The digital interactions among devices such as computers, televisions, tablets, and smartphones all represent forms of “screen time”.
We have some interesting, if not startling screen time statistics for our readers in this article.
Let’s start with how the term “screen time” was coined.
The term “screentime”, or “screen time” has been around for almost 100 years when it was first used to refer to movie length.
In 1991, it referred to how much time an actor received on the screen.
Today, screen time has become a big part of everyday life for most people all over the world.
If you use social media, it’s likely that you have seen memes with people walking, sitting, and otherwise interacting on their mobile phones even while they are with others.
It’s unlikely that most of us don’t even realize just how much time we’re spending looking at our smartphones, tablets, computers, and television screens.
Try to keep that thought in mind as you consume the following statistics about screen time.
Key Screen Time Statistics 2024
- South Africa takes the prize for the most screen time over all other countries.
- The global average of time spent on screen time is 6 hours and 57 minutes.
- In 2021, the global average time spent per day on the internet was 6 hours and 58 minutes.
- South Africa tops the charts in streaming and gaming screen times.
- In the United States, the average screen time amounts to 7 hours and 4 minutes daily.
- The United States daily times spent on social media below the global average, but for video gaming the figures are higher.
- A whopping 74% of parents say that their child aged 2 and younger watched television.
- One survey showed the 41% of adults in the United States admitted that screen time management was challenging.
- People pick up their smartphones an average of 58 times per day.
- 2021 global statistics showed that the world’s population spent about 145 minutes per day on social media.
Worldwide Screen Time Statistics 2024
In this portion of the article, we will focus on global screen time statistics. We will discuss screen time averages all over the world.
1. South Africa Takes the Prize for The Most Screen Time Over All Other Countries.
Statistics have shown that screen time in South Africa accounts total of 10 hours and 46 minutes of screen time per day.
This screen time includes 48% mobile screen time, and 52% computer screen time.
The next closest in screen time hours after South Africa is the Philippines, followed closely by Brazil and Colombia.
- The Philippines: 10 hours and 27 minutes total screen time hours per day. Mobile: 5 hours and 47 minutes (55%). Computer: 4 hours and 40 minutes (45%).
- Brazil: Total screen time per day includes 10 hours and 19 minutes. Mobile: 5 hours and 25 minutes (53%). Computer: 4 hours and 54 minutes (47%).
- Columbia: Total daily screen time accounts for 10 hours and 3 minutes. Mobile: 5 hours and 9 minutes (51%). Computer: 4 hours and 54 minutes (49%).
2. The Global Average of Time Spent on Screen Time Is 6 Hours and 57 Minutes.
Globally, mobile users are spending an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes on their mobile screens, which comes to 53% of all screen time.
Global computer screen time accounts for 3 hours and 14 minutes on average, which amounts to 47% of all screen time.
The overall average percentage of screen time people from all over the world spend on their screens is 44%.
3. In 2021, The Global Average Time Spent per Day on The Internet Was 6 Hours and 58 Minutes.
All over the world, the average screen time statistics for 2021 showed that people were spending 6 hours and 58 minutes on the internet.
That’s 4 seconds more than in 2020.
How were they using that screen time? Screen time metrics included streaming via television, using social media, and playing on gaming consoles.
Here is how that’s divided.
- Streaming TV Hours: 2020: 3 hours and 24 minutes. 2021: 3 hours and 20 minutes.
- Gaming Console Hours: 2020: 1 hour and 11 minutes. 2021: 1 hour and 12 minutes.
- Social Media Hours: 2020: 2 hours and 25 minutes. 2021: 2 hours and 27 minutes.
It appears that streaming television hours are down, but social media and gaming console hours are slightly higher.
4. South Africa Tops the Charts in Streaming and Gaming Screen Times.
The daily average hours spent on mobile and computer screen times aren’t the only screen times where they are on top.
South Africa also leads in streaming TV (96.6%) and playing video games (90.2%).
Again, the Philippines, Brazil, and Colombia are on the heels of South Africa. Also, Argentina and Malaysia are in the top five.
- The Philippines: Streaming TV: 98.3%. Video Games: 96.4%.
- Brazil: Streaming TV: 97.7%. Video Games: 89.3%.
