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Time spent online catches up with TV

If parents needed any more convincing that it’s total screen time that needs to be monitored and not just TV, then a new Forrester study released Monday should do the trick!

In a survey of more than 30,000 consumers, the market research firm found that the average U.S. household now spends about 13 hours each week online, equaling the amount of time spent watching TV. While the amount we spend in front of the TV has remained fairly constant over the last 5 years (up a modest 5 percent), Internet use has risen 121 percent during the same period.

And it’s not just younger demographics that are flocking to the Web. So-called Gen X-ers (ages 31 to 44) and younger boomers (45 to 54) also now spend an equal amount of time with both media.

The mobile Internet is helping to spur the trend. The percentage of mobile users who use their devices for texting jumped from 54 percent to 61 percent in just the last year, and one-quarter of mobile owners now log on to the Internet. While search, news, and sports are some of the driving forces behind mobile use, social media is also a big factor. Forrester estimates that about 200 million consumers worldwide now access their Facebook pages through a mobile device.

Although time spent listening to the radio and reading newspapers and magazines have shown small declines over the last 5 years, they come nowhere near to matching the increase in time spent online. Like other surveys before it, the Forrester results indicate that the Internet is driving an overall increase in media consumption, and it’s other activities – such as sports, face-to-face socializing, and family time – that are taking the hit.

Comment by Ellen Lebowitz, posted 12/14/2010, 3:38 PM:

Actually, I think it's good news that online time is competitive with tv time. It would be even better news if the time spent was minimally devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and information, the latter being the entire reason the web was invented - to exchange the kind of information Time-Berners Lee had in mind. Thank you.
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