A shocking statistic was shared in a message I heard at church that the average person in the world spends just shy of 2 ½ hours per day on social media. I have had a hard time believing this because personally, I have to force myself to spend five minutes a day on social media.
I didn’t want to spend hours of screen time dissecting the results of various polls and studies in order to verify a pastor, of all people. However, I allowed myself to spend 15 minutes on Google to see if any stats were consistent. From what I found, there is a wide range of findings from various studies, all of which were very eye opening. Here are a few stats that stood out to me, with the understanding that I didn’t take the time to fact check.
- A study by Uswitch has revealed that kids aged between 5-16 are spending up to nine hours a day in front of screens.
- According to an article on Forbes, Americans spent on average more than 1,300 hours on social media in 2020.
- The average person now spends more time on a screen each day than they do sleeping, according to eMarketer.com.
Do you find this alarming? Don’t get me wrong, there is a point of moderation that we can have when using screens as a tool for doing our work, for socializing, for educating, and for entertaining. We need technology, and it is so helpful. But how much is too much?
If I am being honest, I have some feelings of jealousy that come up when I hear these stats. Throughout my 20 year career in fitness and wellness, the biggest excuse people make for not exercising or doing self-care is because they don’t have time. How do we have time for 2 ½ hours a day on social media but not for a 30 minute workout? Call me silly, but my heart literally hurts knowing how many people there are who are not experiencing the incredible benefits that exercise has to offer.
The benefits of exercise and self-care are countless! This is why I would like to encourage everyone to consider if your screen time each day could be decreased by just 30 minutes.
With those 30 minutes, choose one of these life-enhancing categories to spend your time so that you can improve your well-being. This list came from what I hear consistently stated as goals in my conversations with clients, friends and family.
- Help others in need in addition to the time you may spend doing this for your job/career.
- Exercise! It doesn’t have to be intense, but choose something that strengthens your heart and your muscles and/or improves your flexibility and balance.
- Spend quality time with your spouse or partner. You know what I mean!
- Spend quality time with your children. Play, laugh, and bring out that playful child spirit by just being 100% present with them.
- Practice gratitude. Journal, pray, write thank you notes, or call a friend or loved one to say how much you appreciate them.
- Go outside and enjoy fresh air, nature and sunlight.
- Increase the length of time you spend sleeping to get the optimal 7-9 hours per day.
When doing research on screen time, it is important to note how often we reach for our phones habitually, often without even realizing we do it. The stats have a large range- from 96 to 344 times per day the average person checks their phone. It is fair to say that most of these times we do this while doing other things such as driving, listening to someone, working, or hanging out with our family.
Here is the good news, my friends: when we know more, we can make small changes in a positive direction.
Have you ever heard it said that we cannot change what we do not measure? If you are interested in making a small change by decreasing your screen time so that you can experience more of the seven areas described above, keep reading!
One simple plan of action for you to try is this:
- Look at the screen time stats on your smartphone. Each Sunday, for example, document how much screen time you have had and any other screen time metrics that you’d like to track such as particular amount of time on social media.
- Determine how much time you’d like to spend each day in the categories I have suggested.
- Put this into your schedule. While I am strongly encouraging you to do this, it is ultimately your decision to make these activities a priority. If your schedule seems too full, look at your screen time stats to notice how much time you are spending in each app on your phone. In order to make room, consider where you could spend less time so that you have more time to spend on improving your well-being! (One caveat is if you use your phone for well-being enhancing activities such as calling a friend, doing a workout, or following a guided meditation.)
Perhaps this is something you have been thinking about doing for a long time. Hopefully, I have given you a strong nudge to determine how you might make more space for improving your well-being because you deserve to live your best life.
In case you are wondering how I choose the topics for my posts, I wish I could say that there is a strong pre-planned strategy. Maybe someday. In actuality, I choose the topic based on what comes up organically in my life from the content I consume and the conversations I have with my network. Sometimes, I decide to choose a topic that I am personally struggling with because I want you to know that if you are struggling as well, then you are in good company. We must help each other out, right? When I share strategies with you, please know that this advice is coming from someone who is on a journey to do better as well.
What I do know for sure is that exercise has been and will probably always be my weapon of choice for helping to improve all areas of my life.
Virtual Exercise Class Membership. Hang out with me and other mothers live or onDemand to benefit from some fun exercise routines that are functional for the body of mothers. The first month is free so really there is no reason not to do it. There is something in it for all abilities, ages, stages, and interests.
Work with me 1:1– You are a beautiful, unique individual, and I would be honored to help you tap into your strengths so that you can use exercise as a vehicle, along with a S.M.A.R.T. plan for turning your intentions into actions with the results you want.