A new study carried out by Click Consult has found that social media has overtaken television as the favourite pastime of UK teenagers.
A survey of 1300 people across the UK was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of the agency, and found that 65 percent of 16-24 year-olds rated social media as their favourite hobby, rather than watching television, reading or playing video games.
For those within the 25-34 year-old range, television and social media preferences were split fairly equally. The appeal of social networks appears to have permeated more than the younger generation, as 32 percent of those aged over 55 said that social media takes priority over their favourite television show.
TV was considered as a favoured leisure activity by 54 percent of 16-24 year olds, 44 percent preferred reading and 37 percent enjoyed playing video games. Exercise, however, was not a priority, as only 25 percent of those surveyed included it within their leisure activity range.
37 percent of 16-24 year olds admitted they sometimes combine watching television and staying connected through social media at the same time. The survey also revealed that 6 percent of this age group spend over 8 hours a day on social media, in order to 'keep the conversation going'. One third choose to spend time on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks for up to three hours per day.
There doesn't seem to be any kind of line drawn on the places social media is accessed by the Generation Y, with respondents admitting to a variety of areas including hospital operating tables, while attending court and in sex shops.
Girls are more likely to spend additional time online communicating with their peers, as a 10 percent difference in those surveyed revealed.
"The social media revolution is not new, but for it to now take over from the nation's favourite pastime for the younger audience, truly indicates how quickly leisure habits are evolving in our digital age." said Matt Bullas, the managing director of Click Consult.
"We're not saying this is the death of TV, but we envisage seeing more multimedia opportunities being developed in partnership with TV to encourage cyber conversation, especially when you consider that 40 percent of the younger audience are on social media at the same time as watching TV.
We're already seeing Twitter feeds and hashtags regularly posted onto TV screens of our favourite shows and this will only get more integrated."
Television companies do seem to be aware of this rising trend -- with the increasing inclusion of television show streaming, QR code use, and continual mentions of Twitter and Facebook groups for deals or offers. Some companies are beginning to engage more closely with their viewers by creating interactive services, such as allowing surfers to exchange questions online for live debates or to play games online along with watching participants on a game show.
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