Recent survey results of 118 eight-to-twelve year-old children examined total hours of media consumed, hours of video game play, and number of media used concurrently. Then the authors correlated those to things like behavior, sleep, and psychological issues.

The results are only correlation but they found that young people now average over 8 hours of digital content per day. That's a lot of time. Or is it? Time spent playing video games led to positive results for both boys and girls. Kids who spent more time on video games than things like social media did better on cognitive tests and in social skills. That makes sense, a game is a game and games have benefits.

There is concern about games but parents have always been concerned about what kids are doing. In the 19th century, parents were warned that reading too many books was a bad thing. And were told women should not read at all. 

The same concerns were expressed about radio and then television but the kids who watched 'too much television' in their youth designed the Tesla and the iPhone. Is it really worse to play a game of chess on a computer versus a real opponent? That's like saying a Peloton has no benefit because the exercise is not happening in a room full of people.

There might be limits, obviously. A child who wakes up and plays video games before school is more likely to have worse grades, but that is a sign of an addictive personality. We can't really blame Halo 5 for that, when it could be something much worse. I watch TMZ and ESPN Sportscenter just about every day. Is it a waste of time? Not to me, I write for a living, and that often means metaphor and cultural touchstones. Two things people 'get' are sports and celebrities. Writing is about 90 percent reading for me, which means I probably spend more than 8 hours a day on digital content. 

When I was a young guy in engineering, an older fellow told me he didn't trust the devotion of any engineer if they hadn't built ham radios. I joked that I was looking for a slide rule in the pocket, and he said that was crazy, no one used slide rules. After a decade and an IPO, I left, and there may have been no one in the entire R&D department who had ever even built a motor. The world of physics was all digital simulation. We told our customers that manufacturing and test benches were only to verify. The world had changed a lot in a generation but physicists were not worse at their jobs. 

Just as BMI is useless outside a population level look at obesity, a small look at the media habits of children won't tell you anything at all about your own. If they are fit, well-adjusted, and doing fine in school, how many hours a day they spend playing games or texting friends isn't meaningful. They may be different from you and how you or I were raised, but that doesn't make it wrong.