People are consuming content all the time in one way or the other through their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Surprisingly, they spend 40% of their time looking at the screen. The global average for screen time today is 6 hours and 57 minutes. In the U.S. the average screen time is 7 hours and 4 minutes which is 7 minutes more than the global average. Simply put, a person spends one-fourth of his time in a day looking at the screen. With every passing day, this time is observed to be increasing by 50 minutes since 2013.
Here you go interesting facts and screen time statistics. So, let’s dive right in!
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Screen time stats: Unmasking Screen Time’s Impact and Trends in 2023
- The average duration of a movie in the 1910s was 15 minutes
- The global media and entertainment market is expected to reach $4.21 million by 2031 at a CAGR of 5.9%
- By 2025, 65% of American adults’ time will be spent on digital media consumption
- The global average screen time is 6 hours and 57 minutes a day
A few years back screen time was limited to motion pictures and working with computers. Today, this term is used to describe the amount of time one spends using gadgets with screens such as smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles.
Additionally, in 2023, screen time has become an important metric for businesses, influencers, or content creators to gauge the success of their content on various online platforms.
Screen time statistics: Global Mobile, Laptop, and Television Users in 2023
|Smartphone users: 91%
Feature phone users: 5.2%
|Personal laptop users: 59.1%
Work laptop users: 28.6%
|Smart TV users: 31.9%
Source: Exploding Topics
The origin of the term “Screen time”
The term “Screen Time” has been in the picture since the 1910s. During these years the term was used in the context of the duration someone or something appeared on the screen.
Additionally, these years marked the emergence of motion pictures and the development of the film industry. In the 1910s, the average duration of movies was 15 minutes. Later in 1916s’ 25 million Americans watched a movie every single day.
Over time, the context has changed owing to the many technological advancements. In the 2000s, the term screen time began to gain popularity as computers, televisions, and mobile phones became more widespread. During these years the term “screen time” was used to describe the time spent with these digital devices for work, communication, and entertainment,
In the 2010s digital devices became more prevalent and smartphones gained massive popularity. Later in the 2020s, this concept became an umbrella term for watching TV, playing video games, and working on computers to name a few. These years became the time when researchers and policymakers began assessing the potential impacts of screen time on mental and physical health, especially in children and adolescents.
The Growth in Screen Time Over the Years
From the 1910s till today global screen time usage has seen a tremendous rise. In 2023, the average screen time for internet-connected activities will reach 6 to 7 hours per day with more than 3 hours being spent on mobiles.
This rise is due to the widespread use of the internet and digital devices, changes in lifestyle and work patterns, and the growing popularity of social media.
Ever since smartphones have become affordable and everybody has access to high-speed internet, there has been a significant rise in leisure screen time. 81% of American adults can be seen staring at their screens for different purposes such as work, communication, or entertainment.
Furthermore, the global media and entertainment market which was valued at $2.15 million in 2022, is expected to reach $4.21 million by 2031 at a CAGR of 5.9%.
Average Screen Time in America Statistics
In America, people spend more time on digital media than traditional media because of the widespread use of digital devices. Today people spend around 4 hours of their time on traditional media whereas the average screen time of Americans with digital media is around 8 hours. According to a report, by 2025, 65% of American adults’ time will be spent on digital media consumption.
Time Spent on Digital Media
|Digital Media Time Spend
|7 hours 34 minutes
|7 hours 46 minutes
|7 hours 58 minutes
In 2023, there was a 3.4% increase in the time people spent watching digital media per day as compared to 2022. In 2025, the time spent with digital media is expected to rise by another 12 minutes.
Unveiling Screen Time: Defining the Digital Devices
The past few years have seen a massive rise in digital media and entertainment which has largely contributed to increased screen time. Globally, social media users spend more than 2 hours and 27 minutes per day these days. Additionally, the global average of social media usage in America is 2 hours and 14 minutes per day.
Digital media at $498.60 billion
In 2023, the digital media market grossed a whopping $498.60 billion in revenue. Out of the many digital media devices, video games are at the top when it comes to revenue generation. Additionally, the global media and entertainment market is expected to rise further between 2023-2030 with a massive CAGR of 9.1% which indicates that screen time will only increase soon.
