NEW YORK, April 24 — From smartphones and televisions to computers, tablets and smartwatches, these days, it can feel impossible to escape from screens. Globally, screen time is a cause for concern, but it continues to increase. And South Africa’s population leads the world when it comes to screen time, spending more than nine hours a day on digital devices.

On average, the world’s population spends six hours and 43 minutes a day on screens, according to a report by Electronics Hub. The organisation analysed data taken from DataReportal’s “Digital 2024: Global Overview Report” to calculate the amount of time an inhabitant of each country spends on screens in relation to the average time they spend awake each day.

While nearly one in two Americans admit to being addicted to digital devices, according to Statista, it’s in South Africa that people spend most of their awake time on screens. On average, they spend 56.80 per cent of their waking hours looking at a screen, ie, an average of nine hours and 24 minutes a day.


Geographical differences

South Africans are also the most avid smartphone users, averaging five hours and 15 minutes, or 31.72 per cent of their time per day. South Africa also stands out for its use of social networks, which far exceeds that of other countries. On average, South Africans spend three hours, 41 minutes a day using social media.

The countries of the global South — in Asia as in Africa and America — seem to be among the most “addicted” to screens. Brazil comes second place in the overall ranking, with nine hours, 13 minutes (54.73 per cent) of daily screen time, followed by the Philippines in third place with eight hours, 52 minutes (52.28 per cent).


Compared to last year, individuals spend an average of three minutes more a day looking at their screens, Electronics Hub points out.

The report also shows that Russians prefer their computers to the rest of the world, spending four hours, 29 minutes, or 27.07 per cent of their awake time, in front of their computer screen. Again, South Africa is not far behind, taking second place with four hours, 9 minutes (25.08 per cent of waking time).

In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, people are more into gaming. Its inhabitants devote one hour, 43 minutes per day to gaming, or 10.02 per cent of their waking hours, the highest percentage recorded in the report.

As for the USA, Americans spend the most time watching TV, at four hours, 39 minutes a day, compared to four hours and five minutes in South Africa, which comes second.

Average screen time — top 10 countries

1) South Africa — 9 hours, 24 minutes

2) Brazil — 9 hours, 13 minutes

3) The Philippines — 8 hours, 52 minutes

4) Colombia — 8 hours, 43 minutes

5) Argentina — 8 hours, 41 minutes

6) Chile — 8 hours, 31 minutes

7) Russia — 8 hours, 21 minutes

8) Malaysia — 8 hours, 17 minutes

9) United Arab Emirates — 8 hours, 11 minutes

10) Thailand — 7 hours, 58 minutes — ETX Studio