TV used to be a Saturday morning routine for teens, and now, several channels air shows for young adults nearly 24/7. Teenagers' screen time has risen steadily over the last few years, and many have wondered how this affects their well-being and health. TV can have many positive effects, but with all the explicit and inappropriate content available, some teens can fall into bad habits and poor lifestyles through the influence of TV.
At Live it Up, we believe in making healthy living an easier reality. Teens are no exception, and with the rise of TV, social media, and screens, it's even more important to promote children's health and wellness. We've compiled the TV-watching national statistics by state, and the results may surprise you. We've also included other findings related to teens' TV-watching routines and habits.
- Mississippi teens watch the most TV in the country–over 27% of 9-12th-grade students report watching at least three hours during school days.
- Only 13.9% of teenagers in Utah watch three or more hours of TV daily–the state with the least obsessed teens in the nation.
- Seven of the top ten states with the most TV-obsessed teens–Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina–are all located in the South.
- Out of the bottom five states (Utah, Nebraska, Idaho, Kansas, and Hawaii) with the least TV-obsessed teens, all but Hawaii are landlocked states.
How TV Watching Habits Affect Teens
There's a considerable debate on how screen time affects children and young adults. Still, one thing is undoubtedly clear: young people have increasingly become more screen-reliant and spend far more time watching TV, engaging with social media, or spending much of their time in front of a screen.
Some studies have shown that increased screen time can lead to aggressive behavior and poor academic performance. At the same time, other health officials believe TV watching can benefit children with proper parental guidance. TV shows and media that depict nefarious activities can affect young children and teenagers. Still, if they learn to moderate their watching habits, they can avoid the negative influences of inappropriate media.
TV is just one screen a teen may have in front of them at any given time, but what's more important is how they understand the risks (and rewards) of engaging with TV or social media. Some studies have argued there's a correlation between social media use and lower self-esteem, and teens may believe they need to live unrealistic lives as they see on TV and social media. With all the explicit content and inappropriate media available, it's more important than ever to set screen and content expectations and ensure young adults aren't consumed by their screens.
We looked at data collected by the CDC surrounding TV habits of adolescents in the United States and ranked each state according to the percentage of teens that watch 3 or more hours of TV each day. States with a high percentage of teens that watch 3 or more hours of TV were ranked higher, and those with a lower percentage of teens that watch excessive television were ranked lower. Thirteen states had no data available and were not included in the ranking. The states without data were:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
CDC - Percentage of students in grades 9-12 watching 3 or more hours of television each school day in 2019