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Alarming Average Screen Time Statistics (2022)

by Josh Howarth
September 21, 2022

Screen time has become part of the fabric of everyday life for most.

And many do not realize just how much time they are dedicating to phone screens, computer screens, and TV screens.

With that in mind, we’ll explore the latest screen time data to reveal insights focused on these areas:

Average Screen Time Stats 2022

  • Globally, people average 6 hours 58 minutes of screen time per day.
  • Daily screen time has increased by nearly 50 minutes per day since 2013.
  • The average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes looking at a screen each day.
  • South Africans spend 10 hours and 46 minutes on screen per day.
  • Almost half (49%) of 0 to 2-year-olds interact with smartphones.
  • Gen Z averages around 9 hours of screen time per day.

Average Screen Time Overview

According to the latest available data, the average person spends 6 hours and 58 minutes per day on screens connected to the internet.

average-daily-screen-time-min.png

That’s a 1% (4 minutes) increase over 2021’s figure - equating to 5 billion+ days when extrapolated across all global internet users.

Overall, daily screen time is up 13% (49 minutes) since 2013.

Here’s a breakdown of the average internet-connected screen time since 2013:

Year Average Screen Time Change Over Previous Year
Q3 2013 6 hours 9 minutes -
Q3 2014 6 hours 23 minutes ↑ 3.8%
Q3 2015 6 hours 20 minutes ↓ 0.8%
Q3 2016 6 hours 29 minutes ↑ 2.4%
Q3 2017 6 hours 46 minutes ↑ 4.4%
Q3 2018 6 hours 48 minutes ↑ 0.5%
Q3 2019 6 hours 38 minutes ↓ 2.5%
Q3 2020 6 hours 54 minutes ↑ 4%
Q3 2021 6 hours 58 minutes ↑ 1%

The latest figures suggest the average person spends upwards of 40% of their waking hours on an internet-connected screen.

And given the 30% jump between 2019’s mobile device screen time (2 hours 56 minutes) and 2021’s (4 hours 12 minutes), global screen time averages are likely to continue to grow.

Source: Data Reportal, Data Reportal, DigitalInformationWorld

US Average Screen Time

The average screen time in the United States is 7 hours 4 minutes per day - 7 minutes more than the global average according to Comparitech data.

us-screen-time-min.webp

The split between mobile and computer screen time is almost equal in the US. On average, 3 hours 30 minutes are dedicated to mobile devices, while 3 hours 34 minutes are spent on computers.

Here’s a comparison between the US and global screen time allocation:

Country Proportion Streaming TV Proportion Playing Video Games Daily Time Spent on Video Games Daily Time Spent on Social Media
US

91.6%

80.9%

1 hour 27 mins 2 hours 14 mins
Global Average

93.5%

83.6%

1 hour 12 mins 2 hours 27 mins

Somewhat surprisingly, the US is behind the world average in terms of the proportion of the population streaming TV (-1.9%) and the proportion of the population playing video games (-2.7%).

Daily time spent on video games is 15 minutes above average. But time spent on social media is 13 minutes lower than the global average.

Age clearly plays a significant role in screen time consumption as US teenagers spend over 3 hours per day watching TV or videos.

Here’s the full breakdown of how the average US teen distributes their daily screen time:

Activity Average Daily Screen Time
Watching TV/Videos 3 hours 16 mins
Gaming 1 hour 46 mins
Social Media 1 hour 27 mins
Browsing Websites 51 mins
Other 29 mins
Video Chatting 20 mins
E-reading 15 mins
Content Creation 14 mins

And looking at this demographic in closer detail, the income also plays a notable role in screen time consumption.

American teenagers from lower-income households (<$35,000 annual household income) spend 9 hours and 19 minutes on their screens each day.

That’s 2 hours and 3 minutes more than the 7 hours and 16 minutes averaged by teenagers from higher income households ($100,000+ annual household income).

Sources: Comparitech, Common Sense Media

Screen Time Changes Over Time

From phones to tablets and smartwatches to TVs, screens are everywhere.

The vast majority are connected to the internet nowadays. And the average time spent using the internet via our screens is on the rise.

However, the rate of time increase isn’t the same across the board. And some countries have even seen a drop-off between 2021 and 2022.

