Study Finds Computer Use Trails Television

A new report from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., found the average American spending more time in front of the computer than any other electronic media, with the exception of television. The report finds people tend to use computers most during work hours.

"While well over half of all media use is in the home, more than two-thirds of all computer use is at work," said Robert Papper, a telecommunications professor and member of Center for Media Design's research team. "As in real estate, location is almost everything in media use. The television dominates at home, radio dominates the car and the computer dominates the workplace. Every category of computer use was higher at work than at home."

"The Computer: A Medium for All Reasons," the latest report from the Center for Media Design, a research and development facility at Ball State University, explores computer-based media usage throughout the day in the workplace and at home.

"Computer use begins in large numbers at the beginning of the work day at 8 a.m., dips during the lunch hour and comes back up from 1 to 5 p.m.," Papper said. "It then trails off dramatically as people go home to watch television."

The study found computer use is higher during the typical Monday through Friday workweek rather than weekends. It also found that working adults ages 25 to 64 had higher rates of computer usage than young people between the ages of 18 to 24.

The research in the computer usage report is based on analysis of data collected for the Middletown Media Studies 2 project, in which observers shadowed 350 people from Muncie and Indianapolis for an entire day, recording their media use and activities. MMS2 is a follow-up to a 2004 study that found people consume more media than they claim they do.