Health & Wellness

Boomers Stare at Smartphones a Lot, Too

A third of people underestimate the time they spend on their smartphones, according to a survey


By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/ViewApart.


Do you spend an hour a day on your smartphone? Two hours? Three? According to a recent US survey, the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on his or her smartphone, and—perhaps surprisingly—boomers aren’t far behind millennials in their total average screen time.

The survey, conducted by Provision Living, a US senior-living care company, polled 1,000 millennials (born between 1981 and 1995) and 1,000 boomers (1946 to 1964) and found that the younger group spends an average of 5.7 hours a day on a smartphone, and boomers are on their phones for an average of five hours a day. Among heavy users, however, almost twice as many boomers (24%) as millennials (13%) spend 12 or more hours a day looking at their screens. A mere 6% of millennials and 5% of boomers log fewer than two hours a day of screen time.

Both groups spent the largest proportion of their time on Facebook (an average of 69 minutes among millennials and 60 minutes for boomers) and Instagram (52 minutes and 44 minutes, respectively). However, the younger group spends more time texting, chatting, and listening to music than the boomers, while the older group spends more time on e-mail and Facebook Messenger. And despite the number of news reports that mention Twitter, that app was the least popular among both age groups—though they managed nevertheless to devote just under 34 minutes a day to it.

While a third of those polled underestimated their screen time, two-thirds said that they had no plans to decrease it, perhaps because 60% said that their phones are their primary Internet device, opting to use them over desktop computers and laptops.

If you think smartphones are addictive, 94% of those polled agree with you. In fact, 90% said they sleep with their phone within arm’s reach.