Sure, New York City parents still worry about their teens having sex, drinking and smoking — but the kids are far more interested in smartphones and video games like Pokémon and Grand Theft Auto, a new survey has found.
Nearly half of city teens — 45.6 percent — spend at least three hours a day playing their computer or video games, according to the 2015 biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
That’s up from 41.7 percent in 2013 and 28.1 percent in 2005. The city teen rate of game-playing is 4 points higher than the national average.
At the same time, more city teens are just saying no to sex, booze and tobacco.
The percentage of city high-schoolers who have had sex fell from 31.2 percent in 2013 to 27.2 percent in 2015 — a record low since the CDC began surveying ninth- through 12th-graders in 1997.
The rate in the city is a significant 14 points point lower than the national average of 41.2 percent.
Only 20.9 percent of city kids said they had drunk alcohol in the prior 30 days, down from 24.7 percent in 2013 and 41.8 percent in 2001.
The tobacco-smoking rate also dropped from 8.2 percent in 2013 to 5.8 percent in 2015, a continuation of a downward trend.
But one in six New York City teens — 15.9 percent — are now inhaling nicotine-laced vaporized products, such as e-cigarettes.
City health officials noted that given the ease of access to the Internet and availability of mobile devices, it’s not surprising that teens are spending more time playing video games.
Officials are concerned that hours of sedentary game-playing comes at the expense of healthy exercise.
Meanwhile, city policies banning or discouraging smoking have helped drive down the teen smoking rate, officials said.
“The decline in tobacco smoking among city teens in recent years is significant and can be largely attributed to comprehensive tobacco-control measures implemented, such as restricting access and increasing prices of tobacco,” the Health Department said in a statement.