- Columbia: Streaming TV: 95.5%. Video Games: 86.9%
- Argentina: Streaming TV: 96.7%. Video Games: 86.6%
- Malaysia: Streaming TV: 95.5%. Video Games: 90.1%.
5. As for Daily Times Spend on Video Games and Social Media, South Africa Also Holds the Lead in Average Daily Hours Spent.
- South Africa: Video Game Hours: 1 hour and 3 minutes. Social Media Hours: 3 hours and 43 minutes.
- The Philippines: Video Game Hours: 1 hour and 34 minutes. Social Media Hours: 4 hours and 6 minutes.
- Brazil: Video Game Hours: 1 hour and 10 minutes. Social Media Hours: 3 hours and 41 minutes.
- Columbia: Video Game Hours: 1 hour and 6 minutes. Social Media Hours: 3 hours and 46 minutes.
- Argentina: Video Game Hours: 1 hour and 1 minute. Social Media Hours: 3 hours and 26 minutes.
- Malaysia: Video Game Hours: 1 hour and 13 minutes. Social Media Hours: 3 hours and 2 minutes.
That’s the breakdown of screen time across devices in the top five countries of daily hours spent.
United States Screen Time Statistics
We have a few screen time statistics to share with you from the United States.
It’s only slightly different from the overall global statistics about screen times.
6. In the United States, the Average Screen Time Amounts to 7 Hours and 4 Minutes Daily.
Out of this daily average of 7 hours and 4 minutes of screen time in the United States, it’s closely divided between mobile and computer screen times.
On mobile devices, the average daily screentime accounts for 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Computer screen time in the United States makes up 3 hours and 34 minutes per day. It’s literally only a 4-minute difference.
7. The United States Runs Behind Other Countries in Streaming TV and Playing Video Games in Screen Time Hours.
In the United States, 91.6% of the population’s screen time is spent on streaming television.
In contrast, the global average population is 93.5%.
As for video gaming, 80.9% is the United States population percentage of screen time allocation compared to 83.6% of the global average.
Therefore, it may come as a surprise to you to know that the United States lags the world average regarding the proportion of the population who stream TV by -1.9 and in playing video games by -2.7%.
8. The United States Daily Times Spent on Social Media Below the Global Average, but For Video Gaming the Figures Are Higher.
The daily time spent on social media in the United States accounts for 2 hours and 14 minutes, which is 13 minutes lower than the global average.
Clearly, the United States doesn’t spend as much time on social media as the rest of the world, even if it’s just by a little.
The average daily hours spent playing video games accounts for 1 hour and 27 minutes in the United States, which is 15 minutes higher than the global average of 1 hour and 12 minutes.
9. Teens in The United States Spend More Screen Time than Other Age Groups.
It’s obvious that age plays its part in the consumption of screentime in the United States.
Teenagers in the nation spend an average of more than 3 hours and 16 minutes each day watching videos or television.
To breakdown the average daily screen times of teenagers in the United States, we have this list of screen times.
- Watching Videos/TV: 3 hours and 16 minutes.
- Video Games: 1 hour and 46 minutes.
- Social Media: 1 hour and 27 minutes.
- Web Browsing: 51 minutes.
- Other: 29 minutes.
- Video Chats: 20 minutes.
- E-reading: 15 minutes.
- Content Creation: 14 minutes.
Another little tidbit is that teenagers from lower income homes ($35,000 or less) spend 2 hours and 3 minutes more on screen time than their higher income level ($100,000 and over) counterparts.
Teens in households with $35,000 or less in income spend an average of 9 hours and 19 minutes per day on screens.
Teens in higher level income households who make $100,000 plus in income spend an average of 7 hours and 16 minutes per day on screen time.
(Comparitech, Common Sense Census 2021)
10. Screen Use Among Tweens Has Risen Between 2015 and 2021.
Tweens account for the age group between 8 to 12 years old. This is the age group that comes in second only to teens in screen time.
Between 2015 and 2021, the daily average screen time among tweens rose from 4 hours and 36 minutes to 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Conversely, between 2015 and 2021, teen (13- to 18-year-olds) screen time increased from a daily average of 6 hours and 40 minutes to 8 hours and 39 minutes.
