Political scientist: Increased screen time on phones, computers affect perceptions of news

Political scientist Michael Cornfield said Friday that increased screen time on phones and computers impacts users' perceptions of news. 

"We are on the verge of the big changeover in screen time," Cornfield, the research director of George Washington University's Global Center for Political Management, told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." "Sometime between now and 2020, more people will spend more time on their phones or in front of their computer screens than watching television, which is stunning."  

"People watch what used to be called 'broadcast,' and still sometimes is, or cable television and [now] they watch it through their phones," he continued. "You go for quick hits. You don't sit and watch for even as long as 10 minutes, and that affects your perceptions of reality, and of the people who are bringing you that reality." 

Research has shown a growing trend toward consuming news on mobile devices, especially among younger adults. 

A Pew Research Center study conducted last June found that 85 percent of adults get their news on mobile devices, compared to 72 percent in 2016.

The study also found that 77 percent of the 18- to 29-year-olds in the sample said they preferred to get their news from mobile devices. Seventy-two percent of 30- to 49-year-olds polled said the same, while 54 percent of those polled who were aged 50 to 64 and 44 percent of respondents aged 65 and older said they preferred to consume their news from a mobile device. 

— Julia Manchester