There are 1.5 million internet users in the U.S as reported by the end of 2022. At the start of 2023, the total number of internet users reached a staggering 311.3 million which indicates a 91.8% penetration rate in the country.
Furthermore, there were 240 million social media users in the U.S. at the start of 2023 which accounts for 72.5% of its total population. These statistics about the widespread usage of digital devices and the growing popularity of the internet and social media are only fueling the average screen time in America and worldwide.
Furthermore, the global average of screen time is 6 hours and 57 minutes a day out of which 3 hours 43 minutes are spent on mobile and 2 hours 54 minutes are spent on computers.
Average time spent on mobile phones and computers
Screen Time for School and College goers
In 2015, 98% of public school students owned a digital device such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone. In 2019, about 34% of schools had a computer for every student. And today 98% of collegegoers rely on digital devices for learning and 45% of schools have a computer for each student. This shows the rapid rise in screen time among the younger population.
Technological advancements have led to immersive digital experiences that are visually captivating, resulting in a rapid rise in average screen time. High-definition displays, AR, and VR have transformed the way screens look.
Age and Screens: Navigating the Generational Variances
- The average screen time for teenagers in the U.S. is 3 hours and 16 minutes
- Children and adolescents spend almost 7 hours 20 minutes a day in front of the screen
- Gen Zs spend the highest amount of time in front of screens, at 9 hours per day, compared to other generations
- The average screen time for South Africa, Brazil, and the Philippines is over 10 hours
- People in Japan spend only 21.7% of their waking hours on screens
The reason for different age group’s screen time is different. While some are working for long hours a day, while others are learning virtually. Screen time differs for people of different age groups and regions. Also, according to data, screen time decreases with age.
For instance, the average screen time for teenagers in the U.S. per day is 3 hours 16 minutes for watching television, 1 hour 46 minutes for playing video games, 1 hour 27 minutes for social media, and 51 minutes for web browsing.
Age Wise Average Screen Time
|Average Screen Time
Surprisingly, children and adolescents spend around 7 hours and 30 minutes a day looking at the screen. There has been a steep rise in children’s average screen time post-pandemic because of online learning.
In the U.S. the average screen time of people aged between 18-65 are found to spend 6 hours and 37 minutes per day staring at the screen for various reasons such as work, communication, or entertainment.
Screen time 2024: usage among various age groups
Talking about generations, Millennials were found to have a screen time of more than 3 hours per day whereas Gen Zs spent 9 hours Gen X spent 6 hours and Boomers spent 5 hours in 2023. Furthermore, as per a recent report, females have a screen time of 2 hours 47 minutes and males have an average screen time of 2 hours 34 minutes.
Screen Time Stats: Across Geographies
Screen time stats differs by region as well. Recent reports have revealed that the average daily screen time in America is 7 hours. In contrast, the average screen time usage in countries like South Africa, Brazil, and the Philippines is over 10 hours. An average American spends more than 7 hours 4 minutes a day staring at a screen which is 7 minutes more than the global average.
People in the U.S. spend the same amount of time on computers as they do on mobile phones. On average the screen time for mobile is 3 hours 30 minutes whereas for computers it is 3 hours 34 minutes. Additionally, the average screen time per week for people in the U.S. is 50 hours!
Country-wise Screen Time stats
|Screen Time Per Day
|10 hours 46 minutes
|10 hours and 27 minutes
|10 hours and 19 minutes
|10 hours and 3 minutes
|9 hours and 38 minutes
|9 hours and 10 minutes
|7 hours and 56 minutes
|7 hours and 50 minutes
|7 hours and 35 minutes
|7 hours and 28 minutes
|7 hours and 18 minutes
|4 hours and 25 minutes
South Africa currently tops the charts when it comes to average screen time. South Africans spend 58.2% of their waking hours looking at the screen. Next in line is Saudi Arabians who spend 11.5% of their time awake in gaming. Thailand, which is Asia’s largest video game market, spends 10.3% of the day gaming.
The later positions are secured by countries like the Netherlands, China, Russia, and Poland which observed an increase in the average screen time by 16, 10, 7, and 2 minutes respectively.