(Common Sense Census 2021)
Important Screen Time Statistics You Need to Know
This section will cover a few more important statistics you need to know.
11. An Estimated 77.4% of China’s Population Play Video Games.
Since China is known for Tencent, a massive video gaming company, it should come as no surprise that China has so many gamers in its country.
Likewise, China has been referred to as the “Games Industry Capital of the World”.
China is home to some of the biggest gamine companies.
That said, the average number of hours Chinese citizens spend on gaming consoles is 1 hour and 15 minutes, which is only 3 minutes more than the world’s mean figure.
It’s been reported that the Chinese government is working to limit screen time for children to 3 hours per week, which would account for less than 26 minutes each day.
(Reuters, Data Reportal, Comparitech)
12. A Whopping 74% of Parents Say that Their Child Aged 2 and Younger Watched Television.
So, 74% of parents with children aged 2 and younger are watching television, while 90% of older children are spending screen time on television.
We have a full list of screen times by devices for you to see the ages and where children are getting their screen time.
You will notice that a few of these ages fall within the tweens age group.
- 0 to 2 years old: TV: 74%; Tablet: 35%; Smartphone: 49%; Desktop: 12%; Gaming: 9%.
- 3 to 4 years old: TV: 90%; Tablet: 64%; Smartphone: 62%; Desktop: 21%; Gaming: 25%.
- 5 to 8 years old: TV: 93%; Tablet: 81%; Smartphone: 59%; Desktop: 54%; Gaming: 58%.
- 9 to 11 years old: TV: 91%; Tablet: 78%; Smartphone: 67%; Desktop: 73%; Gaming: 68%.
As you read these percentages among the youth age groups, you can see that there is a dynamic correlation among the age groups and in the proportion of the age groups in device usage.
13. 51% of United States Parents Claim Their 11-Year-Old or Under Child Has Their Own Smartphone.
Children under 12 years old are getting their own smart phones these days.
Another 17% of United States parents of children with smartphones say that they got smartphones for them between the ages of 9 and 11.
Also, 35% of parents claim their child with a smartphone received theirs between the ages of 5 and 8.
Unbelievably, 6% of parents said their child got their smartphone at age 2 or younger, while 8% said their child got their smartphone between the ages of 3 and 4.
Conversely, 43% say their children under 12 doesn’t have their own smartphone.
That’s not to say that they don’t allow their child to use the parents’ smartphones. They just don’t have one of their own.
Another 40% of parents with children aged 11 and under say their child doesn’t interact with a smartphone at all.
14. One Survey Showed the 41% of Adults in The United States Admitted that Screen Time Management Was Challenging.
Addiction to screen time is a thing and it impacts people who use their smartphones and other devices.
A study of over 2,000 United States adults showed that they believe that less than half of the time spent on their screens is productive.
This is in addition to the 41% of United States adults who said that screen time management is challenging in the same survey.
Also, 21% of adults with children said they feel guilty about how much screen time their children are getting.
15. Elementary Aged Children Who Engage in 2 or More Hours of Screen Time per Day Experience Adverse Side Effects.
Some of the “side effects” that can occur in children who are elementary school aged include emotional, social, and attentional problems.
However, similar studies have revealed that screen time doesn’t adversely affect academic performance.
Here is a list of adverse issues that may arise from too much screen time among children.
- Obesity due to the lack of nature and living a sedentary lifestyle.
- Sleep deprivation due to how the blue light disrupts the production of melatonin needed for sleep. Also, it interrupts the child’s circadian rhythm.
- Delayed learning in young children and language understanding issues.
- Type 2 diabetes susceptibility due to the potential to develop insulin resistance.
Something of interest to all people who tend to use their screens a lot is that reducing your social media interactions to a maximum of 30 minutes per day can help reduce depression and boost overall wellbeing.
(Mayo Clinic, Quartz)
16. People Pick up Their Smartphones an Average of 58 Times per Day.
While some people pick their phones up for work-related tasks like checking for important emails and such, not all pickups are so purposeful.
An alarming realization for one user says they found themselves picking up their phone just to look at it, and then to be led to checking their social media when they are supposed to be working.
