Brits spend up to 51% of time in front of screen, claims study

Internet, Social Media

A shocking new study by Uswitch has analysed how much time Brits are spending in front of a screen and the effects this can have on their wellbeing.

The study reveals that the UK is spending a whopping 386 minutes (6.4 hours) using the internet every day – almost equivalent to an average shift at work. 

The study also reveals that Brits spend up to 4 hours a day watching television while scrolling on social media and listening to music also takes an additional 109 minutes and 75 minutes respectively.

While we might not think twice about how much screen time we consume, the study reveals that in total, UK adults are spending 51% of their time in front of a screen every year. This means that for most adults the only time they’re not in front of a screen is when they’re asleep.

The study reveals that Brits are spending up to 21 hours a week watching TV, which is equivalent to 997 hours a year. Despite the growth in streaming services, TV still holds its weight against the likes of Netflix and Amazon. 

Subscribed video content (streaming) came in second place with users watching 398 hours per year while social media platform, YouTube, takes third place. 

Gen-Z spending up to 9 hours a day in front of a screen

With the summer break looming and lockdown restrictions constantly changing, many children and teenagers will spend a lot of their time at home looking for a way to entertain themselves.

The study reveals that children aged between 5 – 16 spend up to a shocking 9 hours a day in front of a screen. With emerging apps like TikTok, it’s not hard to see why kids get sucked into its addictive nature.

In addition to spending more time on social media apps, studies revealed that the percentage of Gen-Z who watch videos every day has doubled since 2015, from 24% to 56% among 8-12-year-olds and from 34% to 69% among 13-18-year-olds. The study reveals that kids are spending the same amount of time on the internet and watching television, which suggests that they are doing this simultaneously which could have effects on their ability to focus.

Studies show that Gen-Zers aware of how much time they spend on social media, but are unable to limit themselves. 44% of teens say that they check for messages and notifications as soon as they wake up. Social media gives teens a sense of belonging through puberty so it’s understandable that they gravitate towards wanting to be respected and admired based on the number of likes they receive on a photo.

Says Catherine Hiley, mobiles expert at

“We are so subconsciously immersed in our digital lives that this research really highlights how much of our time is spent in front of a screen.

“With over half of our free time spent on gadgets, using your devices’ screen time notifications and settings can be a good way to help set boundaries and enjoy some time away doing other activities.”

Tips to reduce screen time

We might think we’re conscious of how much time we spend in front of a screen but being surrounded by constant entertainment is addictive. Here are some tips to help reduce your screen time and its effects:

  • Go easy on the eyes and turn on dark mode.

  • Make a note of how much time you’re spending in front of a screen and make a consistent effort to reduce your screen time. This can be done by implementing a rule of no phones before bed or during your lunch break. You can do this by setting a time limit on social media apps through your phones’ settings so you can’t access them or going on a walk at lunchtime rather than scrolling.

  • Take on a new hobby, it’s the perfect way to get away from the screen for an hour.

  • Take a digital detox by substituting your usual binge-watching with spending more time with friends or getting creative in the kitchen.

The full study can be found here.

Research about how much time teens spend on social media:


Chris Price
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