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Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults

Who says that only children and teenagers should limit their screen time? Adults are not exempted. So, the question is, how much average screen time is recommended for them?

In this article, we’ve curated top case studies to answer that question, including the following:

  • How much average screen time do adults spend?
  • Which adult age group spends the most amount of time on the screen?
  • What are the top 4 activities that consume most of their screen time?
  • What are the top 4 gadgets that they use most often?
  • Which country has the highest average daily screen time consumption?
  • What benefits do they get from spending time on the screen?
  • What risks do they get from too much of it?
  • What are some ways to manage screen time?

Let’s get started!

How Much Average Screen Time Do Adults Spend?

1) Globally, adults’ average screen time a day is up to 6 hours and 55 minutes long.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Best Writing, Exploding Topics, and Website Builder

  • An average person spends 6 hours and 55 minutes in front of a screen daily.
  • This accounts for 38% to 44% of his waking hours looking at the screen.
  • Out of that duration, 2 hours and 27 minutes are spent browsing social media and 1 hour and 12 minutes playing video games.
  • The rest of the hours are spent doing other screen-based activities such as online shopping and reading news.

2) In America, adults’ average screen time a day is up to 10 hours and 19 minutes long.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Exploding Topics, Reid Health, and Website Builder

  • In Brazil, adults’ average screen time is 10 hours and 19 minutes a day.
  • In Colombia, that is 10 hours and 3 minutes.
  • In Argentina, that is 9 hours and 38 minutes.
  • In Mexico, that is 8 hours and 55 minutes.

3) In Asia, adults’ average screen time a day is up to 10 hours and 27 minutes long.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Active Health and Exploding Topics

  • In the Philippines, adults spend 10 hours and 27 minutes of average screen time a day.
  • In Malaysia, that is 9 hours and 10 minutes.
  • In Thailand, that is 9 hours and 6 minutes.
  • In Indonesia, that is 8 hours and 37 minutes. 
  • In the United Arab Emirates, that is 8 hours and 36 minutes.
  • In Taiwan, that is 8 hours and 7 minutes. 
  • In Saudi Arabia, that is 8 hours and 5 minutes.
  • In Turkey, that is 8 hours.
  • In Israel, that is 7 hours and 35 minutes.
  • In Singapore, that is 7 hours and 28 minutes. 
  • In India, that is 7 hours and 18 minutes. 

4) In Africa, adults’ average screen time a day is up to 10 hours and 46 minutes long.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Source: Exploding Topics

  • In South Africa, adults spend 10 hours and 46 minutes of average screen time a day.
  • In Egypt, that amounts to 8 hours and 2 minutes.

5) In Europe, adults’ average screen time a day is up to 7 hours and 56 minutes long.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Exploding Topics and Uswitch

  • In Portugal, adults spend 7 hours and 56 minutes of average screen time a day.
  • In Russia, that amounts to 7 hours and 50 minutes.
  • In the United Kingdom, that amounts to at least 5 hours.

Which Adult Age Group Spends the Most Amount of Time on the Screen?

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

1) Young adults aged 16 to 24 years spend the most amount of daily screen time.

Sources: Elite Content Marketer and Uswitch

  • 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.
  • Adults aged 45 to 54 years spend about 4.85 hours.
  • Adults aged 55 years and above spend about 4.73 hours.

2) Millennials spend the most amount of average daily, weekly, and annual screen time.

Source: Elite Content Marketer

  • Millennials spend an average screen time of 3 hours and 25 minutes daily. This is projected to about 24 hours weekly or 1,247 hours (52 days) annually.
  • Generation X adults spend 2 hours and 49 minutes daily, which is projected to about 20 hours weekly or 1,028 hours (43 days) annually.
  • Baby boomers spend 2 hours and 16 minutes daily, which is projected to about 16 hours weekly or 827 hours (34 days) annually.

What Are the Top 4 Activities That Consume Most of Their Screen Time?

