Social media apps continue to engage users for ever increasing usage time.
Although I am clearly a Baby Boomer, I spend enormous amount of time on social media.
After spending multiple hours a week watching Facebook’s Reels and YouTube clips, I wondered if somebody had measured how much time a person spends on a social media app.
I recently came across several articles with data analysis on these websites and found out I am not alone in spending too much time on social media.
The average American spends 68 minutes per day on the top five social media platforms, equaling almost 5% of their life, or 3.81 years.
YouTube has the highest average visit duration of 20 minutes and 23 seconds; YouTube Kids is even higher, with children who visit for just one hour a day spending 15 days a year watching videos. WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram comprise the top five platforms with the longest time on-site.
Assuming a user accesses the top five social media platforms daily for a combined average visit duration of over 68 minutes, the user would spend approximately 4.77% of a lifetime on social media, or over 3 years 9 months over an 80-year lifespan.
That’s 413 hours, or over 17 days per year, scrolling just the top five social media sites.
When you discount eight hours of sleep, that figure rises to five years and eight months.
Reviews.Org did an even more thorough review of these social media trends.
This report adds even more color and notes that Americans reported spending an average of two hours or more on only four platforms:
TikTok: 2 hours, 44 minutes
Tumblr: 2 hours, 41 minutes
YouTube: 2 hours, 35 minutes
Facebook: 2 hours, 2 minutes
Reviews.org goes further on these trends. Here are some of the report’s most interesting findings:
The average American spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media per day.
TikTok users spend time on the app more than the average social media user, at 2 hours and 43 minutes.
With TikTok being the most time-consuming app for social media users, Tumblr and YouTube follow behind at just a little over 2.5 hours a day
When asked which social media app Americans use the most, YouTube ranked #1, followed by Facebook (2), Instagram (3), Pinterest (4), and TikTok (5)
Gen X uses Facebook more than any other age group.
YouTube is the most popular social app for Millennials and Gen Z.
TikTok, Snapchat, and X/Twitter are most popular among Gen Z
Some interesting findings on the impact of social media include:
50% say excessive social media use has had negative effects on mental health and well-being
35% often find themselves comparing their lives and achievements to what others post on social media
24% experience FOMO (fear of missing out) and/or anxiety when they are not able to access or use social media
23% feel pressure to curate a certain image or persona on social media.
After perusing these two articles, I realize I am probably an anomaly as I exceed typical social media usage in my demographic. In my defense, covering social media and staying up with tech trends is part of my job.
And it does appear that those using social media the most are millennials and Gen X.
The impact of social media call-outs from Reviews.org is important, especially regarding social media’s impact on mental health.
I admit that when I read some things, especially on X, I often have extremely adverse reactions to what I am seeing, and at that point, there are emotional impacts on my mental health.
The role social media plays in our lives is only increasing, and as these reports suggest, it has become a central communication, learning, informational and entertainment hub of our worlds.
To avoid getting swept away by social media, I need to have more restraint in how much time I use social media in general.
However, this one big question about how social media impacts mental health is a big issue that social scientists, educators, legislators, parents and individuals must take seriously.
I understand that you can’t legislate human nature, but understanding how social media impacts our time and mental health needs to become more important to leaders, parents, teachers, etc. Without more self-discipline and social media companies doing more to place more significant positive restraints on their applications, I believe social media will become even more dominant and influential in every part of our lives, and many will spend/waste even more time on social media in the future.
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