Digital Addiction: The Countries with the Highest (and Lowest) Average Screen Time (infographic)

Ever wondered how much time people around the world spend glued to their screens? Or how your screen time compares to the average person? Which countries have the most gaming addicts and binge-series junkies? Where do people consume the most cat videos and other types of popular TikTok content?

Electronics Hub decided to tackle all these questions with its latest piece of research into global screen time habits. Based on the most up-to-date information from Datareportal’s Digital 2024 Global Overview Report, it breaks down the average screen time and usage times in every country around the world.

Here's a summary of all results.

The average screen time in every country

Electronics Hub kicked off the study by looking at the average percentage of waking hours people in every country spend staring at screens.

It found that people spend 6 hours of their waking day looking at some sort of screen, including TVs, phones, and laptops.

South Africa is the most 'screen-addicted' nation. Its citizens look at screens for an average of 9 hours and 24 minutes per day, which is over half of their waking life.

There's a similar trend in Brazil, the Philippines, and Colombia. In each country, screen time accounts for more than half of the traditional waking hours for a human being.

Japan is often considered a world leader in innovative screen technology, so it's surprising that it had the lowest average screen time. The average Japanese person spends under two hours looking at screens, less than a quarter of their waking hours.

This hasn't happened by accident. Japan actively limits screen time among its young people through public awareness campaigns and school guidelines to restrict device use during classes.

The country may impose stricter measures. For example, the government is considering curfews for online gaming, which would reduce late-night screen activity.

Countries where people spend the most time on social media

Looking at the data on a country-by-country basis puts South Africa at the top of this chart. People living in South Africa spend (or maybe waste) 3 hours and 41 minutes of every day on social media platforms like Facebook, X, and TikTok.

Once again, Japan can say its citizens are the people who are least addicted to their phones and social media accounts. They spend less than 6% of their waking day on the socials.

Japan's approach to limiting screen time is a big factor. But it may have more to do with the country's aging population. Almost 30% of Japanese people are aged 65 or over. In other words, 30% of the country probably doesn't even know what a TikTok is.

Countries where people watch the most TikToks

Sticking with the TikTok theme, this following chart ranks the top 20 countries based on the number of TikTok videos people watch every day.

In the UK, the average TikTok fan consumes 154 videos per day; that's more than any other person in any other country in the world.

Dutch people watch the least amount of TikToks per day (120). It's worth mentioning that the Netherlands is one of the 'smartest' countries in Europe, with an extremely high level of advanced literacy and a national average IQ score of 103. Coincidence? Spend 20 minutes scrolling through TikTok and decide for yourself.

Average computer screen time in each country

PCs and laptops are completely integrated into our daily lives. Whether it's work, entertainment, or creative pursuits, almost everyone in the developed world spends a significant amount of their days staring at a computer screen.

But nobody stares at them more than Russians. Nearly a quarter (4 hours, 29 minutes) of the average Russian's waking hours pass by while they're eyes deep in a laptop or computer screen.

Other high-ranking nations for computer screen time include Argentina (4 hours, 5 minutes), Portugal (3 hours, 57 minutes), and Colombia (3 hours, 56 minutes).

Australia and New Zealand are two more countries where people spend over a quarter of their daily lives in front of a computer screen.

South Korea, China, and Japan are notable absentees from this section of the study. All three countries have a huge online gaming community. South Korea alone has over 9,000 active PC rooms and gaming cafes, many of which are open 24/7.

Global phone addiction

Smartphone dependence is a real phenomenon. Around 48% of people admit to feeling addicted to their smartphone, with 30% saying they feel anxious or extremely anxious without their handheld device.

These figures rise even higher in some countries, including South Africa. According to data analyzed by Electronics Hub, South Africa has the biggest problem with smartphone addiction. The average South African is on their phone for 31.72% of their waking time; that's more than 5 hours of phone time every single day.

Phone addiction is also prevalent in Brazil and Thailand. Both countries have a daily average screen time score of above 30%.

Then there's the Philippines, where people spend 5 hours and 20 minutes every day on their phones. The Philippines has a notably young population, with about 28% of its population being between the ages of 10 and 24. This demographic is most likely to spend a significant portion of their time on a phone. And it's becoming a real problem. One study found that 62% of Filipino adolescents display signs of smartphone dependency.

Average gaming times all around the world

Gaming is another online activity with a growing addiction problem.

Gaming addiction tends to be a problem among young males. They make up 94% of those addicted, with men in the 19-34 age range most at risk.

And the consequences can be fatal. One well-known incident involved a gamer who died from a pulmonary embolism after playing video games for an extended period without taking necessary breaks. The embolism was attributed to sitting in the same position for too long, which increased the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.

However, none of this addiction data shows up in the Electronics Hub survey. The two countries with the highest gaming screen time, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, show that, on average, gamers spend less than 2 hours a day playing video games.

It suggests that while gaming addiction is a serious issue, it impacts only a minority of gamers. The rest do an excellent job balancing their gaming habits with real-world responsibilities and hobbies.

Which countries spend the most time watching TV?

This might shock many of you Zoomers, but yes, some people still watch TV.

That means they can wait an entire week for the next episode of their favorite show, rather than binge the entire series in a weekend. Shocking, right?

No nation loves this old-school form of entertainment more than the people of the USA. The average American watches TV for 4 hours and 39 minutes, or 28.35% of their waking day.

But traditional TV and linear programming are dying. Viewership figures continue to fall, even in the USA, where mass communication and network television were created. Since 2023, cable and broadcast TV usage fell below 50% of total TV share among US viewers for the first time, with cable viewership dropping to about 29.6% and broadcast to 20%.

Electronics Hub research reveals global screen time habits from Datareportal’s Digital 2024 Global Overview Report.

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