Gen Zers spend more than seven hours a day on their phones


Young people spend the most time on TikTok, according to the DCDX study. — AFP Relaxnews

Generation Z Americans, aged 15 to 27, spent an average of seven hours and seven minutes a day on their smartphones in 2023. This screen time, which increased by 6.5% compared to 2022, was mainly spent on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and messaging.

The DCDX "2023 3rd Annual Gen Z Screen Time Report"* investigated the relationship between young Americans and technology, and in particular their cellphones, for the third consecutive year.

The analysis reports that screen time for Gen Zers is an average of seven hours and seven minutes per day (+6.5% in one year), and 49 hours and seven minutes per week. According to the report, the Gen Z average exceeds that of the global mobile screen time average by 104%, and the US average by 92%.

Yet, while mobile screen time has increased again in 2023, young people seem to be less bothered by notifications. According to the data, respondents picked up their phones less (-7%) and received fewer notifications (-0.8%).

The study explains that while users are less tempted to look at their phone every time they receive a notification, once unlocked, they stay on their mobile longer.

Differences between men and women

There is also a difference within Generation Z itself, with younger users spending more time on their phones than older users in this age bracket.

In fact, 15-20 year-olds spend an average of 7 hours and 34 minutes a day on their phone, checking it 156 times and receiving 231 notifications. For 21-27 year-olds, this amounts to 6 hours and 40 minutes a day, and they pick up their phone 152 times for 210 notifications.

While notifications gradually increased among the oldest Gen Z between 2021 and 2023, they decreased among the youngest. The same trend can be seen for the number of phone pickups and daily screen time.

The research reports that women spend more time on their smartphones, reaching seven hours and 48 minutes a day, compared to five hours and 55 minutes for men. The trend is upward for female users and downward for male users.

However, women are less likely to pick up their phones, at 149 times a day, compared to 163 times for men. This time, the upward trend is stronger among young American men than among women. The latter also receive fewer notifications than in 2022 – 225 versus 235 – unlike men, who got 215 in 2023 and 205 in 2022.

The study highlights the most frequently used applications and examines the differences in behaviour between the sexes. Apps like TikTok and Instagram dominate, but not at the same level. Generation Z women spend more time on TikTok, Instagram and messaging, while men put Instagram first, followed by TikTok and then messaging.

TikTok and Instagram lead the way

On average, the young people surveyed spent eight hours and 59 minutes a week on TikTok, an increase of 51%. The report states that this average weekly screen time increased by more than three hours, notifications almost doubled year-on-year and phone pickups were up by 30%.

As for Instagram, Gen Zers spent an average of seven hours and 41 minutes per week on the app, an increase of 23% compared to 2022. Men have become increasingly familiar with the app, so much so that the male audience has grown. In fact, Instagram is the most used app by men according to this year's data set, coming in at more than an hour ahead of TikTok in average weekly screen time, the report says.

Messages, meanwhile, engaged young people for three hours 48 minutes a week, down 17% compared to 2022. This drop appears to be explained almost entirely by the drop in usage among women, the report says. Other applications that saw a fall in screen time in 2023 include Twitter/X (-49%), Maps (-53%) or Spotify (-31%). – AFP Relaxnews

*This report is based on data collected from a network of 200,000 members of Generation Z, aged between 15 and 27, who were paid to send video recordings of their iPhone screen time settings.

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