Black Mirror or Black Hole? American Phone Screen Time Statistics


Health data management firm Harmony Healthcare IT surveyed over 1,000 Americans about their phone screen time habits. We had each generation look up their daily average screen time on their phone and share the numbers. Here is what the survey discovered.

American phone screen times and stats

Phones are so much more than communication devices. They can operate as everything from payment systems to health data trackers to keys, levels, tuners, and even light switches. On top of these useful abilities, these devices can quickly become a time suck, drawing people in with social media, games, and streaming services.

Health experts recommend spending no longer than two hours a day staring at a screen, but our new research finds that people spend more than double that on their phones daily. That’s before even taking into account time spent using computers and tablets or watching television.

Average Daily Phone Screen Time of Americans

Daily phone screen time by generation - report by

The average American spends 4 hours and 37 minutes looking at their phone every day. That quickly adds up over time to about 1 day every week, 6 days every month, and 70 days every year.

According to a small Stanford study, children are getting their first phone around the age of 12. If the average life expectancy of an American is 76 years old that would mean
the average American will spend 12 years staring at their phone screens over their lifespan.

One generation majorly exceeds the average daily screen time: Gen Z. Gen Zers spend an average 6 hours and 5 minutes on their phone daily. The generation who spends the least amount of time on their phones is Baby Boomers, who spend about 3 hours and 31 minutes a day on their devices. Over 2 in 5 (43%) Americans feel their average screen time is higher than they thought it would be. Many are hoping to make themselves less reliant on their phones in 2024 with 40% trying to cut down on screen time.

Why Are People Addicted to Their Phones?

Top 5 reasons people are addicted to their phones and most-used apps - report by

Nearly half of Americans feel addicted to their phones. Gen Z and Millennials feel more addicted compared to the older generations. Why are people drawn to their phones? The top reason Americans use their phones so much is entertainment. Others turn to their phone out of boredom, distraction, and even habit.

More than half of Americans think they’re too dependent on these technological devices. 74% get nervous if they don’t know where their phone is. Others don’t go places without their phones or use their phone at times they probably shouldn’t. Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) use their phones on the toilet and 27% text while at stoplights.

Statistics show that 48% have even found themselves zombie scrolling, which is when you find yourself scrolling on your phone without a specific purpose for opening or using it. It’s something all generations struggle with, but our previous report on anxiety in Gen Z has found the young generation in particular is prone to this excessive social media use.

Top 10 Most Popular Apps

The top app Americans use on their phone is Messages. However, after that, many turn to social media. Social media apps make up 6 out of the 10 most common apps people use on their phones. Here’s how they stand in the ranking:

  • Youtube (2nd)
  • Facebook (3rd)
  • Instagram (5th)
  • TikTok (6th)
  • Reddit (8th)
  • X (9th)

The social media app Gen Z spends the most screen time on is TikTok followed by Youtube. For other generations, the top social media apps were Facebook and YouTube.

Americans Grade Their Phone Use

Americans grade how they use their phones - report by

After asking everyone to look at their screen time, we had Americans grade themselves on their daily phone habits. We had people choose their rating on a standard grading scale. Over half (55%) graded themselves with a C or lower, with 24% of those giving themselves a D or an F.

But Americans are doing what they can to cut down on screen time. Nearly 1 in 6 (16%) set screen time limits on their phone. That feature lets you set a certain amount of time you’re allowed to be on an app. Once you hit that time each day, the phone alerts you and gives you an option of continuing to spend time on the app or closing out of it. Others are trying different tactics to get away from their phones.

The top 3 ways Americans cut down on screen time is by:

  1. Doing activities that don’t require a phone
  2. Putting the phone away while around others
  3. Using the “do not disturb” feature

Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) go as far as to turn their phones off to avoid being drawn to their phone screen. It’s understandable why some resort to turning their phones off, it’s easy to find yourself on the phone. Phones operate as our cameras, credit cards, and alarm clocks, but although it’s essential for modern life, too much screen time has been shown to lead to sleep issues and even anxiety or depression.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to keep track of how much time you spend on your phone. Try to schedule screen breaks throughout your day and maybe go without your phone for an hour. Time spent not looking into your phone screen can help build more in-person experiences and relationships in 2024 and beyond.



In December 2023, we surveyed 1,024 people about their phone screen time habits. Survey respondents were asked to look up their average daily screen time logged on their phone and report it as part of the survey. Ages ranged from 18 to 77 with an average age of 43. 25% were Baby Boomers, 25% were Gen X, 25% were Millennials, and 25% were Gen Z. 52% were women, 45% were men, 2% were nonbinary, and 1% would rather not say.

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Jan 08 2024

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