How much of your time is Screen Time? (2024)

Most of us will have received the dreaded Screen Time notification telling us how much time we’ve spent on our phones in the last week.

Research has revealed that in 2020 the average adult spent three hours a day on social media, in comparison to only 90 minutes in 2012. Further research has shown that spending too much time on your mobile phone can contribute to mental health issues.

We have looked into what percentage of our lives we spend glued to the screen and what effects this can have on our wellbeing.

UK adults spend half of every day in front of a screen

How much of your time is Screen Time? (1)

Chart showing the gender split on social media

While social media isn’t new (remember Myspace and Bebo?) the UK’s addiction to the platforms really took hold over the last decade. The decade that brought us Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat amongst others.

Our study reveals that in 2010, 51% of males and 56% of females aged between 16 - 24 had created at least one social media account. In comparison, in 2019 78% of males and 86% of females of the same age had a social media profile. The growth in these percentages demonstrates the younger generations' reliance on social media media that has become a staple in everyday life.

Social media has become a vital means of staying connected, whether we’re communicating on Facebook Messenger or using Tinder and Hinge to meet new people. These days, most new conversations don’t start by picking up the phone for a call, instead asking someone for their Instagram or Snapchat handle.

How much of your time is Screen Time? (2)

Infographic showing the average screen time per day

Our study reveals that the average UK citizen spends up to 6.4 hours a day on the internet using any device, which is nearly the same amount of time as an average shift at work. In addition, the study shows that UK adults spend on average four hours a day watching TV, which is 1,350 hours per year! UK adults spend almost half of the day in front of the screen, browsing the internet and watching television.

In addition, we spend 1.8 hours a day on social media and 1.3 hours listening to music, totalling that UK adults are spending on average 4,542 hours in front of a screen each year.

Brits watch nearly 1,000 hours of TV every year

How much of your time is Screen Time? (3)

Infographic showing the average adult daily screen time per platform

Sitting in front of the TV watching the news or the latest soap has been a staple in British culture since the 1950s. From live TV, streaming, gaming and YouTube to watching on demand, there are so many ways we consume television.

Despite the growth in streaming, live TV still holds its weight against the big streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Our data reveals that Brits spend up to 21 hours a week watching live TV, which is equivalent to 997 hours a year!

A 2017 study from TV Licensing found the main public service broadcast channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV/ STV/UTV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) held half of the total broadcast TV audience despite the growing list of choices consumers have today.

In second place is streaming, with UK adults spending 71 minutes per day using SVod services, equivalent to 398 hours per year. The TV Licensing study also found that in 2016 BBC iPlayer was the most popular streaming service among adults, with 61% of respondents saying they use it.

The study also revealed that 38% of respondents watched YouTube, with UK adults spending 48 minutes per day on the site - that’s 269 hours a year. Time spent watching YouTube has surpassed more traditional mediums, such as recorded playback and DVDs.

Americans spend on average 325 hours a year on Facebook

How much of your time is Screen Time? (4)

Infographic showing the average daily screen time per app

Social networks have revolutionised how we communicate with one another. Long gone are the days where you would need a landline or Yellow Pages to communicate. 85% of Americans have a smartphone with its main use to communicate through social media apps.

The study reveals that Americans are spending 35 minutes on average a day using social media, which is 195 hours a year. The biggest culprit in grabbing American’s attention is Facebook, with US users spending on average 58 minutes a day on the app, which is 325 hours a year!

Coming in at second is Instagram. The image sharing network is popular amongst Gen-Z and it’s not hard to see why so many Americans get sucked into scrolling through their feed for extensive periods of time. Americans are spending up to 53 minutes a day on these apps, which is equivalent to up to 297 hours a year.

We might not pay close attention to how much time we spend scrolling on our phones due to the endless news feeds that apps have today. But studies have shown that screen time releases dopamine to the brain which can negatively affect impulse control and, make screen time very addictive.

How much of your time is Screen Time? (5)

Person watching Netflix with their feet up

With access to thousands of TV shows and movies ready to binge at our fingertips, research reveals that 74% of Americans are signed up to a streaming service. While we might think we’re paying attention to the latest episode of Stranger Things or true crime drama, many of us are often scrolling on our phones at the same time.

