For decades, watching television as a family has been a popular pastime in the United States. Television first took off after World War II with popular shows such as “Texaco Start Theater” and the “Original Amateur Hour.” During the 1950s, American families were enjoying “Howdy Doody,” “I Love Lucy,” and “The Lone Ranger” By the end of the decade, approximately 90% of American homes had a television.
However, while many Americans have had a love affair with television shows from the beginning, most still say that they don’t watch very much TV. How much time do Americans spend watching television today? Here’s a look at some of the current trends and statistics.
How Much TV Do American Families Watch?
Studies show that 99% of homes in the United States have at least one television, and 66% of homes have more than three television sets. According to Nielsen, American families spend approximately 34 hours every week watching live television, and that doesn’t include the hours spent watching programs on a DVR, tablet, or smartphone.
What Kinds of Screens are Used to Watch TV Today?
Many hours of television are no longer watched on a traditional television screen. In fact, Motorola released statistics saying that more people are now watching television on their tablets in the bedroom. Tablets make it easy to watch television anywhere in the home, which is why many people are choosing to enjoy their favorite shows in the comfort of the bedroom.
While watching television via tablet seems popular, another study by Adobe showed that more online television is actually being watched on smartphones than on tablets. This study was the first to show that smartphones had become the most popular device for watching streaming content, and to announce that smartphone television viewing has grown by more than 50%.
Quality of Content is Important for Kids
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), television viewing has a big influence on kids and teens, and by the time American children graduate from high school, they have spent more time watching TV than they have spent in school. While the AACAP notes that too much television can be problematic for children, some medical research shows that the quality of content may be just as important as the quantity of television watched by kids. Many pediatricians recommend that parents limit screen time for kids, but reducing the negative aspects of TV viewing is just as important as limiting screen time. Television has a lot to offer families when parents make sure that kids are watching high-quality and age-appropriate shows.
Studies Show More Families are Watching Television Together
Television was a family affair back in the 50s, and studies are now showing that families are watching more television together once again. However, families are also simultaneously using smartphones and tablets while they are watching television. In fact, one Nielsen study showed that 40% of tablet and smartphone owners are using these devices while they watch television every day. Kids and parents often spend time checking their emails, surfing the web, visiting social networking sites, and using apps while they enjoy television together.
Television, no matter what screen it’s watched on, has the potential to bring families together. However, parents still need to make sure that kids are watching quality content. While it’s fun to engage with apps and social media sites while watching TV, parents should ensure that kids are taking enough time to lead healthy, active lifestyles, preventing problems like childhood obesity.
Bonnie Woodrum is an experienced blogger specializing in the area of family-focused products and services. Bonnie blogs regularly for a number of children’s entertainment and mom-targeted/kid-centric brands such as Purex, Safety 1st, PBSKids, American Greetings Properties (owners of Care Bears & Strawberry Shortcake), Outfit7 Limited (producers of Talking Tom and Friends and Talking Angela) and Bandai America (makers of Power Rangers action figures, Tamagotchi and more).