In what would raise worries about the risks youngsters face using Internet and electronic gadgets, a new study has claimed children as young as eight are spending more than seven hours a day online.

According to the study by US welfare institute the Kaiser Family Foundation, on average youngsters spend seven hours and 38 minutes using “entertainment media” across a typical day, an increase of one hour 17 minutes since 2004.

This includes surfing Internet, computer games, listening music on iPods and using mobile phones.

The researchers, who interviewed about 2,000 young people aged between eight and 18, found that some youngsters consume up to 10 hours of electronic content a day through “media multitasking”, or by simultaneously using more than one device, the Telegraph reported.

While children on average spend one hour and 35 minutes on sending or receiving messages, girls appeared to be devoting more time (25 mins a day) than boys (19 mins) using social networking sites such as Facebook, the study found.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation report, there has been a dramatic increase in the time children spend using electrical gadgets in the past five years.

And this is because portable devices have revolutionised the way children access television programmes, films and music, said the report.

Michele Elliott, a child psychologist and founder of the child welfare charity Kidscape, said parents needed to limit the amount of time young children use electronic media.

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