In a previous post, I discussed a study that indicates that 2 hours is the maximum duration of time we should spend in front of a screen during leisure hours. To recap what the study authors have to say:
“This is a new research area, which has attracted attention only in the past 18 months to two years, but it has implications both for public-health recommendations and clinical guidelines. I think there is a direct message from our research, which is that there should be a cut-off of two hours daily screen time as a maximum during leisure hours.”
Unfortunately, I do not fully understand why this 2-hour limit should only apply to leisure hours. What about those who spend the whole day in front of a computer screen? And what about the fact that the boundary between working and leisure hours becomes hazy? A nephew of mine earns his living by playing the X-Box 8 hours a day.
So how much time do we really spend in front of the screen? There are many numbers and figures around but surprisingly few from reliable sources and up-to-date data. Here are some figures from SixWise.com
- The screen that gets the most viewing time is the television, at more than five hours a day for the average American
- People between the ages of 45 and 54 spent the most time in front of screens — over 9.5 hours a day
- Adults spend an average 142 minutes a day in front of computer screens
- Adults spend an average 20 minutes a day engaged with mobile devices
- People spend between 2 and 15 hours in front of the computer each day.
According to many sources, Americans spend 2.6 million minutes on Facebook each day.
The American Heart Association conducted a survey in 2009 and reported the following figures on social network use:
- 37% of respondents (35% men, 39% women) spend less than an hour social networking
- 18% spend 1 to 2 hours
- 7 % spend 2 to 3 hours
- 3% spend 3 to 4 hours
- 3% spend more than 4 hours, especially those aged between 18 and 25.
According to figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) (as quoted in kidshealth.org):
- two-thirds of infants and toddlers watch a screen an average of 2 hours a day
- kids under age 6 watch an average of about 2 hours of screen media a day, primarily TV and videos or DVDs
- kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games