1) Watching television comes first, given that average adults do it for up to 4 hours and 30 minutes a day, which covers a maximum of 38% of their average screen time.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Best Writing, Earth Web, Marketing Charts, Oberlo (1), Statista (1), and Uswitch

  • An average person consumes about 3 hours and 24 minutes to 4 hours a day watching television. This is projected to 24 to 28 hours a week.
  • Adults in the United States spend up to 4 hours and 30 minutes a day doing the same activity.
  • African American adults spend 3 hours and 14 minutes a day.
  • Polish people spend 4 hours and 24 minutes a day.
  • These hours altogether make up 34% to 38% of their total screen time. 

2) Watching movies and online videos comes second, as typical adults do it for up to 2 hours and 58 minutes a day, which takes a maximum of 28% of their average screen time.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Marketing Charts, Statista (2), and Statista (3)

  • A typical adult consumes 2 hours and 45 minutes to 2 hours and 58 minutes a day watching movies.
  • Adults in the US consume 1 hour and 43 minutes a day watching online videos.
  • Such duration takes 23% to 28% of their total screen time.

3) Browsing social media comes third, given that average adults do it for up to 2 hours and 28 minutes a day, which sums up to 24% of their average screen time.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Exploding Topics, Marketing Charts, Oberlo (1), Oberlo (2), and True List

  • Globally, adults consume 2 hours and 28 minutes a day browsing social media, taking up to 24% of their total screen time.
  • 40% to 90% of adults in the US spend 2 hours and 14 minutes a day doing the same.
  • TikTok (45.8 minutes a day), YouTube (45.6 minutes a day), and Twitter (34.8 minutes a day) are the three most frequently used social media platforms.

4) Gaming comes fourth, as typical adults do it for up to 1 hour and 13 minutes a day, which consumes a maximum of 16% of their average screen time.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults

Sources: Marketing Charts and Oberlo (1)

  • Typical adults spend 1 hour and 13 minutes a day playing games.
  • Such duration takes 12% to 16% of their total screen time.

What Are the Top 4 Gadgets That They Use Most Often?

1) Mobile phone tops the list, given that adults, especially in Asia, use it for up to 5 hours and 47 minutes a day.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Best Writing, Exploding Topics, and Vision Direct

  • Mobile phone is the most widely used Internet device as it accounts for 55% of global web traffic.
  • On average, adults pick up their phones 58 times a day.
  • Before the pandemic, adults spent an average screen time of 4 hours and 33 minutes a day on this device. This went up to 5 hours and 2 minutes during the lockdown.
  • In American countries, especially Brazil, adults’ average screen time on mobile phones is 5 hours and 25 minutes a day, which accounts for 53% of their total screen time.
  • In Asian countries, especially the Philippines, that is 5 hours and 47 minutes a day, which takes up 55% of their total screen time.
  • In African countries, especially South Africa, that is 5 hours and 9 minutes a day, which consumes 48% of their total screen time.
  • In European countries, especially Russia, that is 3 hours and 39 minutes a day, which covers 47% of their total screen time.

2) Computer comes second, considering that adults, especially in Africa, spend up to 5 hours and 37 minutes a day using it.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Best Writing, Exploding Topics, and Vision Direct

  • Laptop is the second most widely used screened device, accounting to 41% of global web traffic, which is shared by tablet, desktop, and other types of computer.
  • Before the pandemic, adults spent an average screen time of 4 hours and 54 minutes a day on this device. This increased to 5 hours and 10 minutes during the lockdown.
  • In American countries, especially Brazil and Colombia, adults use mobile phones for up to 4 hours and 45 minutes a day. This makes up 47% to 49% of their total screen time.
  • In Asian countries, especially the Philippines, adults use the said device for up to 4 hours and 40 minutes a day. This takes 45% of their total screen time.
  • In African countries, especially South Africa, adults do the same for up to 5 hours and 37 minutes a day. This accounts for 52% of their total screen time.
  • In European countries, especially Portugal, adults do so for up to 4 hours and 22 minutes a day. This consumes 55% of their total screen time.

