The participants reported that they engaged in multi-screen viewing and further analysis indicated that this overall theme could be divided into: a) the forms of multi-screen viewing and the reasons for engaging in the behaviour; b) where multi-screen viewing took place, and the reasons for choosing that location; and c) when multi-screen viewing took place. Each sub-theme is presented below.
a) Multi screen-viewing forms and reasons for engaging in the behaviour
A number of children reported watching TV and using a laptop at the same time. For some children these dual behaviours were engaged in because the child was bored during TV commercials.
"I watch TV and then I get bored with all the adverts so I get my laptop and start going on it and then when the show comes back on it I watch it, and then when it's the adverts I play on my laptop" (Female).
"So it's nice just when you're tired just to lounge back and watch the TV and then when it's adverts you just watch something else like YouTube" (Female)
For many children the TV was just used as a method of filling time while they waited for a game to load on the laptop:
"I was going to say if I am on the laptop, if like something is loading on the laptop I would watch TV while it is loading" (Male)
"When the computer is loading and a games takes ... and it's like 1%, 2% and it needs to get to 100% and it's loading for a long time then I just turn the TV on because I'm quite impatient" (Female)
Children reported occasions when the TV was on but the programme was predominantly being watched by another family member. In these instances, TV viewing was a background behaviour with the majority of the attention focussed towards the laptop:
"So he [father] was watching that and I just didn't want to watch it so I picked up my laptop and started going on my laptop, because I don't like [motoring programme] so you do something else" (Female)
Finally, the children also reported using a laptop while watching TV as it enabled the children to do two things at once.
"I think it's because I'm really eager to do both things, like when you're watching TV, I like to go and watch TV but I also really want to do something else on the computer at the same time" (Male)
"You might be watching like your favourite TV programme and if you were playing on something at the same time you might like ... say you were on a game and it seems to you that it's really important, like you've got to complete the levels so you've got to watch it at the same time" (Female)
It was also clear that multi-screen-viewing occurred using a TV and a handheld console because either the child was not particularly interested in the TV programme that someone else was watching or the handheld was used to fill time during commercial breaks.
"Sometimes I DS while my parents are watching the news or while my brother is watching something like [TV programme] or something like that" (Female)
"Yes on TV while I am waiting, while the adverts are going I just sometimes get a DS out or something" (Male)
"I can't be bothered to change the channel so I just play on my DS" (Male)
Participants reported using mobile phones while either watching TV or using a computer. In these instances the phone use was either a function of responding to incoming calls and texts while engaged in TV viewing or a desire to engage in two behaviours at once.
"Sometimes I do two things because like when somebody texts me and I text them back. It's like when the computer is loading again I just text somebody" (Male)
"I sometimes like watch the TV and go on my laptop, or like go on my phone and watch the TV." (Female)
Similarly, handheld devices were often used as methods to fill time and address boredom when using a laptop.
"Sometimes I go on my DS or something when a game is loading or something on my laptop... because I don't like waiting, I'm very impatient." (Male)
Although the majority of the participants reported that they engaged in multi-screen viewing, and overall there were positive attitudes towards multi-screen viewing, there were a few female participants who did not enjoy or engage in multi-screen viewing.
"It is easier to concentrate on one thing rather than, like, two things. Because if I try and do two things at once, I can't concentrate on what I'm doing" (Female)
"Well, I don't really do two screen things. I wouldn't use a DS or anything, I'd read" (Female).
b) Multi screen-viewing location and reasons for location selection
The participants reported that multi-screen viewing occurred either in their bedroom or in the main living area of the home. The bedroom was the most frequently reported location for multi-screen viewing and this location was often selected because it was perceived as a quiet space that afforded privacy from siblings and adults.
"In my bedroom I do the TV, the laptop and the music because that's my own place and I just relax in there so it's usually there" (Male)
"Mostly I do it in my bedroom because I like, having conversations with my friends and watching TV in private" (Female)
"I normally go upstairs, it's more like there's loads of people downstairs so it's somewhere quieter in my bedroom" (Male)
The bedroom was also often used for multi-screen viewing because it was the room where the screen viewing equipment was stored.
"I have a laptop in my bedroom and I have a TV in my bedroom and a DS and iPod and everything" (Male)
"In my room, because I've got a telly, a laptop and all the games consoles in my room apart from the Wii, which is downstairs" (Female)
The main family area was the other frequently reported location for multi-screen viewing with this location selected because of the location of the equipment, the comfortable nature of the surroundings and the opportunity to spend time with other family members.
"Well at my mum's I'd mostly be downstairs on the Xbox, but at my dad's I'm normally downstairs because he's got a 32" flat screen telly on the wall so I just like chill out and just watch TV" (Male)
"I go in the living room because it is like really relaxing...you have got like the windows open, the sun is coming in and it is just nice and pleasant" (Male)
"I would normally do it downstairs because it is with family" (Female)
"And like in the living room it is nice to have a bit of company sometimes" (Female)