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Study: 8.5 Hours a Day Spent on Screens

Study: 8.5 Hours a Day Spent on Screens
Larissa Hayden

In an alarming but not all too shocking article, the New York Times revealed that the average American adult is exposed to screens (TVs, cell phones, G.P.S.s) for about 8.5 hours a day. In addition, they are subject to 61 minutes of TV ads and promotions a day. Although most of this exposure is from television, computer usage has usurped radio as the second most common medium.

The fact that the number of minutes spent with media is about equal across age groups (with the exception of 45 to 54 year olds, who spend an hour more than others) is a surprising statistic. This may seem counter intuitive to those who assume that younger demographics spend a disproportionate amount of time with screens. Digital multitasking, too, is not solely reserved for the younger crowd. The likelihood of multi-screen multitasking was consistent up to the early 50s, where the numbers then dropped down.

Specific differences among age groups occurred when researchers looked at individual media. For example, 18 to 24 year olds spend more time texting while 35 to 44 year olds spend the most time online.

The study specifically looked into DVR usage and discovered that 30% of American households have the device, with which they watch about 15 minutes of TV a day (and about 5 hours of live TV – though the number is likely higher, as researchers say people typically under report the amount they spend with TV by almost 25 percent). Newer owners of DVRs are less likely to use them for time-shifted viewing because more people are receiving DVRs from their cable companies.

These numbers come from a study by the Council for Research Excellence published last week. The study, conducted via ethnographies rather than surveys, was what researchers say is the largest observational look at media usage ever conducted.

[via NY Times]

Photo by Lilley76

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