3) Television comes third, given that adults use it for up to 5 hours and 9 minutes a day.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Best Writing, Elite Content Marketer, and Vision Direct 

  • Before the pandemic, adults spent an average screen time of 4 hours and 30 minutes a day on television. This spiked up to 5 hours and 9 minutes during the lockdown.
  • Adults, mostly in the US, use this device for 3 hours and 22 minutes to 4 hours and 20 minutes a day.

4) Gaming console is fourth in the list, considering that adults use it for up to 3 hours and 45 minutes a day.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Source: Vision Direct 

  • Before the pandemic, adults spent an average screen time of 3 hours and 12 minutes using gaming consoles daily. This rose up to 3 hours and 45 minutes during the lockdown.

Which Country Has the Highest Average Daily Screen Time Consumption?

1) Philippines ranks first among top 15 countries with the highest average daily screen time on mobile phones.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Source: Comparitech 

  • Philippines – 5 hours and 47 minutes
  • Thailand – 5 hours and 28 minutes
  • Brazil – 5 hours and 25 minutes
  • Colombia – 5 hours and 9 minutes
  • South Africa – 5 hours and 9 minutes
  • Argentina – 5 hours and 4 minutes
  • Indonesia – 4 hours and 56 minutes
  • Malaysia – 4 hours and 49 minutes
  • Mexico – 4 hours and 37 minutes
  • Saudi Arabia – 4 hours and 35 minutes
  • United Arab Emirates – 4 hours and 35 minutes
  • Egypt – 4 hours and 25 minutes
  • Turkey – 4 hours and 16 minutes
  • Taiwan – 4 hours and 12 minutes
  • India – 4 hours and 5 minutes

2) South Africa ranks first among top 15 countries with the highest average daily screen time on computers.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Source: Comparitech 

  • South Africa – 5 hours and 37 minutes
  • Brazil – 4 hours and 54 minutes
  • Colombia – 4 hours and 54 minutes
  • Philippines – 4 hours and 40 minutes
  • Argentina – 4 hours and 34 minutes
  • Portugal – 4 hours and 22 minutes
  • Malaysia – 4 hours and 21 minutes
  • Mexico – 4 hours and 18 minutes
  • Russia – 4 hours and 11 minutes
  • Israel – 4 hours and 4 minutes
  • United Arab Emirates – 4 hours and 1 minute
  • Taiwan – 3 hours and 55 minutes
  • Canada – 3 hours and 54 minutes
  • Singapore – 3 hours and 50 minutes
  • Turkey – 3 hours and 44 minutes

3) Overall, South Africa makes the highest average screen time worldwide this year, narrowing down the list to top 10 countries. 

Source: Comparitech 

  • South Africa – 10 hours and 46 minutes
  • Philippines – 10 hours and 27 minutes
  • Brazil – 10 hours and 19 minutes
  • Colombia – 10 hours and 3 minutes
  • Argentina – 9 hours and 38 minutes
  • Malaysia – 9 hours and 10 minutes
  • Thailand – 9 hours and 6 minutes
  • Mexico – 8 hours and 55 minutes
  • Indonesia – 8 hours and 37 minutes
  • United Arab Emirates – 8 hours and 36 minutes

What Benefits Do They Get From Spending Time on the Screen?

1) Screen time provides adults an avenue to express themselves.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Simplilearn and True List

  • 67.4% to 68% of adults utilize their screen time to build image on social media and demonstrate who they are and what they stand for.
  • 33% share photos and videos of their daily activities.
  • 29% share their views and opinions on issues they find interesting.
  • 20% share details of their personal lives.

2) It allows them to communicate and interact with other people through social media.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Simplilearn and True List

  • 78% of adults take screen time as an opportunity to interact and stay in touch with other people.
  • 40% communicate with their friends.
  • 27% meet new people and become friends with them.

3) It provides them entertainment.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Source: Simplilearn

  • 37% of adults read and watch entertaining content during their screent time.
  • 19% follow celebrities and get updates about them.

4) It gives them access to the latest happenings in the society.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Data Reportal and Simplilearn

  • 69% of adults use their screen time to participate and get involved in things happening in their society through social media.
  • 62% read online news.
  • 22% catch up on latest news, fashion, trends, and the like.

