Staff Reporters
Dec 8, 2011

50 per cent of urban Malaysians stare more at screens than at their loved ones: OMD & Pulse

KUALA LUMPUR – The average four-member urban household in Malaysia has four mobile phones, three computers, two TVs, an MP3 player, and an iPad or GPS navigator. The more the screens, the more attached the consumers are to their devices, according to a study by OMD Malaysia and Pulse Group.

The average Malaysian urban household has 10 screens
The average Malaysian urban household has 10 screens

The online survey gathered opinions and views from 304 Malaysians across Peninsular and East Malaysia in early November.

 “It is not uncommon to see people using their mobile devices all the time these days; couples playing on their individual phones while eating out, parents pacifying kids with iPad or gaming devices on dining tables. It has come to an age that we do not consume media, but the media consume us,” said Andreas Vogiatzakis, managing director of Omnicom Media.

While 58 per cent of the respondents still considered TV as the shared ‘screen’, only 8 per cent are attached to it. The other 92 per cent have given their hearts to other personal devices with more than half surveyed admitting to spending more time staring at a screen than the faces of their loved ones. Almost six in 10 speak more often through a screen than via face-to-face communication.

“Relationships could suffer. This has prompted us to look into the matter, trying to understand the relationship that we have developed with the devices and to gauge the impact they have on our relationships,” said Bob Chua, CEO of Pulse Group PLC.

Mobile phones get the most attention. More than four in 10 can’t go 30 minutes without checking it, for 47 per cent of those surveyed, the first and last thing they saw everyday was their mobile phone. Some (15 per cent) even wake up just to check for incoming messages.

However, relationships may not be suffering. Almost 60 per cent claim to have better family relationships because of their devices – thanks mostly to SMS and instant messaging (63 per cent) and Facebooking (57 per cent).

Social media seems to be the glue holding it all together. Over 80 per cent said they learn about social happenings, and have become more aware, thanks to social media. For example, almost half are likely to support a cause, movement or petition raised through social networks.

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