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Anti-social media: The shocking amount of time Australians spend looking at their phone

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Aussies are a slave to their device according to new research by Finder.

A new nationally representative survey of 1,058 respondents revealed the average Australian spends 150 minutes on their phone per day.

The research found 1 in 6 (16%) admit to staring at their device for more than 5 hours every day – equivalent to 76 full days a year, or more than 2 months.

Almost 2 in 5 (39%) spend between 2 and 5 hours a day on their phone, while 38% spend between 1 and 2 hours.

Only 8% of Australians spend less than an hour a day on their phone, including those who don't have a mobile phone.

Mariam Gabaji, tech expert at Finder, says Aussies' shocking screen time habits are unhealthy.

"Our obsession with our smartphones is sometimes quite terrifying. Most of us can't go out for a walk or even enjoy a meal with loved ones without constantly checking our phones.

"Social media apps are designed to be addictive, and children are the most susceptible because their brains are not yet fully developed."

Gabaji encourages Aussie parents to teach mindful habits to their children.

"If you're spending hours a day on Instagram or Facebook, you can't expect your children to know any different. Try to encourage device-free activities like playing sport or baking something together.

"Get into an evening routine that doesn't involve devices. Try to enjoy dinner as a family without watching TV and reading a book instead of browsing social media before bed."

Gabaji says there are things worried parents can do to prevent their kids from doing hours of mindless scrolling.

"You can set up notifications that help you monitor your and your kids' screen time. Set a challenge to see who can get the lowest screen time and reward that behaviour with a treat or a free pass from chores.

"There are kids' mobile plans that let you keep track of how your kids are spending their time online and restrict access to unsafe sites."

"Both Optus and Woolworths Mobile have family-friendly features, and there are also parental controls apps like mSpy and Net Nanny.

"Being more mindful about when and how you use your phone will help you unwind in the evening and teach your children healthy habits," Gabaji said.

Gen Z (32%) are the most likely to spend 5 hours or more each day staring at their phone, followed by millennials (23%).

How many hours per day do you spend looking at your mobile phone?
Less than 1 hour4%
1–2 hours38%
2–5 hours39%
5–10 hours15%
More than 10 hours1%
None/I don't have a phone3%
Source: Finder nationally representative survey of 1,058 Australians, August 2022

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