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Millennial Life: Eat, Sleep, Work, Screens

Would you give up nearly a decade of your life looking at your cellphone?

Calculated by today’s usage, the average person spends a little over 76,500 hours – or 8.74 years – on a smartphone over a lifetime, according to a recent study by a mobile device comparison site, WhistleOut.

Unsurprisingly, millennials (born 1981 to 1996) spend the most time on their phones with an average of about 3.7 hours per day. When subtracting the average sleep time for adults (around nine hours), this amounts to almost one-fourth (23.1%) of their waking lives on a screen.

Generation X (born 1965 to 1980) comes in second with an average of about three hours per day, which amounts to 16.5% of their waking lives. Boomers (1946 to 1965) spend the least amount of time on their phones, with an average of 2.5 hours per day, factoring to about 9.9% of their waking lives.

However, the new generation, Generation Z (born after 1996), seems to dominate their precursors in smartphone usage and screen time: 95% of teens age 13 to 17 reported having a smartphone or having access to one, and 45% reported they are online constantly, according to a 2018 Pew Research study.

In a Twitter thread by a popular American YouTuber, Mr. Beast, fans shared their screen time reports, including how many hours they spend on their phones and what apps they used the most. Some reported screen time of well over 10 hours a day.

The majority of teens aged 13 to 17 (91%) say they use their phones to pass time, but a large share of them also say they use them to connect with others (84%) or learn new things (83%), according to Pew Research.  

FILE – Marilu Rodriguez checks a news website on her smartphone before boarding a train home at the end of her workweek in Chicago, March 13, 2015.

This widespread usage of smartphones has sparked worries among teens themselves, with 54% of U.S. teens saying they spend too much time on their phones. And 52% have also reported trying to take steps to reduce mobile phone use

A JAMA Network study found that only 5% of 59,397 U.S. high school students surveyed spent a balanced time sleeping and staying physically active while limiting screen time.

Too much time on a phone has been linked to a number of physical and mental health risks.

In a study of 3,826 adolescents, researchers found an association between social media and television use with symptoms of depression, according to JAMA Pediatrics.

Increased screen time has also been linked with a higher risk of obesity and diabetes.

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