5) It aids their work and business needs.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Data Reportal and Simplilearn

  • 27% to 52.3% of working adults use their screen time to research about brands and products on social media.
  • 24% of them build networks for work and business.
  • 19% of hiring managers make hiring decisions based on information they find on social media.

6) It allows them to shop, buy, and promote products online.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Data Reportal and Simplilearn

  • 28.2% to 68.3% of adults buy online products every week.
  • 49% promote products they patronize.
  • 30% do online window shopping.

What Risks Do They Get From Excessive Screen Time?

1) Too much screen time results in vision problems.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: FE News and UAB Medicine

  • Out of 67% to 90% of adults, mostly American, who use screened devices for more than 2 hours a day, nearly 60% experience symptoms of digital eye strain (DES) or computer vision syndrome (CVS).
  • Among surveyed office workers in 40 countries, 39.8% suffer from tired eyes, 31.5% from dry eyes, 30.8% from eye discomfort, 30.6% from eye strain, 27.5% from irritated or burning eyes, 26.3% from sensitivity to bright light, 23.4% from blurred vision when looking into a distance, 22.3% from headache, 21.6% from difficulty in refocusing vision, and 17.3% from blurred vision when viewing the computer, all caused by too much screen radiation.
  • 77% of adults in the UK feel their eyes get strained after a long day’s work on the screen.
  • 80% of European millennials using screened gadgets experience eye fatigue.

2) It causes sleep disorder.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Frontiers and True List

  • 40.6% of surveyed adults aged 18 to 24 years have difficulty sleeping due to too much screen radiation.
  • Among surveyed Norwegian college and university students, 34.2% of females and 22.2% of males suffer from insomnia.
  • Out of over 7,000 American university students, only about 33% meet the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. 

3) It negatively affects their academic performance.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Inner Drive and True List

  • 35.1% of adults aged 18 to 24 years report that excessive screen time, characterized by overexposure to social media, may result in poor academic performance.
  • Research suggests that 4 or more hours of daily screen time may lead to a lack of learning motivation, resulting in lower academic achievement.
  • Based on studies, this problem more commonly occurs among older students than younger ones because the older ones usually spend more time on the screen and are more psychologically vulnerable.

4) It results in social media addiction.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Influencer Marketing Hub and True List

  • Up to 40% of adult online users aged 18 to 22 years in the US identify themselves as social media addicts because they spend too much time on the screen.
  • The same is true with 37% of those aged 23 to 38 years, 26% of those aged 39 to 54 years, and 21% of those aged 55 to 64 years.
  • 36.5% of adults can’t survive a day without going online.
  • 33.9% of them are afraid to miss out on social media trends.
  • 21.6% become restless when they miss time checking messages on social media.
  • Globally, more than 200 million people suffer from social media addiction.

5) It may lead to depression and isolation.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Child Mind, Influencer Marketing Hub and True List

  • Young adults who spend more time browsing social media tend to have 13% to 66% higher rate of reported depression than those who spend less.
  • Young adults aged 19 to 32 years show signs of social isolation as linked to the amount of time they spend on social media.
  • Adults who spend more than 2 hours a day on social media are found to be twice as likely to feel socially isolated than those who spend less.
  • Surveyed adults who visit social media 58 times a week are thrice as likely to experience social isolation compared to those who rarely do so.

How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults?

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Reid Health, Superhuman, Uswitch, and Website Builder

While screens have been an indispensable part of adults’ daily life, especially in this modern era, moderation is still advised.

For this, experts advise limiting recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours a day. 

Did you catch that? It’s recreational screen time, not those hours spent working. But it doesn’t mean you can abuse your health spending as many hours as you want at work.

What Are Some Ways to Limit Screen Time?

1) Establish screen time tracking and management habits.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Active Health, Henry Ford Health, Reid Health, Scripps, Superhuman, and Time

Set an alarm or timer to limit your recreational screen time to the recommended amount we’ve discussed earlier.

