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What's the Average Screen Time for Adults (and What's Healthy?)

By drips.ai team · 8 min read

Last Updated on May 29, 2023

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How Much Screen Time is Too Much for Adults?

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In a world that's heavily reliant on technology, it's important to take a moment and reflect on how much time we spend on our screens. With most people spending an average of 7 hours per day with screens connected to the internet, it's important to understand the impact this enormous amount of screen time can have on our mental and physical health.

In this blog post, we will explore the latest data on average screen time for adults. We will take a closer look at average screen time by age, the warning signs of too much screen time, healthy screen time, and the average screen time for different devices. By the end of this post, we hope to provide entrepreneurs with a better understanding of the effects of excessive screen time and offer actionable steps to reduce screen time and improve overall well-being.

Overview of Average Screen Time

According to the latest data available, the average person spends 6 hours and 58 minutes per day on screens connected to the internet, which accounts for almost 30% of our entire day spent staring at screens. This figure has seen a 1% increase since 2021, and when extrapolated across all global internet users, it amounts to more than 5 billion days spent with screens.

The rise of technology and its necessary usage for entertainment and work have caused a significant increase in screen time, affecting people's daily lives. While it's true that technological advancements have brought the potential to be productive and enhance communication, the issue of screen time affecting health has become a considerably important one to address.

Excessive screen time can lead to severe health issues, such as eye strain, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, and physical pain in the neck and back regions. The section below delves into these concerns in-depth.

Average Screen Time by Age

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Age plays a crucial factor in determining an individual's daily screen time. Research has found that teens in the United States spend over 9 hours per day, almost half of their waking hours, on screens. This figure is almost 30% more than the average time spent by US adults on screens.

It's interesting to note that the average screen time tends to decrease the older people get. Millennials, or those in the age range of 25 to 40 years, have an average of 205 minutes per day. Gen X and Boomers, those aged 41 to 75 years, average between 145 to 169 minutes per day.

The decrease in screen time with age can be due to various factors, including reduced workload, social media involvement, and a heightened desire for real-life interactions. This indicates that there is indeed a difference in screen time usage and dependency across generations that should be considered by entrepreneurs. Despite this decreasing trend, the average screen time for each age group still exceeds healthy recommendations, highlighting the need to take necessary action such as those discussed in the subsequent sections.

Alarming Average Screen Time Statistics (2023)

The alarming rise of screen time is becoming more of a concern each year. In the United States, the average screen time is just under 7 hours per day, with Gen Z spending the most time on screens, averaging around 7 hours per day. Both these figures have seen a steady increase over recent years, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Moreover, research suggests that spending too much time on screens can lead to a variety of health concerns. For instance, excessive screen time increases the risk of developing eye strain, neck and back pain, headaches, and poor sleep quality, among other issues. The effects of excessive screen time can also manifest themselves in our mental health, causing anxiety and depression.

There has also been a concern about children's screen time. A survey conducted in 2021 found that one in five parents of children aged between 2 and 5 years said their children used screens for at least three hours every day. These findings indicate that efforts to curb excessive screen time must start at an early age, considering that children's excessive screen time is detrimental to their social, emotional, and cognitive development.

The following section focuses on ways on how to maintain healthy screen time and reduce the potential negative effects of excessive screen time.

Healthy Screen Time

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While it's difficult to check the total duration of screen time per day with technology working as an inseparable part of our lives, it is essential to encourage healthy screen time habits. Research has shown that someone should typically spend at least three to four hours a day entirely detached from screens to reduce the potential negative effects.

The idea of healthy screen time is about maintaining a balance between screen use and other activities. It's essential to recognize that not all screen time is created equal, meaning different activities on screens have varying mental, physical, or educational benefits.

For example, using devices for leisure activities like playing video games or watching videos is known to promote sedentary or inactive behavior. Sedentary behavior, in turn, is known to increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases. Contrarily, using screens for educational purposes has been noted to improve mental function and cognitive ability.

Therefore, entrepreneurs could promote healthy screen time by encouraging their employees or themselves to participate in physical activities, take breaks, and enhance mental wellness through hobbies and outdoor activities.

The next section focuses on warning signs of too much screen time.

Warning Signs of Too Much Screen Time for Adults

When one spends too much time in front of screens, it leads to physical and mental health issues. Here are some of the most common warning signs of excessive screen time:

  • Neck pain: Poor posture while using screens for an extended duration can cause pain in the neck and shoulders.

  • Back pain: It's common to suffer from lower back pain after sitting for long hours on your computer.

  • Headaches: Staring at screens for extended periods can lead to eye strain and headaches.

  • Eye strain: Continuously staring at screens can cause dry eyes, red eyes, eyestrain, and increased sensitivity to light.

  • Difficulty sleeping: Exposure to blue light from screens can interfere with our circadian rhythm, making it difficult to fall asleep at night.

  • Anxiety and depression: Studies suggest that excessive screen time can lead to anxiety, depression, and other psychological problems.

Entrepreneurs should be mindful of these warning signs and encourage their employees to frequently take breaks and stretch to relieve tension, hold meetings in well-lit environments, and consider providing blue light filters for employees using devices for extended periods.

How to Stay Healthy

Now that we understand the impact of excessive screen time on our health, it's essential to explore ways to maintain healthy screen time habits. Here are a few recommendations on how to stay healthy:

Take Frequent Breaks Every Hour: It's crucial to take breaks every hour to prevent physical and mental strain. You can use the Pomodoro technique, which involves working for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break.

Use a Blue Light Filter: Blue light emitted from screens can interfere with our circadian rhythm, so it's important to use a blue light filter. This can be integrated into the device's operating system or installed as a separate application.

Reduce Screen Time Before Bed: It's advisable to reduce screen time before going to bed as it can disrupt our sleep patterns. Experts suggest refraining from using screens an hour before bedtime.

Exercise Regularly: Engaging in physical activity can help counteract the adverse effects of excessive screen time. 30 minutes of moderate activity per day can help reduce the risk of obesity and other health issues.

Develop Good Sleep Hygiene: Good sleep hygiene includes following a regular sleep schedule, avoiding the use of screens before bed, and creating a relaxing environment conducive to sleep.

Entrepreneurs can promote healthy screen time habits by encouraging their employees to take breaks, exercise, and follow good sleep hygiene guidelines. Additionally, monitoring screen time usage and encouraging participation in other activities can help strike a healthy balance between being connected and maintaining good health.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored the latest data on average screen time and its potential effects on our mental and physical health. We found that excessive screen time can lead to various health concerns such as eye strain, neck and back pain, anxiety, and depression. By adhering to healthy screen time habits such as taking regular breaks, reducing screen time before bed, and engaging in physical activity, we can reduce the potential negative effects of excessive screen time.

As an entrepreneur, it's essential to encourage healthy screen time habits in your employees, promote physical activity, and create a supportive work environment that prioritizes mental and physical well-being. With this, we can help reduce the impact of excessive screen time and create a healthy work-life balance.