A new survey has found that, given a choice of what to do with their spare time, the majority of 16 to 24 year olds say they would prefer to use social media than watch TV.
The survey, carried out by polling group, Opinion Matters, found that engaging with social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, ranked as the most popular pastime for 65% of this age group. Watching TV was ranked second-most popular at 54%.
According to the survey, social media usage also plays a significant part in the spare time activity of other age groups. For 25 to 34 year olds, the percentage preferring to use social media sites matched that for those saying they would rather watch TV. For the over 55s, social media usage was the preferred activity among 32% of respondents.
Other findings from the survey, which was based on interviews with 1300 people across the UK, included the fact that as long as three hours per day can be taken up with social media activity; and that mobile technology means that users are not inhibited by location, with sex shops, courts and operating tables among the place cited where social media have been used.
Interestingly, the survey also revealed that for 37% of 16 to 24 year olds, watching TV and using social media simultaneously was a preferred pastime; suggesting for some commentators the possibility that the two technologies might in future find ways to benefit each other mutually through joint initiatives.