Study: Americans use technology 10+ hours per day

A Nielsen company study released this week says Americans spent an average of 10 hours, 39 minutes each day with smartphones, tablets, TV, radio, computers or video games during the first three months of 2016. That is one hour more than the same time period in 2015. (Ben Kerckx/Pixabay CC0)

NEW YORK (AP) — The typical American adult is using media for a full hour a day more than just last year, with smartphones accounting for most of the increase.

People spent an average of 10 hours, 39 minutes each day with smartphones, tablets, TV, radio, computers and video games during the first three months of 2016, according to a Nielsen company study released this week. It was nine hours, 39 minutes during the same period in 2015.

Even these numbers are probably underestimated, since while Nielsen measures the amount of time spent online on smartphones, it doesn’t count texting, taking selfies or talking on the phone.

Most Americans can sense the increase anecdotally given the ubiquity of smartphones. People stare at screens while waiting in line for fast food, riding in elevators or walking down the street. Retail outlets post signs pleading that phones be turned off. People check messages in bed before falling asleep, and reach for the devices upon waking up.

An estimated 81 percent of American adults use a smartphone regularly, with the number of users growing by more than 20 million in the past year, said Glenn Enoch, senior vice president of audience insights for Nielsen.

Of the additional hour in media time that Nielsen has measured this year, smartphone usage accounts for 37 minutes and tablets 12 minutes. Online smartphone use averages an hour and 39 minutes a day – more than double what it was two years ago, Nielsen said.

People spending more time on phones and tablets hasn’t caused a corresponding drop in the use of other media, an indication that there’s a lot of multi-tasking going on. People are spending 3 minutes less watching live television than they did a year ago, but they still spend 4½ hours a day in front of the TV, Nielsen said.

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