Screen use across adulthood
Does how much we use our smartphones change as we get older? Are young people the one's most likely to use their phones in a problematic way? Are we good t estimating how much time we really spend on our phones? These are all questions that we asked in our recent study of adulty smartphone use in a representative sample of Australians. We surveyed 1,164 Australians aged between 18 and 93 and asked them about their smartphone use. Here's some of the interesting things we found;
- young adults (aged 18-25) use their smartphones the most, and use declines as we get older.
- the 18-25 years old's used their phones for an average of 248 minutes per day (just over 4 hours) compared to 45-54 year old's who used their phones for an average of 160 minutes per day (just over 2.5 hours per day).
- people aged 65+ used their phones for an average of 78 minutes per day (just under 1.5 hours)
- if the current generation of 18-25 year old's keep using their phones at the same rate throughout their lives, by the time they are 82 they will have used their phones for a total of 11 years
But what about problematic use? If it's not a problem, it's ok isn't it?
- this was quite interesting, although young adults use their phones much more than middle aged adults, there was no difference in the amount of problematic smartphone use in 18-40 year old's. That suggests that problematic use isn't just a simple matter of how much we use our phones, it's more complex than that.
And are we good at estimating how much time we spend on our phones?
- Overall, yes! Although people did tend to underestimate their actual usage (that is, their own best guess compared to the amount of time recorded on their smartphone screen time app) they weren't wildly inaccurate. This might be because of the built in screen time software that all new phone have now. Unless the notifications are disabled, lots of people now get real time feedback about their screen use which might be helping to keep us conscious of the time we are spending online, and hopefully avoid those internet rabbit holes!