Our study shows that Americans are spending similar amounts of time watching TV (3.29 hours) and on their mobile (3.49 hours) per day. According to Neilsen, many use their mobiles as an extension of entertainment. 71% of subjects from Neilsen’s study said they used their smartphone to find out more information about what they’re watching, 41% said they use devices to send messages about what they're watching, and 28% said they used social-media apps to read and write posts during the show.

Our study also revealed which American states spend the most time on screens, with Arizona coming in first place with an average of 4.6 hours per day or 1,546 hours per year. This is closely followed by Connecticut and Nevada with 4.4 hours per day, equivalent to four episodes of Game of Thrones or 12 episodes of The Simpsons. The state with the lowest screen time was Alabama whose residents consumed only 1.8 hours a day, followed by Vermont (2.1 hours) and Oklahoma (2.2 hours).

Gen-Z are spending a shocking nine hours per day in front of a screen

How much of your time is Screen Time? (6)

Person looking at apps on phone screen

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has gained one billion active users and is one of the most popular apps amongst Gen-Z. Our study reveals that its users are predominantly the ages 13-17 (6.8%), 18-24 (25.30%) and 25-34 (30.90%).

Facebook has seen a decline in users over the past few years especially in the younger demographic, with studies showing that 65% of Gen-Z check Instagram on a daily basis in comparison to 35% who do the same on Facebook. The younger generation is gravitating towards apps like Instagram and TikTok, as they allow them to be more creative and express themselves. Facebook is often seen as the place you’ll find your parents.

Our study has revealed that kids aged between 5-16 are spending up to nine hours a day in front of screens. A report by Commonsense Media revealed that the percentage of Gen-Z who say they watch online videos every day has more than doubled since 2015, from 24% to 56% among 8-12 year olds, and from 34% to 69% among 13-18 year olds.

Despite the boom in television content, the study reveals that tweens and teens are spending less time watching TV on a traditional television set. The percentage who say they enjoy watching TV has dropped from 61% to 50% among tweens, and from 45% to 33% for teens, over the past four years. Our study reveals that kids are spending the same amount of time on the internet as they are watching television, which suggests that they are doing this simultaneously.

Too much screen time can have effects on mental and physical health

How much of your time is Screen Time? (7)

MacBook on unmade bed

While we might enjoy watching the latest vlog, calling friends on FaceTime or posting to Instagram, spending too much time staring at a screen does have a downside. There is a big correlation between screen time and its effects on health.

Too much time in front of the screen can have adverse health effects, from weight gain and poor sleep to increased susceptibility to certain diseases. The increase in screen time goes hand in hand with sedentary behaviour, which in turn could lead to poorer physical health and wellbeing. In addition, the constant use of screens has a negative effect on sleep for children and young people, which is vital for good wellbeing and health.

Numerous studies reveal that extensive periods of screen time can lead to depression and anxiety. With the growth of social media apps comes unrealistic standards that are portrayed on these apps to show the “perfect” life. These comparisons can lead to negative thoughts, low self esteem and confidence issues. Studies have shown that adults who watched TV or used a computer for more than six hours per day were more likely to experience moderate to severe depression.

Tips to reduce your screen time

While many might be conscious of how much time they’re spending in front of screens thanks to Screen Time notifications, being surrounded by constant entertainment is addictive. Here are some tips to help reduce your screen time and its effects:

  • Go easy on the eyes and turn on dark mode.

  • Make a note of how much time you’re spending in front of a screen and make a consistent effort to reduce your screen time. This can be done by implementing a no phones before bed rule, setting a time limit on social media apps through your phones settings so you can’t access them or going on a walk at lunch time rather than scrolling.

  • Take on a new hobby, whether you’ve always wanted to become the next Bob Ross at painting or you’d like to try out a new fitness class at the gym, it’s the perfect way to get away from the screen for an hour.

  • Take a digital detox by substituting your usual binge watching with spending more time with friends or getting creative in the kitchen.


Using data collated from OfCom, Statista, NHSGGC and Broadband Search, we’ve looked into the percentage of our time spent in front of screens and what effects this can have on wellbeing.

All data is correct as of 2 June 2021.

How much of your time is Screen Time? (2024)


How much of your time is Screen Time? ›

The average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes looking at a screen each day. Worldwide, the average user spends 2 hours and 51 minutes looking at their computer screens and 3 hours and 46 minutes looking at their mobiles.

