Survey: Americans Spend Nearly Half Their Waking Hours Looking At Screens

For all the studies that tell us how important it is to limit screen time, does it sometimes feel that no matter where we are or what we do, there’s a screen in front of us one way or another? Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Americans spend nearly half of their waking hours looking at screens, according to a survey of 2,000 adults. More specifically, the survey found that 42% of the time Americans are awake, their eyes are fixated on a television, smartphone, computer, tablet, or other device. Supposing the average American slept eight hours a night (not even close to the case for most adults), the researchers calculated that people spend about six hours and 43 minutes a day staring at a screen. Over a typical lifespan, that’s 7,956 days. And the problem is only getting worse. Of those surveyed, 79% said their screen time has increased over the past five years, with four in ten admitting it’s grown “a lot.” Three in four participants believe they simply spend too much time in front of screens. In fact, 53% take breaks from the computer — by checking their phone. Another 27% admits to watching TV and looking at their phone at the same time. “We live in a digitally-connected world and these survey results show how digital devices have completely transformed our lives, no matter our age,” said Dr. Michele Andrews, an optometrist with contact lens manufacturer CooperVision, the company that commissioned the survey. “Digital eye fatigue is faced by millions of Americans every day because of this non-stop screen time.” Researchers found that the respondents were generally able to last about four hours before dealing with eye discomfort and requiring a break, but the average person still takes three breaks a day for relief. Of course, many people don’t have a choice, with three-quarters of respondents required to use a computer at the office. Yet despite the growing problem, only half of those surveyed felt that society as a whole has become more digitized and screen-focused over the past five years. The survey also found, likely to no one’s surprise, that millennials were most attached to their digital devices. Age plays a substantial role in the amount of time people spend on digital devices, with millennials being more screen-oriented than other generations. A whopping 92% of the 18 to 35 age group checks their phone immediately after waking up, compared to just 51% of those over 55. About three in five millennials also admit feeling “anxious and irritated” if they can’t check their phone, while only one in five baby boomers feel the same way. Meanwhile, as a whole, 73% say that all the screen time they log makes them feel lethargic, and 64% feel happier after getting a significant break from a screen. The survey was conducted by market research firm OnePoll.

A sign of the times…

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