Culture Clips: Parents Worried About Kids’ Screen Time (But They Use Screens Just as Much)


Just call this the “log in your own eye” edition of culture clips.

Parents worry a lot about how much time their children and teens spend watching screens. But according to a new report, moms and dads spend an average of nine hours a day with their own screens. “We’re not trying to make parents feel guilty,” says Michael Robb, director of research for Common Sense Media (which did the study), “but we are trying to make them more aware.”

And just what are we watching on all those screens of ours? Apparently a lot of Netflix. The entertainment streaming service now has 87 million subscribers in 190 territories. And even though it already has enough original shows to choke the proverbial horse, it plans to double its original programming. That’s 1,000 hours of new stuff from the channel, grouped into 20 new shows. Moreover, Netflix says that many of those new programs are reality shows—a genre that the service has largely avoided.

One Netflix show, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, may feature a controversial twist next season. At the end of this year’s four-episode run, daughter Rory Gilmore announced that she was (spoiler alert) pregnant. Now showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino is suggesting that she may decide to have an abortion. “Rory doesn’t have to keep the baby. There are choices here that she can make. It’s just the left turn. It’s that curveball that life throws you.”

But maybe it’s not just humans spending a lot of time with screens. Apple’s Siri would have us believe that she watches a lot of HBO’s Westworld when we’re not watching her.

Speaking of creepy gadgets, a couple of computer-enhanced playthings may be surreptitiously spying on their new owners. The toys include the talking doll My Friend Cayla and the i-QUE robot, which grill kids as to what their parents’ names are, where they live and what’s their favorite foods. They also gather users’ IP addresses.

And that’s not the worst story about dolls we have for you this week. According to an expert quoted in The Sun, sex robots—modeled after popular celebrities—are “set to take the world by storm.” (The story does add that the “storm” may be a long time coming, given the technological and legal hurdles involved.)

Still, technology is presenting plenty of dangers to us in the here and now, too. The U.S. Surgeon General recently announced that e-cigarettes are dangerous for children and teens. It’s not just the nicotine at issue, but other harmful chemicals such as lead, diacetyl and nickel. Meanwhile, The Washington Post published a huge story alleging that “video games are more addictive than ever,” and giving readers insight as to “what happens when kids can’t turn them off.” And according to The Times-Tribune, an 18-year-old teen was involved in a fatal crash just as she started broadcasting live on Facebook.

The Golden Globe nominations were recently announced. The throwback musical La La Land led the way with seven nominations, followed by the gritty coming-of-age drama Moonlight, with six. On the television side, FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, led the way with five nominations.

Meanwhile, Golden Globe darling Johnny Depp earned an altogether different sort of “honor”: Forbes magazine named the Pirates of the Caribbean star as the world’s most overpaid actor. His last three movies—Alice Through the Looking Glass, Mortdecai and Transcendence—earned just $2.80 for every dollar he was paid to appear in them. Will Smith was second, Channing Tatum third, Will Ferrell fourth and George Clooney fifth.

Culture Clips are compiled by Paul Asay, Adam Holz and Bob Hoose

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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