Is 7 hours screen time bad? ›

This time spent sitting and viewing a screen has been linked to mental health effects such as anxiety and depression. Adults who spend six hours or greater using screen time are more likely to suffer from moderate to severe depression.

Is 12 hour screen time a lot? ›

Many adults spend hours in front of a screen each day at work. For a healthy balance, try to limit your screen time outside of work. Adults should try to limit total screen time to eight hours a day for work plus two to four hours for entertainment.

How many hours of screen time is average? ›

According to our extensive research: The average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes staring at a screen per day. Globally, the average screen time per day is 6 hours 58 minutes. Americans spend an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes on their phone per day.

What is the average screen time for a 20 year old? ›

1) Young adults aged 16 to 24 years spend the most amount of daily screen time. Adults aged 16 to 24 years spend about 4.99 hours of average screen time daily. Adults aged 25 to 34 years spend about 4.96 hours. Adults aged 35 to 44 years spend about 4.64 hours.

Is 10 hours of screen time ok? ›

What's a healthy amount of screen time for adults? Experts say adults should limit screen time outside of work to less than two hours per day. Any time beyond that which you would typically spend on screens should instead be spent participating in physical activity.

What should a 13 year old screen time be? ›

For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended no more than two hours of screen time for children and teenagers, and absolutely no screen time for children under 2.

How do I lower my screen time? ›

Tips for reducing screen time
  1. Be accountable. Set expectations with your kids, and create goals to be intentional about reducing screen time. ...
  2. Be realistic. ...
  3. Be engaged. ...
  4. Put hand-held devices away. ...
  5. Create phone-free zones in the home. ...
  6. Go outside.
Apr 17, 2023

How much screen time by age? ›

Between 18 and 24 months screen time should be limited to watching educational programming with a caregiver. For children 2-5, limit non-educational screen time to about 1 hour per weekday and 3 hours on the weekend days. For ages 6 and older, encourage healthy habits and limit activities that include screens.

Does TV count as screen time? ›

"Screen time" is a term used for activities done in front of a screen, such as watching TV, working on a computer, or playing video games. Screen time is a sedentary activity, meaning you are being physically inactive while sitting down. Very little energy is used during screen time.

What age has the most screen time? ›

To break that down further, children ages 8-10 spend around 6 hours per day in front of a screen. That number increases with age, as children 11-14 spend about 9 hours a day on screens, and teenagers 15-18 have an average screen time of 7.5 hours.

What is the average screen time in Japan? ›

Surprisingly, despite Japan's love for all things gaming and technology, it ranked the lowest of any country in the study at an average of 21.7%, or 3 hours 45 minutes per day with screens.

How much time does Gen Z spend on screens? ›

Generation Z, on average, spends up to 9 hours of screen time per day.

How much screen time is ok for a 14 year old? ›

Yousuf said pediatricians generally recommend the following guidelines: Under 2 years old: Zero screen time, except for video chatting with family or friends. 2-5 years old: No more than one hour per day co-viewing with a parent or sibling. 5-17 years old: Generally no more than two hours per day, except for homework.

How long should a 17 year old have screen time? ›

The Australian Government Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended a limit of 2 hours per day of sedentary, recreational screen time outside of school hours for teenagers.

Which gender spends more time on their phone? ›

Women spend two more hours each day on their phone than men, according to a study from the Journal of Behavioral Addictions. According to the results, men and women not only differ on what applications they spend more time on, the study also revealed that overall women spend more time on their phones than men.

Is 7 hours on phone too much? ›

Staying on your phone for 6, 7 or 8 hours a day can have negative effects on your health, including: Eye strain and d.

How bad is 8 hours of screen time a day? ›

Sitting for hours at a time boosts the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. One study found that spending more than four hours a day in front of a computer or TV more than doubles your likelihood of dying or being hospitalized for heart disease — and exercise won't reduce the risk.

Is 8 hours of screen time bad for kids? ›

Recommended time limits

Under 2 years old: Zero screen time, except for video chatting with family or friends. 2-5 years old: No more than one hour per day co-viewing with a parent or sibling. 5-17 years old: Generally no more than two hours per day, except for homework.

What should a 15 year old screen time be? ›

An average teenager spends around 7 hours and 22 minutes per day on the phone, whereas recommended screen time is set at no more than two hours max. Even tweens use their smartphones too much at 4 hours and 44 minutes per day.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated:

Views: 6185

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.