Average Screen Time_ US vs. the rest of the world

Ever wondered whether your screen time is above average? This guide takes a look at how much time Americans spend in front of a screen compared to the rest of the world.

Worldwide, the average person spends a total of 6 hours and 40 minutes looking at a screen each day (for internet-connected activities). This includes 2 hours and 23 minutes scrolling through social media channels, 1 hour and 25 minutes of streaming music, and 49 minutes of listening to podcasts. And the majority of this (3 hours and 50 minutes) is spent on mobiles.

But how does this worldwide average compare to the United States and other countries around the world? And how could the potential TikTok ban in the US affect Americans’ social media consumption?

Find out below.

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

According to data from DataReportal, the average American spends 7 hours and 3 minutes looking at a screen every day. This is above average and 1 hour longer than the British who average 6 hours and 2 minutes of screen time per day. But it is nearly 2 and a half hours less than the biggest screen-time consumers, South Africans, who average around 9 hours and 24 minutes a day.

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

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 Russians who average 4 hours and 24 minutes of screen time on their computers every day. Russians spent 15 minutes longer on their computers compared to 2023’s highest computer-screen users, South Africa, who this year spent an average of 4 hours and 9 minutes on their desktops.

Worldwide, the average user spends 2 hours and 50 minutes looking at their computer screens and 3 hours and 50 minutes looking at their mobiles. Both mobile and computer screen use remains very similar to 2023’s figures (decreasing by just 1 minute for computer screen use and increasing by 4 minutes for mobile use).

Americans are above average for their desktop screen consumption (3 hours and 24 minutes) but are just below average for their mobile consumption (3 hours and 39 minutes). Across the pond, though, Britons spend longer on their desktops (3 hours and 5 minutes a day) compared to mobiles (8 minutes less at 2 hours and 57 minutes per day).

Filipinos are the biggest mobile screen consumers, spending 5 hours and 20 minutes a day looking at them (this dropped by 11 minutes from 2023’s average in the Philippines). They’re closely followed by Brazilian users who spend 5 hours and 19 minutes looking at mobile phone screens (also a year-on-year drop of 9 minutes).

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 42 percent of our waking hours looking at a screen. South Africans, however, are spending almost 60 percent of their wakeful hours on a computer or mobile. At the other end of the scale are the Japanese who spend 24.6 percent of their wakeful hours looking at a screen.

But why are screentime hours increasing and which countries improved their screentime?

While the average person’s screen time did increase this year by 3 minutes, the majority of countries (26 out of the total 43) did improve on their screen time. Romania saw the biggest improvement where the average person slashed their screen time consumption by 32 minutes (from 7 hours and 3 minutes to 6 hours and 31 minutes).

19 other countries spent longer on the screens compared to last year though. People in the United Arab Emirates increased their screentime the most by 42 minutes (from 7 hours and 29 minutes to 8 hours and 11 minutes). Russia had the second-worst increase at 24 minutes (from 7 hours and 57 minutes to 8 hours and 21 minutes).

With more countries improving their screen time this year, the most obvious reason for a drop in screen time would be a continuation of normalcy, post-pandemic. Also, people have become more aware of the negative impacts lengthy screen time has on their mental health. Furthermore, advancements in technology, such as improved digital well-being features on smartphones and applications, may have contributed to the decrease in screen time by encouraging users to monitor and limit their screen usage.

Despite being this year’s biggest screentime consumers, South Africans improved their screen time use by 14 minutes (from 9 hours and 38 minutes to 9 hours and 24 minutes). Other countries that improved their screen time by large amounts include Mexico (by 30 minutes), Turkey (by 27 minutes), and Poland (by 25 minutes).

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

Worldwide, the average person spends 2 hours and 23 minutes on social media each day. Americans consume less than this, averaging 2 hours and 18 minutes per day. And the biggest consumers are South Africans, spending 3 hours and 41 minutes per day on social media.

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

Saudi Arabians spend the largest proportion of their daily screen time (43.36%) consuming social media. This is closely followed by Mexicans (42.45%). These figures aren’t too far from the average, however, which is 35.75 percent.

32.62 percent of Americans’ screen time is taken up with social media (2 hours and 18 minutes). This is similar to the British who consume 1 hour and 49 minutes of social media per day on average (this is just over 30 percent of their overall screen time).