Even the most innocent reason for looking at your phone can result in several minutes to over an hours of screen time.
Do you find yourself doing this?
However, just picking up your phone at work doesn’t mean it’s impacting your work performance.
It’s how often you’re getting distracted with screen time that does that.
17. 50% of Phone Pickups Can Create a Chain Reaction.
While 70% of all phone pickups last less than 2 minutes, 50% can set off longer sessions.
This can result in distractions that take an average of over 23 minutes to refocus.
Therefore, it’s revealed that compulsively picking up your phone to check it can result in lowered productivity and lack of focus.
This is true at work, home, school, or during leisure time.
(Department of Informatics, University of California)
18. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Screen Time Among Children and Teens Almost Doubled.
A study by eMarketer revealed that during the pandemic, device usage almost doubled among kids in the United States.
Here’s a list of how much device usage rose pre-pandemic to full pandemic.
- 0 to 4: Pre-pandemic: 13%. Pandemic: 26%
- 5 to 10: Pre-pandemic: 17%. Pandemic: 44%
- 11 to 13: Pre-pandemic: 23%. Pandemic: 47%
- 14 to 17: Pre-pandemic: 32%. Pandemic: 62%
- Overall total: Pre-pandemic: 21%. Pandemic: 44%
You will see how some age groups’ device usage more than doubled.
In India, a study showed that screen time increase by 100% among children during the lockdowns.
(eMarketer, Best Media Info)
19. 85% of British Mothers Say They Have Used Technology to Keep Their Children Occupied.
Honestly, this shouldn’t be one of the most shocking statistics you will read in this article.
Consider how long mothers across the globe have used television screen time to occupy their kids.
Besides 85% of British mothers admitting that they have used technology to occupy their children aged 2 to 12, another 35% of parents said they allowed gadget usages to entertaining their children.
Another 23% said they used technology and gadgets to help their children master technology.
20. 2021 Global Statistics Showed that The World’s Population Spent About 145 Minutes per Day on Social Media.
Also, Statista revealed that in 2022, the daily social media usage across global internet users came to 147 minutes per day, which is 2 minutes more than in 2021.
The Philippines is where the most hours spent on social media occur with 3 hours and 53 minutes of screen time per day.
The penetration rate across social media at the global level accounts for almost 54%.
Western Europe alone has a 79% penetration rate for social media usage. In the United States, the daily screentime spent on social media accounted for only 2 hours and 3 minutes.
What Do the Experts Say About Screen Time?
Experts are saying that we should all be limiting our screen time, but especially for our children.
They believe that spending time outdoors on physical activities are healthier and overall, better for our wellbeing.
Since screen time has been shown to lead to obesity, this all makes sense.
How Much Time Should I Spend on My Smartphone?
Researchers, scientists, and other experts say that we should limit our screen time to no more than 30 minutes per day doe personal reasons.
Keep in mind that they don’t include work-related or school-related screen time, which give you no choice.
It’s been discovered that too much screen time can result in several psychological and health issues.
Also, all that sitting, even if it’s for work or school, is not healthy.
You may find you fall asleep and stay asleep better when you reduce your screen time.
How Long Should My Teenager Spend on Screen Time?
If you’re considering reducing screen time for your teenagers, you will discover that the latest suggestions are more flexible than they used to be.
Restricting screen time is no longer as strict because what’s more important is how they spend their screen time.
For instance, educational and entertainment types of content can be beneficial, while inappropriate pictures or violent content isn’t.
It’s more likely to be recommended to restrict any inappropriate or violent content for kids and teens.
Ultimately, it’s up to all parents to determine screen time or limits for their children and teens.
Feel free to get expert advice from school counselors, teachers, doctors, or psychologists.
How much time are you spending on your devices? How many times do you pick up your phone?
These are questions that people are starting to ask themselves, especially since the pandemic.
Some parents are concerned with their kids getting addicted to their devices and screen time.
Other parents are encouraging screen time for assorted reasons. What’s your take on that?
Since phone pickups seem so frequent, would you be willing to record every time you pick up your phone just to check it with no purpose in mind?
If it’s a work or school distraction, we should all be tracking and monitoring our phone pickups.
We hope you have learned something interesting and helpful to you after reading these screen time statistics.