Here’s the rate of change between average screen time in 2021 and 2022 for select countries:

Country Change in Screen Time
United Arab Emirates ↑ 1.12
Turkey ↑ 0.44
India ↑ 0.42
South Africa ↑ 0.39
Portugal ↑ 0.37
Egypt ↑ 0.26
Saudi Arabia ↑ 0.21
Thailand ↑ 0.21
Canada ↑ 0.19
Belgium ↑ 0.16
Brazil ↑ 0.11
Sweden ↑ 0.06
Switzerland ↑ 0.04
Ireland ↑ 0.01
Japan ↑ 0.01
Australia - 0
Taiwan - 0
Argentina ↓ 0.01
Israel ↓ 0.02
Russia ↓ 0.02
Austria ↓ 0.04
Colombia ↓ 0.04
Poland ↓ 0.04
Germany ↓ 0.05
China ↓ 0.06
Mexico ↓ 0.06
Malaysia ↓ 0.07
Spain ↓ 0.07
United States of America ↓ 0.07
South Korea ↓ 0.08
Vietnam ↓ 0.09
France ↓ 0.12
Italy ↓ 0.12
Denmark ↓ 0.13
United Kingdom ↓ 0.13
Indonesia ↓ 0.15
New Zealand ↓ 0.17
Romania ↓ 0.17
Netherlands ↓ 0.18
Hong Kong ↓ 0.29
Philippines ↓ 0.29
Singapore ↓ 0.38

Source: Comparitech

Average Screen Time By Region

Screen time varies significantly by region. According to recent records from 43 nations, South Africa tops the charts for average screen time consumption per day.

south-africa-screen-time-min.webp

The Philippines, Brazil, and Colombia each average 10+ hours per day too.

Here’s a closer look at 20 of the most active screen time users:

Country

Total Screen Time

Mobile Screen Time

%

Computer Screen Time

%

South Africa

10 hours 46 mins

5 hours 9 mins

48%

5 hours 37 mins

52%

Philippines

10 hours 27 mins

5 hours 47 mins

55%

4 hours 40 mins

45%

Brazil

10 hours 19 mins

5 hours 25 mins

53%

4 hours 54 mins

47%

Colombia

10 hours 3 mins

5 hours 9 mins

51%

4 hours 54 mins

49%

Argentina

9 hours 38 mins

5 hours 4 mins

53%

4 hours 34 mins

47%

Malaysia

9 hours 10 mins

4 hours 49 mins

53%

4 hours 21 mins

47%

Thailand

9 hours 6 mins

5 hours 28 mins

60%

3 hours 38 mins

40%

Mexico

8 hours 55 mins

4 hours 37 mins

52%

4 hours 18 mins

48%

Indonesia

8 hours 37 mins

4 hours 56 mins

57%

3 hours 41 mins

43%

UAE

8 hours 36 mins

4 hours 35 mins

53%

4 hours 1 min

47%

Taiwan

8 hours 7 mins

4 hours 12 mins

52%

3 hours 55 mins

48%

Saudi Arabia

8 hours 5 mins

4 hours 35 mins

56%

3 hours 30 mins

44%

Egypt

8 hours 2 mins

4 hours 25 mins

55%

3 hours 37 mins

45%

Turkey

8 hours

4 hours 16 mins

53%

3 hours 44 mins

47%

Portugal

7 hours 56 mins

3 hours 34 mins

45%

4 hours 22 mins

55%

Russia

7 hours 50 mins

3 hours 39 mins

47%

4 hours 11 mins

53%

Israel

7 hours 35 mins

3 hours 31 mins

46%

4 hours 4 mins

54%

Singapore

7 hours 28 mins

3 hours 38 mins

49%

3 hours 50 mins

51%

India

7 hours 18 mins

4 hours 5 mins

56%

3 hours 13 mins

44%

Global Average

6 hours 57 mins

3 hours 43 mins

53%

3 hours 14 mins

47%

On average, people spent 44% of their waking hours looking at a screen.

average-screen-time-min.webp

Yet, in South Africa, this figure is closer to 70%.

While, in Japan, this proportion is far lower at just 28%.

As is evident from the above table, mobile and computer screen time is fairly evenly split. In fact, the five largest discrepancies each come from Asia:

  • Thailand - 20% difference in favor of mobile screen time
  • Indonesia - 14% difference in favor of mobile screen time
  • India - 12% difference in favor of mobile screen time
  • Saudi Arabia - 12% difference in favor of mobile screen time

The largest difference in favor of computer screen time is found in Portugal - 10%.

Globally, social media screen time and game console screen time are on the rise. But more traditional television (which includes streaming) viewing time is declining.

Below are figures for global average screen time allocation per day:

Screen Time Allocation Q3 2020 Q3 2021 2020-2021 Change
Using Internet 6 hours 54 mins 6 hours 58 mins ↑ 1% (4 mins)
Watching TV (inc. streaming) 3 hours 24 mins 3 hours 20 mins ↓ 2% (4 mins)
Using Social Media 2 hours 25 mins 2 hours 27 mins ↑ 1.4% (2 mins)
Using a Games Console 1 hour 11 mins 1 hour 12 mins ↑ 1.4% (1 min)

And here’s how the countries above compare in terms of each screen time allocation:

Country Proportion Streaming TV Proportion Playing Video Games Daily Time Spent on Video Games Daily Time Spent on Social Media
South Africa

