Average Screen Time_ US vs. the rest of the world

Worldwide, the average person spends a total of 6 hours and 57 minutes looking at a screen each day (for internet-connected activities). And the majority of this (3 hours and 43 minutes) is spent on mobiles. This includes 2 hours 27 minutes scrolling through social media channels,1 hour and 33 minutes of streaming music, and 55 minutes listening to podcasts.

But how does this worldwide average compare to the United States and other countries around the world?

Find out below.

The average American spends over 7 hours looking at a screen each day

According to data from DataReportal, the average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes looking at a screen every day. This is slightly below average and around 45 minutes longer than the British who average 6 hours and 12 minutes of screen time per day. But it is nearly four hours less than the biggest screen-time consumers, South Africans, who average around 10 hours and 46 minutes a day.

On the whole, the biggest screen-time consumers are located in Africa, Asia, and South America.

Children’s daily screen time rose exponentially during the pandemic

According to a new study from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), children’s screen time increased dramatically through the pandemic. It found that nearly 90 percent of Canadian children were exceeding the recommended two-hour daily limit, while Tunisian children (aged five to 11) increased their screen time by a whopping 111 percent.

Another study by the University of California-San Francisco found that US adolescents’ screen time doubled during the pandemic. Researchers found that 12 to 13-year-old children in the United States doubled their non-school-related screen time to 7.7 hours in May 2020, compared to just 3.8 hours the day before the pandemic.

Which countries are spending the most time on their desktops and mobiles?

How do the top figures change when we look at desktop and mobile use?

The biggest desktop screen time consumers are South Africans who average 5 hours and 37 minutes of screen time on their computers each day. This is over half an hour longer than the second-biggest computer screen time consumers in Brazil and Colombia. Here, users are gripped to their computers for 4 hours and 54 minutes each day.

Worldwide, the average user spends 3 hours and 14 minutes looking at their computer screens and 3 hours and 43 minutes looking at their mobiles.

Americans are just above average for their desktop screen consumption (3 hours 34 minutes) but are just below average for their mobile consumption (3 hours and 30 minutes). Desktop consumption is more dominant across the pond in the UK, too. Here, the average person spends 3 hours and 31 minutes looking at their desktop screen. But, when it comes to mobile screens, Brits are looking at theirs an hour less than the average, spending just 2 hours and 41 minutes looking at their mobile screens each day.

Filipinos are the biggest mobile screen consumers, spending 5 hours and 47 minutes a day looking at them. They’re closely followed by Thai users who spend 5 hours and 28 minutes looking at mobile phone screens.

So, just how much time are we dedicating to our screens?

If the average person sleeps for 8 hours, this means we’re spending nearly 44 percent of our waking hours looking at a screen. South Africans however, are spending almost 70 percent of their wakeful hours on a computer or mobile. At the other end of the scale are the Japanese who spend just less than 28 percent of their wakeful hours looking at a screen.

But where is screen time consumption getting worse?

Worldwide, the average person’s screen time only increased by two minutes with many countries noting a decrease in overall screen time from 2021 to 2022. The biggest improvements were seen in Singapore where the average person has slashed their screen time consumption by nearly 40 minutes (from 8 hours and 6 minutes to 7 hours and 28 minutes).

Having been the biggest consumers last year with nearly 11 hours of screen time, Filipinos have also made vast improvements, reducing their screen time consumption by nearly 30 minutes to 10 hours and 27 minutes.

Elsewhere, however, some countries have upped their screen time considerably. In the United Arab Emirates, the average user consumed 1 hour and 12 minutes more screen time than the previous year (rising from 7 hours and 24 minutes to 8 hours and 36 minutes). Turkish, Indian, South African, and Portuguese users have also upped their daily screen time usage by over 30 minutes.

The average American spends over 2 hours a day on social media

Worldwide, the average person spends 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media each day. Americans consume less than this, averaging 2 hours and 14 minutes per day. And it’s perhaps no surprise that the biggest consumers overall are Filipinos (with 4 hours and 6 minutes).

But which country is spending the largest chunk of their screen time on social media?

Saudi Arabians spend the largest proportion of their daily screen time (42.06%) consuming social media. This is closely followed by Egyptians (40.04%). These figures aren’t too far from the average, however, which is at 35.25 percent.

Just over 31 percent of Americans’ screen time is taken up with social media (2 hours and 14 minutes). This is slightly more than the British who consume 1 hour and 48 minutes of social media per day on average (this is just over 29 percent of their overall screen time).

The social media platforms that Americans are most fond of include Facebook, used by 74.2 percent of internet users, Messenger (61.1%), Instagram (60.7%), Tiktok (42.4%), and Twitter (41.8%).

The high consumption of social media in Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries is reflected in a large number of social media accounts people in these countries tend to have. With Brazilians having 8.7 accounts on average, it’s not hard to see why they need 3 hours and 41 minutes to digest all of the information on there! They are closely followed by those in India (8.6 accounts), the Philippines (8.5), and Indonesia (8.5).

The average person worldwide has 7.5 accounts, with both the United States (6.6) and the United Kingdom (6.3) being below average.

91.6% of Americans stream TV on the internet

Another huge portion of screen time in most countries is dedicated to streaming TV. On average, 93.5 percent of people will use the internet to stream their favorite TV shows and movies. This is a huge increase from the previous year when just 70 percent used the internet to stream TV.

Filipinos have the highest proportion of people using the internet to stream TV with a massive 98.3 percent of the population doing so. This is closely followed by Mexicans (97.9%), Brazilians (97.7%), and Indians (97.2%).

Which countries are listening to the most podcasts and streaming the most music?

By percentage of internet users, Brazilians have the most podcast users with 37 percent of users tuning in to their favorite podcasts for an average of 1 hour and 6 minutes per day. But it’s Egyptians who are listening for the most amount of time per day (listening for 1 hour and 18 minutes on average). Globally, 20.4 percent of internet users tune into podcasts for 55 minutes per day.

Elsewhere, Turkey boasts the highest percentage of internet users listening to music streaming services. 51.3 percent of Turkish internet users listen for an average of 1 hour and 46 minutes per day. The biggest consumers are, however, in Mexico, where users average 2 hours and 13 minutes per day. Around the globe, 39.6 percent of internet users are listening to music for an average of 1 hour and 33 minutes.

As for Americans, 44.9 percent of internet users are listening to music on streaming services for an average of 1 hour and 56 minutes a day, and 23.5 percent of all users average 58 minutes per day listening to podcasts.

As you can see from the above table, there is little correlation (if any) between screen time amounts and internet speeds. Therefore, higher consumption isn’t necessarily caused by slow internet speeds and waiting for pages to load.

Methodology

Using the data available from DataReportal.com, we looked at the varying screen times by device and activity to create viewing times for each country and to calculate the percentage of time people spend looking at their devices.

Data researcher: Charlotte Bond