Americans Multi-Tasking Watching TV

Posted on: 11/20/12 7:52 AM | by Jonathan McKee

According to Nielsen’s newest 2012 Cross Platform Report, Americans average 34 hours a week in front of the TV. The intriguing part of this is the way they’re watching TV… with a tablet or Smartphone in hand.

Now that 58% of 12-17-year-olds and 74% of young adults have smartphones in their pockets, I guess it would be silly of us to think that they aren’t going to whip those baby’s out while sitting in front of the TV. Television shows are banking on this. That’s why you recall so many shows telling us, “Don’t forget to visit Walking Dead online at…. and use hashtag “headless pets” while you….”

Nielsen provided a nice little info-graphic showing how people of different ages browse while they soak in TV:

And we wonder why young people have such short attention spans?

Should we incorporate more of this multi-tasking into their learning experiences?

Should we also provide some breaks from technology where people can just unplug?

What does that balance look like?

4 Replies to “Americans Multi-Tasking Watching TV”

  1. That’s me! I spend a lot of my TV time with my Kindle Fire in hand, usually checking Facebook or email or just playing a game.

    But I think I also balance that out when I do some things that require total attention: Cooking my family’s daily meals, making beer, and the like.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting article and infographic.

  2. Jonathan I think you’re right about the short attention span… Can someone please explain to me though what this has to do with short attention spans though just so I’m sure why it is you’re right? Thanks heaps

    1. Kids are getting used to the need to be entertained and occupied at ever second. Is the show boring? Then just browse a website during those boring moments. Most multi-tasking studies show that kids now can do over 5 “tasks” at once, where most adults are a little under 2 tasks. This means they are almost used to spinning more plates… two plates might be boring to them.

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