96.6%

90.2%

1 hour 3 mins 3 hours 43 mins
Philippines

98.3%

96.4%

1 hour 34 mins 4 hours 6 mins
Brazil

97.7%

89.3%

1 hour 10 mins 3 hours 41 mins
Colombia

95.5%

86.9%

1 hour 6 mins 3 hours 46 mins
Argentina

96.7%

86.6%

1 hour 1 min 3 hours 26 mins
Malaysia

95.5%

90.1%

1 hour 13 mins 3 hours2 mins
Thailand

97.1%

94.7%

1 hour 58 mins 2 hours 59 mins
Mexico

97.9%

91.2%

1 hour 31 mins 3 hours 20 mins
Indonesia

97.1%

94.5%

1 hour 19 mins 3 hours 17 mins
UAE

93.9%

90.3%

1 hour 29 mins 3 hours 4 mins
Taiwan

94.8%

91.6%

53 mins 2 hours 4 mins
Saudi Arabia

95.9%

91.4%

1 hour 53 mins 3 hours 24 mins
Egypt

91.2%

86.3%

2 hours 3 mins 3 hours 13 mins
Turkey

96.4%

91.5%

1 hour 6 mins 2 hours 59 mins
Portugal

84.7%

81.2%

38 mins 2 hours 28 mins
Russia

84.5%

78.6%

30 mins 2 hours 27 mins
Israel

95.7%

75.2%

19 mins 1 hour 58 mins
Singapore

91.5%

84.5%

1 hour 11 mins 2 hours 31 mins
India

97.2%

92%

1 hour 21 mins 2 hours 36 mins
Global Average

93.5%

83.6%

1 hour 12 mins 2 hours 27 mins

Approximately 77.4% of Chinese citizens play video games - 6.2% under the global average.

chinese-playing-video-games-min.webp

And an average of 1 hour 15 minutes is spent on games consoles - just 3 minutes above the world mean.

Nonetheless, the Chinese government is aiming to crack down on children’s screen time by limiting their play time to three hours per week. That equates to just under 26 minutes per day.

From the available data, Japan and Russia average the closest play time to that figure (30 minutes). And only Israel averages less (19 minutes).

Sources: Comparitech, DataReportal, Reuters

Screen Time by Age

Age is an important factor in screen time consumption. Around 3 in 4 (74%) of parents with a child aged 2 or younger claim their child watches TV.

children-watching-tv-min.webp

And 90% of older children spend time watching a TV screen.

Here’s a breakdown of the proportion of children who use certain devices according to the latest research:

Age TV Tablet Smartphone Desktop/Laptop Gaming
0-2 years 74% 35% 49% 12% 9%
3-4 years 90% 64% 62% 21% 25%
5-8 years 93% 81% 59% 54% 58%
9-11 years 91% 78% 67% 73% 68%
Total 88% 67% 60% 44% 44%

Almost across the board, there is a strong positive correlation between age and the proportion of children using a device.

Interestingly, the most passive screen time experience (watching TV) plateaued from the ages of 3-4 years onwards.

Whereas more active, and potentially demanding devices (desktop computers/laptops and gaming consoles) increased at a steady rate with age.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, young people spend more time in front of screens than average. In fact, a recent study revealed that Gen Z spends around 9 hours per day looking at a screen - approximately 2 hours more than the US and global average.

Source: PewResearch, Forbes

Impact of Screen Time

Data from a survey of 2,000+ US adults revealed that less than half the time spent on screens is believed to be productive.

Furthermore, 41% admit to finding screen time management challenging.

screen-time-managment-min.webp

And a concerning 21% feel guilty about how much time their children spend on screens.

Excessive screen time can have very real knock-on effects - especially in children.

Elementary-level school children who wrack up 2+ hours of screen time per day are more likely to suffer from social, emotional, and attentional issues.

On a more positive note, tens of studies have indicated that there is no significant correlation between screen time and academic performance.

However, a whole host of damaging side effects are linked with too much screen time, including:

  • Sleep deprivation - Blue light interferes with melatonin production and disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm.
  • Obesity - Data shows a strong association between screen time and obesity in children aged 5 to 17, most likely due to the sedentary nature of viewing a screen.
  • Susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes - In the UK, children aged between 9 and 10 who spend 3+ hours on the screen each day were more likely to show resistance to insulin
  • Delayed learning - Young children who watch excessive amounts of TV can experience difficulties picking up the language.

In the wider population, limiting social media use to a maximum of 30 minutes each day has been linked with reduced depression and improved well-being.

Sources: People, AIFS, Mayo Clinical Health System, The Journalist’s Resource, Active Health, Quartz

Conclusion

Screens are inextricably linked with modern life. And the ways in which people spend their screen time are always evolving.

Whether the number of time people spend on screens increases, or sees a sudden reversal, remains to be seen.