As we spend an increasing amount of our time on our screens, it's no surprise that by 2020, the average adult spent three hours a day on social media. To find out how our habits have changed over the past two years, Uswitch has created a 2022 screen time report, to find out how UK adults interact with their screens, and what they do to reduce their screen time.
A good mobile phone deal can help limit time spent on screens, especially when opting for a package that doesn’t include an unlimited data allowance. If you’re looking to go a step further, then a SIM only deal can be a cheaper way to own a mobile phone, especially if you want to reduce your screen time by replacing your smartphone with a dumb phone.
Giving your child a dumb phone instead of a smartphone, or setting parental controls if they do have a smartphone can be a great way to reduce your child's time spent on screens, while still being able to get in touch with them when they’re out of the house.
Uswitch’s 2022 survey has found that the average screen time among UK adults is now five hours per day in addition to any screen related work. This has increased by two hours a day since 2020.
The UK is a TV bingeing nation. Almost half of UK adults spend 3-4 hours watching TV per day. This equates to 1,095 hours watching TV shows and films per year, a combined total of over 33.6 billion hours a year.
The 2022 screen time report further highlighted that UK adults spend up to around two hours a day on Facebook, one hour and 30 mins on Instagram, one hour and 25 mins on Youtube and one hour and 15 mins on Tiktok. This totals up to six hours of social media screen time alone per day.
According to the latest mobile phone statistics for 2022, younger generations are spending less time watching TV, and more time scrolling through social media, with those aged 16-24 spending the most amount of time on Instagram compared to any other age group. In fact, almost one in 10 people aged between 16 and 24 spend seven hours a day on Instagram. That's 2,555 hours a year scrolling through the image-focused app.
Millennials, the last generation to grow up without smartphones and social media as we know it today, are most active at setting screen time limits, with almost half of those aged 25 to 34 setting daily caps.
Those aged over 55 seem content with their time spent on screens, with almost three in four not feeling the need to reduce their screen time at all.
So what about scrolling habits when it comes to men and women? Interestingly, when looking at mobile apps, men spend more time on Twitter, TikTok and dating apps compared to women.
When it comes to setting screen time limits, the survey showed that men tend to spend an extra hour on their screens each day, limiting themselves to four hours compared to three hours for women. They also find it more difficult to stick to, with men being three times more likely to break their screen time limit than women.
It seems that the extra hour men spend on screens per day is most often spent watching TV, whereas women tend to spend their daily screen time on social media apps, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
The most popular screen time limit is four hours in the UK, with one in five setting their cap at this number. Of those people who set themselves limits, almost 90% feel that it works in limiting their screen time overall.
But how much screen time is healthy? While many of us are not able to do our work without a screen every day, reducing our screen time outside of work can be hugely beneficial. Experts suggest that we should spend no more than two hours of screen time each day outside of work parameters. This means that the majority of adults in the UK need to reduce their screen time by more than half to stay within a recommended healthy range.
Too much screen time affects your health, not only impacting mental health, but physical health as well, including eye fatigue, dry and irritated eyes and loss of focus. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s probably a sign that your eyes need a rest. If you’re not able to take a break from your screen, then resting your eyes every 20 minutes can help, focusing on something around 20 feet away for 20 seconds at a time.
Finding a way to check your screen time regularly can also help you keep tabs on your usage. Most smartphones will allow you to set screen time limits, so that you are reminded if you have spent a certain amount of time on selected apps.
While many might be conscious of how much time they’re spending in front of screens thanks to Screen Time notifications, being surrounded by constant entertainment is addictive. Here are some tips to help reduce your screen time and its effects:
Go easy on the eyes and turn on dark mode.
Make a note of how much time you’re spending in front of a screen and make a consistent effort to reduce your screen time. This can be done by implementing a no phones before bed rule, setting a time limit on social media apps through your phones settings so you can’t access them or going on a walk at lunch time rather than scrolling.
Take on a new hobby. Whether you’ve always wanted to become the next Bob Ross at painting or you’d like to try out a new fitness class at the gym, it’s the perfect way to get away from the screen for an hour.
4. Take a digital detox by substituting your usual binge-watching with spending more time with friends or getting creative in the kitchen