To monitor it, use your device’s built-in screen time tracker. If there’s none, download an app from any online app store.

Another important thing, turn off your screen notifications when and where necessary to avoid distraction, especially when you’re working.

If turning off is not applicable, at least filter them to urgent ones so you can maximize your screen time prioritizing important things to do.

2) Take a screen break.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Active Health, Henry Ford Health, Reid Health, Scripps, Superhuman, and Time

Opthalmologists recommend following the 20-20-20 rule.

For every 20 minutes spent on the screen, take a 20-second screen break and focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away.

This practice “[relaxes] the eyes from being in [a] prolonged state of accommodation and [focus],” says Dr. Megan Collins, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Wilmer Eye Institute.

In addition, take 3 to 4 hours each day completely detached from the screen, as advised by Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

During your break, get up, stretch out, and move around.

3) Keep screened devices away when and where necessary.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults
Photo credit: Canva

Sources: Active Health, Henry Ford Health, Reid Health, Scripps, Superhuman, and Time

As we’ve discussed in our curation articles about screen time recommendations for children and adolescents, screened gadgets are to be set aside during mealtime, bedtime, and other activities dedicated for rest and recreation.

So, don’t bring those devices into the kitchen, dining area, bedroom, bathroom, and the like. With this, not only do you avoid disturbance but also protect your gadgets from possible danger.

Concerning bedtime, Dr. Gregory Marcus, the associate chief of cardiology for research at UCSF Health, recommends “leaving your phone in another room. Make it difficult to get [to] your phone so you don’t just naturally reach for it.”

4) Spend more time with real life.

Data Curation: A Case Study on How Much Average Screen Time is Recommended for Adults

Sources: Active Health, Henry Ford Health, Reid Health, Scripps, Superhuman, and Time

Life doesn’t revolve around the digital world. There’s more to enjoy in the real world.

So, spend time with your family and friends doing the things you love such as playing board games or eating your favorite food.

Engage in music, arts, sports, dance, and other worthwhile activities that actively utilize your physical, mental, and social skills.

You may also want to go out on a nature walk, mountain hike, picnic, camping, sightseeing, and other adventures.

What else do you have in mind?

Let’s Come to the Conclusion!

1) Adults spend up to 19 hours of average daily screen time, given the following statistics:

  • Globally, their average screen time a day is up to 6 hours and 55 minutes long.
  • In America, that amounts to about 19 hours long.
  • In Asia, that is about 10 hours and 27 minutes long.
  • In Africa, that is about 10 hours and 46 minutes long.
  • In Europe, that is about 7 hours and 56 minutes long.

2) Young adults spend the most amount of screen time.

  • They are mostly Generation Z and millennial adults aged 16 to 24 years.

3) The top 4 activities that take most of adults’ screen time are the following:

  • Watching television
  • Watching movies and online videos
  • Browsing social media
  • Gaming

4) South Africa has the highest average daily screen time worldwide, based on these findings:

  • Philippines ranks first among top 15 countries with the highest average daily screen time (5 hours and 47 minutes) on mobile phones.
  • South Africa ranks first among top 15 countries with the highest average daily screen time (5 hours and 37 minutes) on computers.
  • Overall, South Africa makes 10 hours and 46 minutes while the Philippines only makes 10 hours and 27 minutes.

5) Screen time offer adults the following benefits:

  • Opportunity to express themselves
  • Means to communicate and interact with other people
  • Entertainment
  • Access to the latest happenings in the society
  • Work and business aid
  • Means to shop, buy, and promote products online

6) Screen time poses the following risks on adults:

  • Vision problems
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Poor academic performance
  • Social media addiction
  • Depression and isolation

7) To limit screen time, practice the following:

  • Establish screen time tracking and management habits
  • Take a screen break.
  • Keep screened devices away when and where necessary.
  • Spend more time with real life.

We Want to Know Your Thoughts

So, you’ve seen that even adults need to take moderation in using the screen. 

Now, based on what you’ve learned from this article, how do you think you can manage your own screen time?

Share with us in the comments below.

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