbed by the amount of time that children today, teenagers, are spending on devices and computers. It actually concerns me not just for the kids, but for their future."

Hanessian says parents could see their children lose interest in school and not respond to discipline because of texting and Facebook updating. She adds that the attachment that grew between parent and infant can be strained by electronic device distractions, but that it's never too late to re-establish those essential ties.

"It's really hard to set a limit with a child who's losing empathy. They don't care! So, the question to me is, how do we reclaim that empathic state, that connection, the attachment?"

The study found that more than two-thirds of children age 11 to 14 own a cell phone and spend an average of 1.5 hours each day texting. Critics of the study's findings contend that electronic communication and computer skills are essential for future business success.

The study is "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds," available at www.kff.org.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA