As we know, people today are more frequently multitasking (sometimes when they should other times when they shouldn’t 🙂 ).

But do they multitask while watching prime-time TV shows? Do YOU?

According to research by Deloitte, not surprisingly, this depends a lot on a person’s age.

Click the eMarketer chart to learn more.



23 Replies to “What Do YOU Do While Watching TV?”

  1. I can honestly say I do not know anyone who JUST watches TV. Whether it be me, my mom, or my little cousins, someone is always doing something else as well. My mom is on her computer, I’m on my phone or reading, and my little cousin on his Nintendo DS. No one just does one thing at a time anymore and I cannot help but think we are all over stimulating our minds. Although we seem to all think we are super humans who can do anything, I can’t help but wonder if all of our minds will fade quicker from the lack of attention span we possess. I guess only time will tell, but it’s safe to say that no one just watches TV

  2. I would have to agree with this article in that almost everyone multitasks while watching tv. It definitely depends on age however, because ive noticed that even in my own family, the younger generation is always occupied, but my parents and grandparents will still sit down in front of the tv and relax for remainder of the tv program. While this is an interesting article i think this has to do with the advance in technology. The younger generation has been taught that they can avoid things like commercials and advertisements, so when these things come up on the tv they are easily skipped by browsing the internet, or using ones mobile device.

  3. I find it very interesting that the gap between trailing and leading millennials is so small in most aspects. The difference between an average 14 and 30 year old is huge, and yet they appear to share very similar habits. Having a younger 14 year old brother I can definitely understand his generation being more inclined to multi-task, considering the prevalence of smartphone usage and other devices that encourage multi-tasking, but the leading millennials grew up in a time when smartphones didn’t even exist, and devices that encourage multi-tasking to this degree just became more easily available recently. I’d almost expect the leading millennials to have habits more similar to Gen X, but that is clearly not the case.

  4. I am not at all surprised by the results of this research. Basically everyone I know multitasks while watching TV. I know for a fact that my sisters, friends, and I are always on our phone when we watch TV, whether we are texting, on the internet, or on social media. I know, for me, if a commercial comes on that draws my attention or reminds me of something that I have to do, I will instantly go on my phone and search the web. Also, many television shows these days promote the use of social media during the air time of the show, by placing hashtags relating to the episode on the corner of the TV screen. Many viewers will turn to social media once those hashtags pop up on the screen, to interact with other viewers during the show. With this in mind, though, you also have to remember that those people who use social media are from younger generations, which explains the results of the research conducted. My parents and family members that are older do not multi task half as much as my generation does. Technology is much more relevant in trailing and leading millennials lives as opposed to Gen X, Baby Boomers, and Matures.

  5. I want to bring another argument into this discussion… Whether I multitask or not depends a lot on what I am watching. If I have some free time and I’m flicking through the channels, then yes I’m probably also doing something else (on my phone texting or surfing the web). However if I’m watching one of my weekly aired shows, I am very engrossed in the TV, so the amount of times I check my phone is much less. This is just one more thing to think about when reading the chart above.

  6. I definitely agree with this post. I never just watch TV. I am usually on my phone or doing homework at the same time. This is even true when it is a show that I have been waiting weeks to watch. For some reason I can never keep my full attention on the TV. I do not blame this on technology though because unlike today’s society, I did not grow up with an iPhone or an iPad to keep my attention. Also, I don’t think I know anyone that can just sit down and watch TV including people that are in the “mature” category. Though they may not be sending out text messages or on the computer, they are reading or talking on the phone.

  7. It is no surprise that the millennials are leading this chart. Most people our age are constantly using technology and the internet to further their knowledge or shop online. The integration of technology into social life has been a fast but noticeable transition. No one can really say if it’s been significantly negative or positive but the change to what many call “the future” is happening right before us.

  8. It makes sense throughout the age gap distribution. The “matures”, age 67 plus, grew up in a diffrent world. These people where born at most in 1947 a great many before that, they grew up listening to the radio. Their first tv experiences where in black and white. They experienced the birth and rise of television. From color,to cable , to the remote control, all the way into the light years of HDTV and the plasma screen. Phones and the Internet are on the same bold new frontier.

  9. I’m quite surprised that the social media usage is so low. TV shows just seemed perfect things to supplement with social media. However, I can also see how it would vary depending on shows. For one, big live events will definitely have a lot of people buzzing about it online because most people are watching together. That is key. With all the recorded shows and online streaming, people are watching the same content at different times and it just isn’t the same texting/tweeting back and forth with a friend who has previously seen that show. Live shows are what makes social usage about the shows interesting. Also some programs, such as The Walking dead have a lot of slow moments where you would engage with your gadgets whereas shows such as Big Bang Theory are fast paced enough that you don’t have time to multitask.

