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The study looked at computer usage throughout the day in the workplace and at home.

The study shows that computer use begins in large numbers at the start of the work day at 8 a.m., dips during the lunch hour and increases from 1 to 5 p.m. Working adults ages 25 to 64 used computers the most.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

MUNCIE, Ind. — The average American spends more time in front of the computer than any other electronic media with the exception of television, and the computer has become a focal point in most workplaces, says a new report from Ball State University.

“The Computer: A Medium for All Reasons,” the latest report from the Center for Media Design (CMD), explores computer-based media usage throughout the day in the workplace and at home.

Not surprisingly, the report finds people tend to use computers most during traditional work hours, said Robert Papper, a telecommunications professor and member of CMD’s research team.

“Computer use begins in large numbers at the beginning of the work day at 8 a.m., dips during the lunch hour and comes back up from 1 to 5 p.m.,” he said. “It then trails off dramatically as people go home to watch television.”

The study also found computer use is higher during the typical Monday through Friday work week rather than weekends.

“While well over half of all media use is in the home, more than two-thirds of all computer use is at work,” Papper said. “As in real estate, location is almost everything in media use. The television dominates at home, radio dominates the car and the computer dominates the workplace. Every category of computer use was higher at work than at home.”

The research in the computer usage report is based on analysis of data collected for the Middletown Media Studies 2 project, in which observers shadowed 350 people from Muncie and Indianapolis for an entire day, recording their media use and life activities, including work, child care and meal preparation.

Other key findings of the report:

· Computer users spent 55.9 percent of time online as compared to 44.1 percent of their time using software. While online, 54.8 percent used Internet browsers while 37.7 percent accessed e-mail programs and 7.6 percent used instant messaging.

· People use the Web for primarily information browsing and searching.

· Participants with dial-up connections at home accessed the Internet more often and spent slightly more time online at home than users with broadband access.

· Working adults ages 25 to 64 had higher rates of computer usage than young people between the ages of 18 to 24. People older than 65 had the lowest rates of computer use.

· About 40 percent of young adults (ages 18-24) did not use a computer during the observed day, preferring to log on late at night.

· There were no significant gender differences in computer use. Men averaged 137.3 minutes per day, and women spent an average of 134.2 minutes per day on the computer.

· Participants with a high school education or less used the computer less than all other education groups. Computer usage increased as income level increased.

Papper noted that one of the biggest surprises in this report is that, at home, broadband users did not spend more time on the Internet than dial-up users.

“Obviously, broadband makes Web use faster, but people appear to be using that speed for efficiency rather than to spend more time online,” he said. “Broadband and dial-up users averaged around 1.5 hours a day online at home. This similarity could be explained by ergonomics. Maybe there’s a limit to how much time people are willing to spend in front of a computer screen.”

Mike Bloxham, CMD’s director of insight and research, said the study clearly showed how the computer has blurred the lines between work and home, and perhaps between work and play.

Researchers found that more than 22.3 percent of online computer use and 44.3 percent of software use at home was work related. At the same time, however, more than 44.2 percent of online computer use at work did not appear to be work related.

“It is a device used for work, communications, accessing information, and learning — and it is increasingly used for entertainment,” he said. “It has managed to achieve this in a relatively short period of time of about 20 years. This is a noteworthy achievement for a new device in the average office and home.”

More information about how to purchase the report and other CMD research is available at

Ball State University, located one hour northeast of Indianapolis in Muncie, Ind., is the third-largest public university in Indiana, with more than 17,700 students.

The Center for Media Design (CMD) is a research and development facility focused on the creation, testing and practical application of digital technologies for business, classroom, home and community.

Middletown Media Studies 2 (MMS2) builds upon Muncie’s reputation as “Middletown America,” a typical community in the United States. Muncie earned this distinction as a result of the Middletown Studies of the 1920s and ’30s by sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd. MMS2 is a follow-up to a 2004 study that found people consume much more media than they say they do.

Source: Ball State University