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August 3, 2010

The popularity of video games and Internet usage among high-school students has cut into TV time, but not by much. According to the 2009 New Jersey Student Health Survey, 33.3 percent of New Jersey high-school students put in five or more hours of electronic viewing on an average school day -- for purposes other than schoolwork. It also reports that about the same number of students (32.6 percent) say they watch three or more hours of TV on a school night. That’s actually down from 40.7 percent in 2001, but if you add video games and the Internet, 62.6 percent of students say they spend more than three hours on electronic usage each school night. In general, girls spend less time on electronics than boys, although TV viewing patterns are similar (31.7 percent vs. 33.5 percent). There is a wider disparity when it comes to the Internet and video games (25.8 percent vs. 31.9 percent). African Americans (54.4 percent) were most likely to report watching three or more hours of TV on an average school day, while white students were least likely (24.9 percent). Hispanic students fell somewhere in between. African Americans (36.1 percent) and Hispanics (30.4 percent) reported higher usage -- three or more hours -- of video games and the Internet than did white students (25.3 percent.) The biennial New Jersey Student Health Survey is conducted by the state Department of Education in conjunction with the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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