While many a parent will lament there are not enough hours in the day, the simultaneous use of several technologies is allowing families to cram in 43 hours worth of activity from one sunrise to the next, a new study claims.
The survey by Yahoo Inc and media buyer OMD untangled the overlapping use of the Internet, telephones, text messaging, radio and television during work and recreation hours for more than 4,700 adults in 16 countries, from the United States to Argentina and Taiwan.
"While using the Internet, people are also doing two or three other things, often watching TV or talking on the phone," said Mike Hess, global director of research at OMD, part of Omnicom Group.
On average, families said they spent 3.6 hours per day using the Internet, 2.5 hours daily watching television and one hour on instant messaging. Smaller increments of time were spent playing video games, listening to the radio and to digital music players, reading newspapers and Internet blogs, as well as doing household chores.
In the United States, families on average owned about 12 technology and media-related devices. Across the survey 70 percent of respondents said technology allowed them to stay in touch with family members.
Nearly one-third of parents questioned said they use mobile phones to check in with their children throughout the day while a quarter of them claimed that instant messaging improved relationships with their offspring.
Real-time communication also means that children are more involved in family decision-making, from travel plans to major product purchases, bolstering the idea that advertisers need to figure out more closely who in the home could influence a particular shopping trip.
"It's different than saying I'm going to target the head of the household," said Yahoo chief sales officer Wenda Harris Millard.
"Trying to pinpoint the degree of influence of each family member is going to be very important to marketers."