Using Phones While Watching TV: New Study Raises the Bar for Community Organizations, Faith-based Website Says

Share Article In the age of media saturation, non-profits must adopt new strategies to remain relevant.

"These organizations can make a real difference online, but they have to be there first."

With Americans’ attention spans shortening and multitasking skills increasing, non-profits need to reassess their strategies to reach busy viewers, according to the faith-based website,

That statement came as the Pew Research Center this week revealed that 52 percent of American cell phone users use their phones to enhance their TV viewing experiences.

The Pew report, entitled “The Rise of the ‘Connected Viewer,’” is based on the Pew Commission’s polling of over 2,250 cell phone users ages 18 and up. Researchers used phone surveys to examine consumer habits in March and April of this year, according to the published report.

What are viewers using the phones for? Thirty-eight percent of dual-users reported using their phones to stay busy during commercial breaks, and 22 percent said they were fact-checking statements they had heard on TV, according to the report. Among the 57 percent of respondents with smartphones, activities also included joining discussions about TV programs on social networks, the report said.

And you might be surprised by who’s dialing in.

Aaron Smith, the senior research specialist for the project, told PC Magazine, “The ‘mobile difference,’ as we call it, is not limited to just young people anymore.” Indeed, while 81 percent of 18-24-year-olds reported doubling up on media consumption, a majority of adults in the 25-44 brackets also admitted to using their phones while watching TV, the report said.

But what do these findings mean for organizations outside of media? Pastor Jamie from argues that this study “calls to task” non-profits and “any group that wants to make a difference.”

"This study confirms that, and businesses, churches, and non-profits have to get onboard or be left behind. These organizations can make a real difference online, but they have to be there first," he said.

With 88 percent of Americans now owning cell phones, the trend of media saturation—and what it means for businesses and non-profits—is difficult to ignore.

The full report, released July 17, is available on Pew Research’s website.

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