Adults spend 57 hours staring at screens over Christmas

Internet, TV

The average adult will spend more than 57 HOURS of their Christmas break staring at screens – and not just watching repeats or family favourites on the box.

The study of 2,000 adults who celebrate Christmas found they will spend 49 minutes a day during the week’s holiday ‘mindlessly scrolling’ through their phones. An hour every day will also be spent looking at their computer or phone for work-related reasons.

And another 34 minutes each day – totalling just under four hours over the week – will also go on video calls with friends or relatives.

On top of this, adults will enjoy 116 minutes a day watching TV and an average of 95 minutes in front of films, with Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually and The Snowman on the must-watch list. Playing video games, additional use of tablets and texting tot up another 135 minutes.

It also emerged that in the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, 37 per cent are looking forward to nothing more than lying in front of the TV ‘double screening’. The study also found that more than half of those polled expect their TV consumption to go up over the Christmas break, and three in 10 will look at their phones more often.

On average, adults will look at their phone 10 times every waking hour over Christmas – once every six minutes.

But all this screen time is likely to have an effect on Brits’ eye health, as 54 per cent confess to feeling ‘eye strain’ after too long looking at them. During the darker months, 49 per cent also admitted to spending lots of time looking at bright screens in dark rooms – because the sun has disappeared, but they can’t be bothered to get up and turn a light on.

However, vision experts have warned that excess screen use can be especially harmful during times of low light in late December.

Says Ashley Mealor for Vision Direct, which commissioned the research:

“Everyone knows they should cut down on screen time – but Christmas is a time to relax, and how else do we do that? I know I’m going to be playing Sniper Elite 4 over the break when I’m not catching up with family.

“For many people, sitting down on the sofa with a cup of tea and a bit of free time to browse social media is something that brings them happiness.

“Not to mention all the time we’ll spend as families watching movies, Christmas specials on TV – or on video calls with people we can’t see in real life.

“Sadly, for many adults during a hectic 2020, they’ll also spend a lot of time staring at their laptop screens keeping an eye on work.”

To calculate how much time adults will spend watching festive fare on TV, Vision Direct has created an online tool – simply select which film you will watch, and find out how long you’ll be in front of the box for


Video calls – 34 minutes daily
Watching TV – 116 minutes daily
Watching films – 95 minutes daily
Playing video games – 49 minutes daily
Scrolling mindlessly – 49 minutes daily
Using tablets – 48 minutes daily
Working – 60 minutes daily
Texting – 38 minutes daily
TOTAL: 489 minutes x 7 days = 3423 minutes, or 57.05 hours


  1. Home Alone
  2. Elf
  3. Love Actually
  4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  5. The Snowman
  6. It’s A Wonderful Life
  7. Miracle on 34th Street
  8. The Polar Express
  9. Die Hard
  10. A Christmas Carol
  11. The Muppet Christmas Carol
  12. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
  13. The Holiday
  14. The Christmas Chronicles
  15. The Santa Clause
  16. Scrooged
  17. Nativity
  18. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  19. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  20. White Christmas
  21. Jingle All The Way
  22. Gremlins
  23. Arthur Christmas
  24. Bad Santa
  25. A Christmas Story
  26. About A Boy
  27. Meet Me in St. Louis
  28. Ernest Saves Christmas
  29. The Apartment
  30. The Lemon Drop Kid
Chris Price
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