On the other hand, for some countries, the average screen time decreased by 1 hour 13 minutes. Japan is one of those countries where people spend just 21.7% of their waking hours in front of the screen.
Pandemic Effect: How COVID-19 Reshaped Screen Time Habits
- Post-pandemic, the internet usage during this time increased by 50-70%
- During the pandemic, the screen time for children increased by 1.75 hours a day
- Only 25% of children aged below 5 years meet the recommended screen time guidelines.
The pandemic brought the world to face a time that never existed in anyone’s mind until it happened. It made people adapt to new ways and habits in every aspect of life. In the world after the pandemic, there were a lot of transformations in every industry.
Change in screen time during and after the pandemic
The most prominent ones were remote working and online learning. Internet usage during this time increased by 50-70% which fueled the screen time to increase. This change has led to an exponential rise in screen time as every other individual from school goer to a working professional was spending more than half of their day in front of screens.
A study revealed that screen time for children increased from 6.6 hours to 8.3 hours per day as compared to the pre-pandemic period. Though screen time for younger, middle-aged, and older people increased, a significant increase was found in children and adolescents as schooling happened remotely until the restrictions were lifted.
Additionally, many studies revealed that during the pandemic the screen time of children and youngsters increased drastically. Only 25% of children aged below 5 years meet the recommended screen time guidelines.
Increase in screen time between 2020 and 2023
The average screen time rates mentioned above were different before the pandemic hit. COVID-19 drastically increased the average screen time all over the world. The average screen time in the U.S. in 2020 was 6 hours and 54 minutes which was 4% higher than 2019. In 2023, it will continue an upward trend in the average time people spend in front of screens.
Beyond the Screen: Physical and Mental Health Effects
- Health experts recommended 2 hours of screen time a day to maintain a healthy balance
- 87% of the global population has a screen time more than the recommended limits
- 46% of teenagers who spend more than 7 hours a day in front of the screen have a higher risk of experiencing depression
- Children who spend more than 2 hours in front of the screen are likely to develop ADHD
- 41% of parents find managing their children’s screen time difficult
The rapidly increasing average screen time is a boon and bane. Increased screen time is benefiting digital device companies, social media platforms, and entertainment channels to name a few, it is also a topic of concern for many. Prolonged screen time has adverse effects on the human body both physically and mentally.
Health experts suggest limiting screen time to 2 hours a day to prevent falling prey to health issues such as disrupted sleep, vision problems, obesity, depression, and anxiety. However, this scientific recommendation is surpassed by 87% globally, especially in children’s care.
More than 60% of parents in the U.S. limit their kid’s screen time, whereas 40% of them levy no such restriction. For those who do, their kids show fewer tantrums and lead a healthy lifestyle. And those who don’t, their children often prefer not to socialize, and suffer from vision problems and other types of health issues.
According to a study by Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, during the pandemic, prolonged screen time changed sleep habits in children and adolescents. Long hours of consuming content on social media, playing video games, and virtual learning have resulted in shorter sleep durations, longer sleep onset latency, and later bedtimes.
As per a study, by 2050, one in every two people will suffer from nearsightedness which means half of the population in the world will suffer from myopia.
Furthermore, another study stated that according to Preventative Medicine Reports, people who spend long hours in front of the screen are likely to be short-tempered. Additionally, the report also revealed that 46% of 14-17-year-olds who spend more than 7 hours in front of the screen in a day are likely to experience depression.
Screen Time Effects on Children & Teenagers
Social media, video games, and online learning are becoming increasingly popular among children and teenagers these days. According to a survey by an NGO named Common Sense Media, screen time for children and teens has increased by 17% between 2019-2021. Children aged between 2-4 years and 5-8 years spend 42% and 52% of their time on screen. Furthermore, children aged between 8 and 12 years spend around 5 hours and 33 minutes and those aged between 13 to 18 years spend 7 hours and 22 minutes.
According to a study, children who spend more than 2 hours a day in front of the screen are observed to have poor thinking, language, and social skills.
The increased consumption of online content is negatively impacting children’s cognitive abilities and physical health. Prolonged screen time is linked with obesity, vision problems, and anxiety. Children who spend more than 2 hours in front of the screen have higher chances of developing ADHD.
