Family with laptop, tablet and smartphone, everyone using digital devices

Family screen time (© leszekglasner -

NEW YORK — As millions of Americans sit in quarantine this year, many people probably feel their entire lives are spent staring at a computer screen. It turns out they may be right. A survey finds the average American will spend the equivalent of 44 years looking at some kind of digital screen. Researchers say this number has only increased since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Vision Direct, looked at the average amount of time spent on various devices throughout each day. The results reveal the typical American spends four hours and 30 minutes watching TV, four hours and 33 minutes looking at a smartphone, over three hours using a gaming device, and nearly five hours on a laptop.

All together, Americans are spending a whopping 17 hours and nine minutes looking at digital devices each day, according to the study. Over a full year, that adds up to just over 6,259 hours of total screen time. When to stretch that out over the average 60 years Americans live as adults, you’re looking at 44 years of staring at a screen!

Here’s the real shocking discovery — researchers say those figures are all pre-pandemic! The survey claims since COVID began, Americans are spending over 19 hours a day looking at some type of digital gadget during lockdown. Respondents say most of this extra time to due to boredom. More than three in four adults add they would be lost if they didn’t have their devices during the COVID lockdown.

“We’re lucky to have devices that connect us with the outside world,” says Vision Direct’s Benjamin Dumaine in a statement. “A similar pandemic taking place 30 or 40 years ago would have been people coping with the lack of contact in very different ways.”

Few people give their eyes a ‘real’ break from screen time

With Vision Direct looking at ways to improve eye health, Dumaine suggests Americans try some exercise to break their screen time habits. Despite having healthier options available, more than half the poll spend their remote working breaks browsing through Facebook. Another 42 percent head over to YouTube and four in 10 Americans hop on Twitter during a “break.”

The survey find it takes less than 10 minutes for the average American to go from waking up to looking at a screen each morning.

“Screens play a very valuable part in our lives, now so more than ever, but if people follow our guidelines they can maintain good eye health,” Dumaine adds.

Poor eye health may not be the the only effect of too much screen time. Six in 10 adults find themselves arguing with their partner over their digital addiction. Three in four parents feel hypocritical after yelling at their kids about staring too long at a digital device.

“There are positives and negatives with screen time, but as long as people are mindful of when to limit use, there doesn’t need to be any long term damage,” Dumaine concludes.

About Craig T Lee

Craig is a freelance writer who enjoys researching everything on the earth's surface and beyond. In his free time, Craig enjoys binge watching Netflix series and spending time with his friends.

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1 Comment

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