LONDON — Pixels permeate nearly every part of modern life, making a complete shutdown virtually impossible, it seems. A new study on screen time only confirms that notion, finding that the average adult spends a significant portion of the day looking at screens of various sorts.
Psychologists warn the research is a gentle reminder that you should limit your screen time, as overuse can lead to serious real-world problems.
Encore Tickets, a UK-based ticket wholesaler, surveyed 2,000 British adults, seeking to better understand their screen use habits. Their findings may shock you.
According to their survey’s results, the average Brit spends six hours a day staring at his or her collection of screens, whether featured on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or TV. Incredibly, a quarter of respondents say they spend a ghastly 10 hours — or more — with their eyes locked on a screen, day in and day out. If you fall into this category, it may be time for a tech intervention.
Smartphones may very well be the root of the problem, with the average adult in the UK using their device two hours a day. Superusers — about five percent of the population — spend upwards of six hours a day on their phones.
“The research shows that nine out of 10 of us say screens are a necessary part of everyday life and more than a third of people say they couldn’t live without screens,” explains Dr. Kiki Leutner, a professor and business psychologist at University College London, in a release.
“Attributing this kind of attachment to an object can be damaging in the long term,” she adds. “People who have constant contact and validation from mobile devices may deepen their dependence on others, affecting both their behaviour and relationships.”
The researchers also noted the rise of “multi-screening,” which describes the simultaneous use of a handheld device while watching a TV show. Sixty percent of respondents indicated that they frequently multi-screened, with the internet and social media most commonly diverting their attention. Multi-screeners seem to be know that their habit is problematic — 70 percent admitted that it hampered their ability to follow a program — but that hasn’t seemed to change their behavior.
“By using multiple devices we may like to think we are multitasking, but actually we could be concentrating less,” Dr. Leutner shares.
She recommends that those who tend to over-rely on their devices regularly find ways to unplug. Example activities may include attending live events or taking a stroll outdoors.