A recent study found that Americans are using their cell phones more often to augment TV-watching experiences.

Story highlights

Study finds about half of U.S. mobile phone owners use phones while watching TV

Viewers use them to look up information, keep busy during commercials, text other viewers

Men are just as glued to phones as women while watching TV

Urban, wealthier and African-American viewers are most likely to use phones to interact with shows

Mashable  — 

Thanks to the growth of smartphone adoption, about half of U.S. mobile phone owners use their devices while watching TV, a new study suggests.

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report, cellphone users not only look up information online in real time and keep themselves occupied during commercials via their handheld devices, they are also interacting with friends.

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About 23% of cellphone users send text messages to others watching the same show in a different location. Other popular “connected” activities include looking up information mentioned on TV (20% have done so in the last 30 days), posting comments online about a show (11%), playing on phones during commercials (38%) and voting for a reality show contestant (6%).

The study – which was conducted among 2,254 American adults ages 18 and older – also revealed that men and women are just as glued to their phones while watching TV (52%). The most popular age demographics are mobile device users ages 18 to 24 (81%), followed by ages 25 to 34 (72%).

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Meanwhile, those living in households earning $50,000 each year or more are more likely to participate in interactive television experiences. African-American cellphone owners (59%) are also more likely to use mobile devices than Caucasian users (50%).

Those living in urban environments are also more likely to embrace an interactive TV experience than those in rural areas.

Do you think mobile phones enhance the television experience, or are they just distracting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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