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Monday, October 31, 2005

Multimedia Addiction

A while back, I posted about the apparent collective sweet tooth that Israeli society seems to have, and wondered whether Israelis are fighting the same battles against childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes that Americans are notoriously fighting. Some commenters, reporting from Israel, posited that Israeli kids get out and move around more, and that this exercise is what distinguishes their slimmer figures from those of their American counterparts, who the phrase "couch potato" seems to have been coined to describe. Interesting theory, except that the results of a recent study show that Israeli youth face the same scourge of addiction to television and computer use as youngsters on this side of the ocean.
Israeli youngsters spend almost seven hours a day sitting in front of the computer and watching television, a new survey shows.
Only 10 percent of youngsters said they do not watch television, and 12 percent do not use the computer. According to the survey, only 8 percent of youths aged 12-17 do not use the computer.
...The survey also revealed that the addiction to computers increases with age, and that youths use the computer more than children.
I wonder if the percentage of youths polled who were found not to use the computer or watch television is over and above the presumable almost 100% of Charedi Israeli youths who do not partake in such multimedia hobbies.

29 Comments:

Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

i just got back from israel and i'll tell you that every park was filled everyday and that though glicks choclate (all 1000 types) and shoko are a fat kids breakfast those kids are agile,rambunctious and energetic in my unscientific opinion.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

I'd also check the numbers on US kids: It's probably higher.

As a note, American kids are driven almost everywhere these days (hence all the minivans!); Israeli kids get there by walking, riding, or a walking/bus combo. That little difference adds up.

5:14 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I'd also check the numbers on US kids: It's probably higher.

Actually, interestingly enough, American kids spend the exact same amount of time in front of the TV and computer as Israeli kids, according to this study: 6 3/4 hours.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Hm. Well. Here's my only observation on the topic:

American kids and Israeli kids spent the same amount of time each day in front of the computer/TV, right? But Israeli kids have fewer hours of school, I think (I'm saying, compared to American public school, as opposed to day schools). Which means that Israeli kids have an hour or two in their somewhere each day that is unaccounted for - maybe at the park?

I do remember reading somewhere, though, that obesity is on the rise among Israeli kids. Maybe I'll try to fish out that article. But I probably won't get to it! (Just being honest)

12:54 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

OM: Wow, that is surprising... But Sarah makes a good point - my cousins were home at about 2, while PS kids go to 3 I believe. Plus, add in the walking home vs. being driven; and the less strict Israeli parents who let their kids stay out later, and Israeli kids get a lot more exercise.

2:36 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I'm happy to announce that we are cancelling YES (Israel Satellite TV) to promote in the Muqata home:

less TV watching
more reading (hopefully books in English)
more outside activity.

The main junk food in our home is morning cereal (I'm disguted with Osem for cancelling plain Cheerios)

More than that - none of our 7 kids are anywhere near overweight.

They do love playing in the park and riding their bikes, rollerblading, and "capture the flag" (the latest trend).

Me? I could lose a few kilo, but thats what Saturday Night Hockey is for.

6:26 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

and "capture the flag" (the latest trend).

So funny, Jameel. My kids have been obsessed with "capture the flag" of late as well.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Orthomom; In Hebrew its called "Shnei Degalim" -- there's even an "official" yishuv location to meet for it. (a specific park down the block). Its safer than rollerblading, and you don't need to wear a helmet.

Remember the old days when no one wore a helmet when biking?

9:24 AM  
Anonymous zahava said...

I'd be quite curious to know the demographics of the polled kids. Kids living on yishuvim definitely get more exercise than most city kids because there is no public transportation to speak of, and most families do NOT drive their kids to school. Also, within dati leumi yishuvim there seems to be less unsupervised tv due to the vulgar content -- my kids watch but have an hour max a day, and not always that, and DEFINITELY NOT unsupervised. Re: the computer usage -- my two oldest kids are 10 and 11 and they would MUCH prefer fresh air and sports to computer games.

My kids get considerably more exercise here than when we were living in the States. They walk about .75 mile to and from school (that's each way), they have two outdoor recesses during school hours, and they must walk to-and-from their various afterschool activities whose locations vary between .75 miles to 1.25 miles (again, each way) from the house. On average, my kids walk 15.5 miles a week! And none of the simple transporation forms of exercise even take into consideration their time spent in the parks, playing soccer or basketball on our street, or bike riding -- which unless it is pouring can be any where from 1-3 hours a day.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I wonder whether the prospect of being in the army affects kid's behavior (in terms of being physically fit).

By the way...

Is it permitted for a psychotherapist to be in yichud with a patient of the opposite sex? See an interesting new teshuva, here.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just added a post to your jw post from last week. it was in part a repsonse to reb yudel.

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Blogger blacknymph said...

Hi, I wonder where you get your source about the survey. Would it be fine if I ask for it? Just please e-mail me as soon as possible.

slymme_ville@yahoo.com

or

jesza.ville@gmail.com

Thanks!
Looking forward for it.

11:23 PM  
Blogger blacknymph said...

Hi, I wonder where you get your source about the survey. Would it be fine if I ask for it? Just please e-mail me as soon as possible.

slymme_ville@yahoo.com

or

jesza.ville@gmail.com

Thanks!
Looking forward for it.

11:23 PM  
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