Additionally, children aged between 9 and 11 years who spend more time with digital devices with screens instead of indulging in physical activities are found to exhibit higher risks of depression and anxiety by the age of 11 to 13.
41% of parents admit that they find managing their children’s screen time difficult and 21% of them feel guilty about not taking appropriate steps. During the pandemic, 62% of parents mentioned that their kids spent more than 4 hours a day mostly for entertainment, binge-watching, and socializing virtually.
To ease parents’ worries and set screen time limits, the American Academy of Pediatrics has provided screen time recommendations for children which are as follows:
Recommended screen time limits for children, adolescents, and teenagers in 2023
|Recommended Screen Time
|Children under 18 months
|Zero Screen Time
|Children (18 months – 2 years)
|Less than 1 hour per day
|Children (2-5 years)
|Less than 1 hour per weekday and less than 3 hours per weekend day
|Children (6+ years)
|Less than 2 hours of recreational screen time per weekday
|2 hours per day
|Recreational screen time: 2-4 hours per day
Work-related screen time: 8 hours per day
Source: All About Vision
Beyond the Likes: Social Media’s Influence on Screen Time
- The global average for social media time is 2 hours and 31 minutes
- Brazilians spend an average of 3 hours and 46 minutes per day on social media
No one is spared from the charm of social media today. Everyone from children to older adults has a social media account on a platform of their choice where they connect with friends and consume content. Whatever they choose to do contributes to the rapidly increasing screen time.
Countries with the highest social media screen time
The global average of people spending time on social media is 2 hours 31 minutes every day. The average screen for Americans in this aspect is 2 hours 16 minutes a day and Brazil ranks first as Brazilians spend 3 hours 46 minutes a day on social media. Additionally, Brazilians have an average of 8.4 social media accounts which depicts the widespread use of social media in this country.
Next in the line are Indians and Indonesians who spend 44.49% and 42.86% of their time in front of the screen consuming social media content. Other countries with increasing screen time due to social media consumption are South America, Africa, and Asia, due to a large number of social media accounts.
Final Thoughts on Screens in Our Lives
Today, people spend around 40% of their time looking at the screen. Looking at the rate at which screen time has risen in the past, it is evident that it will only increase in the future. Smartphones are the most handy digital device with the user base continuously increasing between 2024 and 2028. This number is expected to reach 496.7 million which accounts for a 10.71% increase from now.
Additionally, the global average mobile data usage per smartphone is expected to be 56 GB per month which was 21 GB in 2023. This is another insightful statistic that points to the future where screen time will only increase. Screen time is indeed unavoidable due to work, learning, and communication, but it is also important to consider the risks it poses.
What is the average screen time per day?
The average time spent by people in front of the screen is 6 hours 37 minutes per day as recorded in 2023. This time is the average screen time of people aged between 16-64 across different devices, media, and platforms. This time is the global average. However, the average screen time varies by age, gender, region, and devices.
How much television do children watch?
Children aged between 8 and 12 spend around 4 to 6 hours watching television. As per recent studies, 2 hours is a healthy TV screen time for children but as technologies are advancing children are spending more time with other digital devices such as smartphones and tablets which is a major concern for parents these days.
- How much has screen time increased over the years?
Screen time has seen a steep rise in the past few years. Since 2013, screen time has increased by 50 minutes per day. There has been a surge in the global average screen time after the pandemic as during this time televisions, smartphones, and tablets were only the modes of communication, entertainment, and information available. This has led to an increase in physical and mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, poor sleeping habits and optical health, and other physical and emotional discomforts.
- How much time does Gen Z spend on their phone?
Gen Z is one of the most tech-savvy generations and spends most of its time in front of the screen. Whether it is interacting with others, working, or doing anything else, Gen Zs spend more than 9 hours of their waking hours looking at the screen. Out of these hours, they spend 7.2 hours per day scrolling through TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube and binge-watching on Netflix and other OTT platforms.
- How many times per day does the average person check social media?
Social media has become an indispensable part of people’s lives today. An average person spends around 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media per day in 2023. Furthermore, according to recent data, a person checks his/her social media at least 159 times a day which is equal to 9 times per hour.