Are UAE students becoming hooked to a life of processed food, mobile and computer games and a highly competitive education system? Safiya Salim finds out

Experts say junk culture is killing childhood. According to a recent Reuters report from the UK. The report defined junk culture in terms of processed food, computer games and an over competitive education system.

Notes decided to investigate whether the same can be said of the youth in the UAE.

Psychologists, children's authors and experts define junk culture as "a sinister cocktail of junk food, marketing, over-competitive schooling and electronic entertainment that is poisoning childhood".

Experts believe that many of the dilemmas children or teenagers face such as depression, behavioural and developmental conditions etc. are a result of junk culture.

To evolve into healthy human beings, the youth require nutritious home-made food, physical sports and activities and first-hand experience of the world they live in through regular interaction with peers and adults.

Notes spoke to students of the American College of Dubai and tabulated their answers.

Our questions
Students of the American College of Dubai

1. What is a regular meal for you? Do you have junk food on a daily basis?

Clive Dias
BBA (Banking and Finance)
"My diet comprises fruit and vegetables. I also have a lot of junk food, especially pizzas and McDonald's."

Sharnali S. Jani
"I have bread, meat and vegetables, No I don't eat a lot of junk food."

Megha Patil
"I have fruit, bread, vegetables, rice, dal (lentil curry), chocolates, ice-cream, pasta... I do have junk food occasionally, not on a regular basis."

Sana Bhadwar
"I have at least a bar of chocolate every day. My basic meal consists of meat, vegetables, curries... I do eat junk food every day but in small quantities."

Francis Valence
"I have crab, meat, veggies... not a lot of junk food!"

Caroline Kate
"Rice, soup, chicken/meat make up my usual basic meal. I rarely have junk food."

Momina Choudhary
"The basic meal consists of chicken, meat, veggies, home-cooked food. I don't have junk food on a daily basis but I do crave crisps!"

Monil Raisinghani
"I have Indian home-cooked vegetarian food on a daily basis, but I do have a lot of junk food as well."

Sakina Hussain
"I eat loads of salad, soup, Indian food... No, I don't have junk food, I'm a health and fitness freak!"

Zehra Durrani
"I have all sorts of food, and yes, I do have a lot of junk food as well."

Daanesh Kalyaniwalla
Liberal arts
"Rice, chicken... lots of junk food like burgers, chips etc."

Neha Pai
"Burgers, French fries, chips... I have junk food most of the time."

2. Are you hooked on computer games/mobile phone games text messaging e-mailing? How much time do you spend on it a day?

Clive: "I enjoy playing mobile phone games and spend an average of two hours on entertainment every day."

Sharnali: "I do spend time on mobile games and checking mails etc. but not more than an hour per day."

Megha: "I spend time on the internet, e-mailing and chatting, also texting, about 2 hours a day."

Sana: "I enjoy chatting on MSN messenger, hate e-mailing but do it when necessary, I don't play mobile/computer games."

Francis: "Not really into computer games and stuff, but an hour (on the internet) daily."

Caroline: "Yep! I am online 24/7, however I use it only for about two hours minimum."

Momina: "I hardly spend any time on the internet or on computer games."

Monil: "I spend around three hours every day on the internet and general entertainment."

Sakina: "I spend two-three hours on the net, hardly any time on the phone though."

Zehra: "Spend approximately two hours on the net."

Daanesh: "I spend a minimum of four hours on the internet and games..."

Neha: "Yes, I do spend time on mailing, chatting etc, for about an hour every day."

3. How much time do you spend on studies - that is including homework, research assignments and classes?

Clive: "I spend around three hours on homework and attending lectures at college daily, but hardly spend time studying."

Sharnali: "I spend around three and a half hours on assignments, college lectures, etc"

Megha: "I attend all my classes at college - about four hours every day and spend around two hours on homework assignments on a daily basis."

Sana: "I study an average of three-four hours a day"

Francis: "I don't study for long, maybe 30 minutes or so..."

Caroline: "I listen in class and take down notes and just review my notes before I sleep."

Momina: "I keep revising my notes on and off, and spend around three-four hours in college."

Monil: "I attend a minimum three hours of college lectures, and occasionally study."

Sakina: "I study between three-four hours on the weekends and around one-two hours on weekdays."

Zehra: "I review and revise notes from class and practise related exercises."

Daanesh: "I study depending on the work I have. Sometimes I spend a lot of time on completing homework assignments, etc. and other times I hardly study."

Neha: "At college, I spend around two hours in class and apart from that I review my notes."

The writer is a student of the American College of Dubai