The social media platforms that Americans are most fond of include Facebook, used by 75.3 percent of internet users, Instagram (63.9%), Messenger (61.3%), TikTok (50.2%), and X (Twitter) (41%).

However, with the passing of a bill to ban TikTok in the US just last week, these figures could change dramatically in the coming months should the bill succeed. US representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that aims to ban TikTok due to its concerns over Chinese ownership and data risks. The legislation would force the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, to divest its US assets or face a ban. President Biden has made it clear that if the legislation reaches his desk, he will sign it. TikTok, however, opposes the move citing freedom of speech and economic worries for the 7 million small businesses and 170 million Americans who use its service.

Elsewhere, the high consumption of social media in South American, Asian, and African countries is reflected in the large number of social media accounts people in these countries tend to have. With Brazilians having 8 accounts on average, it’s not hard to see why they need 3 hours and 37 minutes to digest all of the information on there!

People in the UAE do have a higher average number of social media accounts (8.3) but spend around 40 minutes less per day on there than Brazilians (2 hours 58 minutes). Other countries with high social media accounts include the Philippines (8), Malaysia (7.9), South Africa, and Indonesia (both with 7.8).

The average person worldwide had 6.7 accounts (which is similar to the decline in social media usage) dropped from 7.2 accounts last year. The United States had the same as the global average (6.7) and the United Kingdom (6.4) was below average.

94.3% of Americans stream TV on the internet

Another huge portion of screen time in most countries is dedicated to streaming TV. On average, 91.7 percent of people will use the internet to stream their favorite TV shows and movies.

South Africans, once again, had the highest proportion of people using the internet to stream TV with a massive 98 percent of the population doing so. This is closely followed by people from Chile (97%), Mexicans (96.9%), and Turks (96.8%).

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

By percentage of internet users, Brazilians remained the most likely to listen to podcasts with 39.7 percent of users tuning in to their favorite podcasts for an average of 1 hour and 4 minutes per day. But it’s Egyptians who are listening for the most amount of time per day (listening for 1 hour and 10 minutes on average). Globally, 20.6 percent of internet users tune into podcasts for an average of 49 minutes per day.

South Africans also boast the highest percentage of internet users listening to music streaming services with 52.2 percent. They are listening for an average of 2 hours and 9 minutes per day. The biggest consumers are, however, in Chile, where users average 2 hours and 11 minutes per day. Around the globe, 38.6 percent of internet users are listening to music for an average of 1 hour and 25 minutes per day.

As for Americans, 50 percent of internet users are listening to music on streaming services for an average of 1 hour and 58 minutes a day, and 28.9 percent of all users average 54 minutes per day listening to podcasts.

Other top internet-based activities

Some of the other key ways people are using the internet are using videos as an online learning source, watching vlogs, accessing financial services, and checking health symptoms online.

On average:

  • 39.9 percent of internet users watch online videos as a source of learning (including how-to videos, tutorial videos, or educational videos) each week
  • 23.8 percent of internet users watch vlogs each week
  • 22.3 percent of internet users check their health symptoms online each week
  • 26.6 percent of internet users, use the internet for financial services (including banking, investment, or insurance websites/apps) each month

Filipinos aren’t just the biggest vlog users (50.7% of internet users are consuming this type of online content) but also have a high percentage of internet users (58.3%) using online videos as a source of learning, South Africans had a higher percentage though at 60.8 percent.

Norwegians (a new addition this year) had the highest percentage of internet users who made use of a banking, investment, or insurance website app each month (50.9%). And Chileans have the biggest percentage (38.7%) of internet users checking health symptoms online each week!

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.

Best practices to reduce your screen time

In an age dominated by screens, it is no secret that managing screen time has become an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some best practices for reducing your screen time:

  • Set clear boundaries: Establish certain times throughout the day when screens are off-limits, such as during meals or before bedtime.
  • Prioritize offline activities: Make a strong effort to engage in activities that don’t involve screens, such as reading a book, physical activity, or finding a new hobby.
  • Utilize screen time management tools: Take full advantage of built-in features contained in smartphones and apps to track screen time use and set daily limit reminders.
  • Create screen-free zones: Around your house, designate certain areas that are off-limits for digital use. Instead practice mindfulness, to encourage relaxation, conversation, or quality time with loved ones.
  • Be consistent: The hardest part is to be consistent. Making less screen time part of your routine will help to create healthier habits.


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.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, and Norway have been added to the list of countries.

Data researcher: Charlotte Bond