The US has become a multimedia world, with its citizens spending more time tied to electrical gadgets than any other activity, new research shows.

The emergence of this digital world is clarified by figures from Ball State University, which describes a world where using gadgets is the dominant activity.

Researchers tracked the behaviour of 400 ordinary people across several months to reach the conclusion. Recording information every 15 seconds, researchers measured participants' use of 15 media including television, books, magazines, mobile phones, the Internet, instant messaging, email and radio.

Consumers or creators?

"As a society, we are consumers of media. The average person spends about nine hours a day using some type of media, which is arguably in excess of anything we would have envisioned 10 years ago," said researcher Robert Papper.

About 30 per cent of the observed waking day was spent with media as the sole activity versus 20.8 per cent for work activity, while an additional 39 per cent of the day was spent with media while involved in some other activity, the research showed.

While TV remains the dominant medium in terms of the time average US Americans spend daily with media at 240.9 minutes, the computer has emerged as the second most significant media device at about 120 minutes.

About 30 per cent of all media time is spent exposed to more than one medium at a time. Use of the Web, email and phones is higher on Fridays than any other day of the week.

Disposable Heroes

"Television is still the 800-pound gorilla because of how much the average person is exposed to it," Papper said. "However, that is quickly evolving. When we combine time spent on the Web, using email, instant messaging and software such as word processing, the computer eclipses all other media with the single exception of television."