  10. I usually always check my phone during a commercial break, usually some sort of social media. Depending on how well the show is holding my interest, I may also tune out completely and play games or go on social media while the actual show is on. I usually always text throughout the show no matter what, especially if it’s a show my friends also watch. As a result, I know I sometimes miss the more subtle details in a show.

  11. I can relate to this article and agree that many people, including myself multitask while watching TV. Personally I will have many screens in front of me other than the television, which includes my cell phone and laptop. Whether I am doing homework, or on social media I am usually more tuned into one of the following screens. It is also interesting to know that many company’s will advertise on social media or television at the same times for the reason that they know the consumers will see the advertisements.

    1. This article definitely caught my eye because I watch a lot of tv. But thinking about it I am usually multi tasking when I watch television. I am either on my computer, doing homework, on social media or hanging out with friends. I find it interesting that 14-30 are the majority that multi task while watching tv. But I believe it because our generations have grown up with it and we don’t know anything different. We love to stay connected. Older generations didn’t have all this technology therefor are not as addicted to it as the younger age gap is.

  12. Honestly, I do not know anyone who watches tv and does not multitask at least once. When I am watching tv, I constantly text even if it is my favorite show. I did not realize until looking at the chart how much I actually do while watching tv. I go on social media, text, browse the internet, sometimes shop, rarely do school work while watching tv but sometimes have no choice. I realized that the age group of 14-24 do the most multitasking while watching tv than the other age groups which is not surprising but I would think older people would multitask more.

  13. This article confirmed something that many people have realized lately: even when watching TV, Americans are not fully relaxing. Since it’s so easy to have more than one device out at a time, ‘watching’ TV is the perfect time to get caught up on emails, or do some quick work. Especially if a person is watching live TV, commercial breaks are a great chance to update ourselves from online happenings, even if it’s just quickly scrolling through a news app or updating our twitter newsfeed. Since TV is audio, as well as visuals, looking at something else for a few minutes won’t completely take away from whatever program is on the television.

  14. I would be considered a part of the “trailing millennials” generation. As a 20 year old viewer, I definitely multitask a lot, especially while watching TV. In fact, I am multitasking at this very moment. I am doing this assignment while texting, watching a movie, and fighting with my friend. I guess us millennials are very talented at that.

  15. For many people once smart phones were invented was when they stopped just watching TV. Both of my parents don’t have a smart phone and they actually just watch TV. For me it depends what is on and who my company is in the room. If it is my friends ill probably go on my phone but if it is family I try to stay off of it.

  16. This article is spot on. There really isn’t anyone who just relaxes and watches TV. Most people today have their computer, tablets, or phones in hand while watching TV. I know I do, and I always catch myself missing what’s going on, on the show and getting mad at myself even though I thought I was being productive.

  17. I must admit I am constantly using my phone while watching tv. I find that when I am watching a show with my parents they pay far more attention. I feel like texting has a lot to do with this. My parents barely text so they never go on their phones. Since texting has become such a huge part of society I find that this is the reason that we are constantly checking our phones. I know that as soon as a commercial comes on I will definitely go right to checking social media or responding to a text. Even when the show is back on I find myself using my phone and this causes me to miss much of what I am watching and I depend on my parents to fill me in on what I missed.

  18. While I watch TV, I must admit I barley even watch the TV. I am always on my phone or computer, or even with friends just talking. Sometimes I even catch myself putting on the TV right before I am about to do homework, as weird as that sounds. For some reason I have it on so much and don’t even watch it. My parents on the other hand put it on rarely but they actually watch it before they go to bed. Sometimes my mom will put it on when she’s cooking but other than that, they watch it. I see my friends and brothers also that just leave it on to have it on while they’re doing something else. Its very strange

  19. I completely agree with this article! Most the time when I am watching TV, I am texting or surfing the web. I feel like in this day and age most people are multitasking while watching TV because they are attached to their phone or computer. For me though, it depends on the show I am watching. If I am watching a show I am extremely interested in, then I won’t multitask as much as if I am watching a show that is boring. On the other hand, my parents, who are from the baby boomers generation, do not multitask while watching TV. I think this is because they did not grow up with the advanced phones and computers we have now, and therefore aren’t as attached to it as my generation is.

  20. The thought of watching TV without also doing another activity seems strange. Of course I can remember a time when I would sit glued to the screen and focus on nothing else, but now with school there is no time to just watch TV. Today, my television is always on as a form on background noise. If I am watching it means I am also doing homework or hanging out with friends. Granted, some shows are more interesting than others so it makes it harder to do other things, but I find that unless is it late at night I am always multitasking when it comes to watching TV.

  21. I think almost everyone multitasks while watching tv, whether it be surfing the web, texting, or playing a game on your phone. There are so many handheld devices and laptops around the average household that it is so easy to find something else to do besides watch tv. Just on an iPhone there are millions of things that you can do to occupy yourself. Tv today serves as just background noise these days for most.

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