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Kids are no longer glued to the TV. At least not according to a study released today by Grunwald Associates, which found that 64 percent of kids go online while watching television — and nearly half of them do so “frequently,” from three times a week to several times a day.
Grunwald’s study also revealed that 73 percent of these kids are not only multitasking, but actively so, whereby the content in one medium is concurrently influencing their behavior in another, such as casting a vote in an online poll after being prompted to by a TV show.
From the press release:
50 percent of 9-to-17-year-olds visit web sites they see on TV even as they continue to watch; 45 percent of teens have sent instant messages or e-mail to others they knew were watching the same TV show One-third (33 percent) of 9-to-17-year-olds say they have participated in online polls, entered contests, played online games or other online activities that television programs have directed them to while they are watching.
It should be noted that Microsoft, MySpace and Verizon, who definitely have an interest in keeping kids multitasking, underwrote the study.
What’s interesting is the generational shift this represents. It wasn’t too long ago that parents warned of kids becoming “couch potatoes.” Far from becoming lifeless lumps that sit hypnotized, turns out kids are actively socializing, researching and participating in the media they consume.
It also reinforces that media companies should be taking a 360-degree approach to their media properties. Instead of just creating web sites and polls, TV programming could feature IM messages or emails from characters to allow more participation from viewers. Or they could integrate Google searches to help kids gain some knowledge while they are watching a show.
Look for more evidence of this trend as the line between TV and PC continues to blur.