9 out of 10 of us now ‘second screeners’

second screeners
Nine in 10 Brits are avid ‘second screeners’ – using a phone or tablet while also watching TV. A study of 2,000 adults found that of those who are glued to another screen while watching a film or TV show, more than a quarter like to message others about what they are viewing.

Almost one in five (19 per cent) want to keep up to date with what others are saying about the programme on social media, while 29 per cent simply don’t want to miss any notifications.

The study, on behalf of mobile phone company Three, also found 44 per cent of adults said TV is a hot topic of conversation right now and they’ve spoken about it more than ever before during lockdown.

Similarly, 61 per cent admitted to watching more TV since the pandemic began.

The rules Brits implement when watching or discussing TV, include ‘don’t talk through important scenes’ (26 per cent) and ‘check where another person is in a series’ (17 per cent). Nearly one in five (18 per cent) also agree any discussion should wait until the end of an episode.

But a third of those polled via OnePoll have come across a spoiler on social media while 10 per cent have done so in group chats. Says etiquette expert William Hanson:

“Since March 2020 television has reverted to being a communal experience, shared between those with which we live or in our bubble.

“The news can be doom and gloom at the best of times and TV can offer much-needed escapism.

“Good manners are always about other people, so make sure you’re thinking of others when you settle down to watch the latest televisual offerings – whether it’s with phones, friends or family.”

William adds that Brits should also check where someone is in a series before giving away any spoilers and pressing pause if they want to discuss the plot. Additionally, a poker face should be adopted if you know what’s coming but others around you are watching for the first time.

Concludes Aislinn O’Connor from Three, which unveiled its top tips to celebrate its official sponsorship of Channel 4 series Gogglebox:

“Never before have we watched, or spoken about, TV as much as we have in the last year.

“And sharing those TV moments and recommendations with loved ones, means that our phones have helped to keep those sometimes funny, sometimes heart-warming connections going.”

Top 5 tips for TV etiquette 

1. Good connections – Using your phone while watching TV can enhance your TV viewing experience. Joining in group chats to share memes, ‘who dun it’ guesses or simply a witty running commentary, is proven to elevate our mood and feel closer to loved ones, whilst they can’t sit next to you.

2. Don’t be so bright – Turn your phone brightness down to a warm glow before your TV show or film begins. As notifications pop up on your phone – the sudden flash can startle both you and others. And, obviously, don’t forget to pop your phone on silent too.

3. Spoiler prevention – If you don’t want to see any accidental spoilers pop up on your phone during the TV show or film, try muting particular words, phrases or hashtags on social media – believe me, it will be your saviour.

4. Fact check tact – Thanks to the wonders of technology, big questions or historical fact-checking can be quickly answered by a search on your phone.  Press pause at a good moment, so you won’t miss anything vital. There is nothing worse than having to pause and rewind your TV show every five minutes.

5. Call me maybe (later) – If someone calls during a TV show, think of the other people in the room. Message as much as you like during a show, but if someone calls you during a crucial moment, send it to voicemail, let them know you are okay via text and say you’ll call them back shortly.

Chris Price