Screen Time Statistics: Your Smartphone Is Hurting You

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If you’re like most people, your smartphone is the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing you check before you sleep. 

You also pick it up several times during the day either in a bid to find out what your friends are up to, to get your mind off a stressful project, to feel better about your overflowing inbox, or to rid yourself of boredom in the toilet.

But, not all the time you spend on your phone is hurting you, of course. Phones can help you stay connected with family far away, can help you track your productivity each day, and can also help you stay informed about everything, from the upcoming elections to the Kardashians. 

But it’s no secret that sometimes (or, most of the time) your smartphone can affect your productivity. Notification beeps can hinder your focus, social comparison on social media can make you feel shoddy about your own life, and did you see how Khloe celebrated her daughter’s birthday during the quarantine? Ugh.

Knowing how much and how often you use your devices can help you gain valuable insights into your digital well-being and practice self-care.

So, how much phone time are you exposing yourself to during a workday (especially, considering you might be working from home right now)?

Let’s look at a few screen time statistics to find out.

Table of Contents

  1. How Much Time Does The Average Person Spend On Their Phone?
  2. Phone Addiction: How Often Do We Check Our Phones?
  3. COVID-19 And ScreenTime
  4. How To Reduce Your Average Screen Time?
  5. Final Thoughts

How Much Time Does The Average Person Spend On Their Phone?

Whether you’re looking for iPhone screen time or android screen time, here are a few statistics on screen time to answer your questions.

1. A study of 11k RescueTime users found that people spend around 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on phones.

Let’s spread out geographically and look at the amount of time spent by people from different countries.

2. As per eMarketer, the average US adult spends 3 hours and 43 minutes on their mobile devices.

TV and Mobile Devices: Average Time spent in the US screentime stats

That’s roughly 50 days a year.

3. And the average screen time in the UK stands at 3 hours 23 minutes per day as per CodeComputerLove.

But averages can be tricky, so let’s read more into these numbers.

Phone Addiction: How Often Do We Check Our Phones?

4. The data of 11,000 RescueTime users shows that the top 20% of smartphone users spend more than 4.5 hours on their phones during weekdays. 

While we are at it, the average person spends more time on their phone during their weekday than they do during weekends. 

But, how does it matter how much time we’re spending on our phones? Maybe it’s because we’re catching up on a new season of a Netflix show. It’s not during work hours when someone compulsively uses their smartphone, you know. 

Well, I’m glad you asked. 

5. Most people check their phones 58 times a day. Thirty of those times are during work hours.

So, no, your total screen time is not impacting your efficiency, it’s how often you are picking up your phone and getting distracted. 

On average, we pick up our phones - screentime stats

If you think it doesn’t matter how many times you pick up your phone, think again. 

6. Most people spend roughly 1 minute 15 seconds on their phone once they pick it up. And we pick our phones up roughly every 1 hour and 43 minutes. 

From a lower-end estimate, this equates to losing 37.5 minutes a day during working hours to your smartphone.

7. 70% of the phone-pick-up sessions are less than 2 minutes in length. But they can start a chain reaction. 50% of screen time sessions start within 3 minutes of the previous one.

A single pickup can set off a chain reaction

But, why does it even matter?

The act of compulsive checking can be hazardous to our productivity. 

8. According to a study by the University of California Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the deep focus you had on a task once you have been distracted. 

9. AMA found that even brief mental blocks can cause you to lose as much as 40% of your productive time. 

If you think most of the time you spend on your phone is done doing “productive” activities, the in-depth study by CodeComputerLove will prove otherwise.

What do you use your phone for? screentime stats

Don’t start blaming the Millenials just yet. It’s not just them who are addicted to their phones. 

10. In its US users’ screen time statistics, Apple found, Gen X spends 169 minutes on their phone per day and Baby Boomers spend 136 minutes.

Comparing the screen time

11. While it might seem like a significant difference when taken per day, each generation spends over a month on their phone per year.

So, no one is immune to the harmful effects our smartphones have on our mental health and productivity. And the coronavirus has only made things worse.

COVID-19 And ScreenTime

12. Study by eMarketer has found that owing to the pandemic, electronic device usage nearly doubled among kids in the US.

US Children/teens in COVID 19

13. According to another study by OLX India, screen time was up by 100% for children during the lockdown. 

14. A study conducted in China found that about 70% of the 1033 participants spent more time looking at screens after the COVID-19 outbreak. 

15. Another study, examining the effects of COVID-19 on adolescents and young adults, found that the average screentime has increased from 3.5 hours to 5.1 hours. 

16. A study published in Cambridge Open Engage collected data from more than 3,000 Iowa State University faculty, staff, students, and alumni located all over the country from April 3 to 7 and found that screentime had increased by 20-30% on average during the crisis. 

Since the crisis and our screens aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, it is by taking control of our digital well-being that we can use screens to our advantage.

How To Reduce Your Average Screen Time?

Here are some quick steps to reduce your average screen time and get more work and productivity out of every day.

Track your screen time: You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Thankfully, there are many tools like RescueTime and Time Doctor that can help you monitor you screen time and even block distracting websites. 

Do a smartphone cleanse: Delete apps you don’t truly use or get benefit from. You do not need social media apps on your phone. While we are at a smartphone cleanse, maintain a minimalist home screen. Only let the frequently needed apps remain. By retaining the minimum, you will not get sucked into the scrolling rabbit hole.

Set your screen to appear monochrome during work hours: It is shocking how much the colors keep us glued in. Instagram wouldn’t seem so pretty if all was in black and white. Facebook would lose its appeal with the loss of color. Turn on your phone’s grayscale mode when you work.

Turn off your phone’s notifications: Most of the things which grab your attention can wait. If you answer a particular text a little late, no one will mind. The email can wait until later too. It’s the red dot and buzz which kill your flow and focus. You can open them when you have the time – and respond at your own pace.

Allot times for no devices: Spend an hour or two each day or week where you don’t check your phone or any other device. During the time you set aside, you could cook, read, write, walk, nap – do anything except checking your phone. You won’t miss much in an hour, but your mind will feel brand new.

Fix a time for checking your media platforms and your email: Organize your schedule with some social media time. During the allotted time, all you will do is check your accounts and reply to emails. Log the time into your calendar and stick to it. Your brain will adapt to checking them concurrently every day. You can also rid yourself of all the guilt caused by the frequent scrolling when you’re not supposed to.

Resist the temptation to check your phone during the first hour of morning and night: Screens disrupt your melatonin production, which in turn affects the quality of your sleep. Poor sleep quality will be evident in your mood, performance, and productivity. An hour before bedtime, put your phone away. 

Read a book, spend time with your family, tick items from your bucket list, journal (here are some writing prompts and a few things you can write about), go on a walk, or do some light yoga instead. In the morning, let Instagram or Facebook not be the first things you see. Develop a morning routine focused only on you. Enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, cook yourself a wholesome and healthy breakfast, or do some light stretching.

Final Thoughts

Screens aren’t completely awful. If used correctly, they can contribute more to our efficiency. The key is to not let them get the best of us. 

Understanding screen time and its effect on our work can take us a step closer to digital well-being.

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I'm a staff writer at Elite Content Marketer and a closet poet. When not whipping up high-quality SaaS content, I'm writing bookish essays on my website, rochizalani.com, and chatting with my newsletter community. She believes there’s nothing that can’t be cured by some fresh poetry and a F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode.

1 thought on “Screen Time Statistics: Your Smartphone Is Hurting You”

  1. I swear my eyes are always burning from too much screen time. It really takes a toll on you when your sitting 8 hours nonstop infront of a desk.

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