Ask anyone how much time they spend on social media, and most will probably answer, “I don’t even want to know”. Social media has become deeply ingrained in our daily lives, and many people can’t go a full day without checking their favorite social media platform. So how much time do we actually spend on social media?
Average Time Spent on Social Media
Various studies have been done to track social media trends, looking at everything from demographics of users to brand engagement online. Different studies have revealed different statistics, but all report a similar trend: social media usage has skyrocketed, even growing over the last 5 years.
One report from GlobalWebIndex estimates that, on average, social media users spend 2 hours and 22 minutes online each day globally. You can see in their graphic below that younger generations tend to spend more time on social media, with 16-24 year olds clocking in at about 3 hours a day.
The same report also revealed that our time spent on social media is starting to plateau after years of steady growth. In some countries, like Germany and Japan, time spent on social media is beginning to decline. Some believe this decrease is due to increasing knowledge of the negative effects of social media, like feelings of FOMO or isolation.
How Much Time Do Teens Spend on Social Media?
Teens and tweens have grown up with social media. The iPhone was released in 2007, meaning that younger teens don’t even remember the world before smartphones. A 2016 study by The Common Sense Census looked specifically at teens and tweens and their social media patterns.
This report found that teens (ages 13-18) spent about 9 hours daily on entertainment media, including social media and entertainment media like TV, online videos, reading, and mobile games. Tweens (ages 8-12) averaged about 6 hours.
While this statistic includes a wide range of activities since it looks at all entertainment, they break down different types of media consumers based on their preferred medium. The graph below shows that tweens identified as “social networkers” spend the most time on entertainment media, clocking in at almost 10 hours daily. Only a portion of that time is dedicated to social media, however.
Among teens, “heavy viewers” of TV and movies spend the most time on media, again with a portion of that time spent on social media. Teen “social networkers” still spend about 9.5 hours a day looking at media as well, 3 hours and 17 minutes of which are spent on social media, on average.
Track Your Time Spent on Social Media
Now that you’ve seen the numbers, you may be saying “That’s not me,” or frantically trying to figure out how your social media use contributes to these statistics. Luckily, there are ways to track your own activity online. Some apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube provide your activity information and offer timers to cut down on your social media usage.
If you have an iPhone, you can also check your screen time on each app in your settings. Learn how to check yourself before you wreck yourself – or, wreck your eyesight staring at your phone, at least.
Check Your Daily Activity on Instagram Activity Tracker
Instagram tracks your activity on their app and estimates a daily average of how much time you spend on the app. The number is based only on app usage, not the desktop version. You should also keep in mind that this is an average taken from the last week, not your entire Instagram career. Follow these steps to check your average time spent on Instagram:
- Go to your profile and click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner.
- Click “Your Activity”
Here you’ll see your daily average for the last week, as well as a graph with your total time for each day.
Set a Daily Reminder For Your Activity
If your daily time spent on Instagram was a bit too high, you can use this tool to help you cut down. On the same page, below your daily time, you’ll see a section titled “Manage Your Time”. Here, you can set a daily reminder when you’ve reached a certain amount of time on the app, or change your notifications settings.
Instagram’s daily reminder will not kick you off the app; it simply lets you pick the amount of time you want to spend on the app and sends you a notification when you’ve reached your allotted time. You can choose to ignore this timer and keep scrolling if you want to.
Changing your notification settings can also help you cut down on Instagram time. Often, receiving a notification drags users back to the app when they might not have opened it on their own. Turning off some or all notifications can help users unplug from the constant updates.
Track Average Time Spent on Facebook
Facebook also tracks your activity. Facebook owns Instagram, so it’s no surprise that these platforms share similar activity logs. Much like Instagram, Facebook tracks your average time spent for the week. Follow these steps to check your Facebook activity for the week:
- Open the Facebook app and click the three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner.
- Scroll to the bottom and click “Settings & Privacy”
- Tap “Your Time on Facebook”
Here you’ll see your average time per day for the last week, as well as the total time spent on the app each day from the last week.
Set a Daily Reminder For Your Facebook Activity
Below your Facebook time per day, you can set a daily reminder to tell yourself that your time for the day is up. Simply scroll down and pick the amount of time that you want to spend per day on Facebook. When you reach that time, Facebook will notify you that your time is up, but it will not kick you off of the app.
You can also edit your notification settings on this page to save yourself from useless notifications that draw you back in. You can edit your newsfeed and friends preferences as well so that you only see the content you care about.
Track App Usage on iPhone
If you have an iPhone, you can check up on all of your app usage. iPhone’s settings reveal your total screen time in the last 24 hours for each app, revealing how much time the app was active on your screen. You can also check based on your last 10 days of activity for a broader sense of your social media and app usage. Follow these instructions to track your app usage:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Scroll down and tap “Battery”.
- Scroll down to see your total on screen time, activity, and more.
- Optional: Click “Last 10 Days” to see a larger window of time.
The settings automatically show you “Battery Usage By App” which tells you how much of your battery life went towards each app. If you click “Show Activity”, you can see the total amount of time each app was open, both on-screen or as a background app.