Study: American Adults Will Spend 44 Years Staring at Screens

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. commission / kəˈmɪʃ ən / (v) – to place an order for someone to do something

    The actor commissioned a famous painter to make a portrait of him.

  2. (be) glued to (something) / glud tʊ / (idiom) – to be unable to take one’s attention away from something

    The children forgot to do their homework because they spent hours glued to the TV.

  3. assert / əˈsɜrt / (v) – to confidently speak about something

    The study asserts that the medicine is the most effective cure for the disease.

  4. entirely / ɛnˈtaɪər li / (adv) – totally or completely

    I’m not entirely convinced that this product is effective.

  5. detrimental / ˌdɛ trəˈmɛn tl / (adj) – causing harm, damage, or injury

    Lack of sleep can be detrimental to your health.


Read the text below.

A study suggests that the average American adult will spend a total of 44 years of staring at screen devices.

The study, which was commissioned by online contact lens supplier Vision Direct, involved 2,000 adults in the United States. Participants in the study spent over 6,259 hours a year using electronic devices, such as laptops, televisions, and smartphones. This yearly average is equivalent to more than 382,652 hours or 44 years of the average adult’s lifetime.

Results further showed that the participants were glued to television screens for 4.5 hours and laptop screens for 5 hours each day. They also spent over 4 hours using smartphones and over 3 hours using gaming devices. Due to recent lockdowns, however, these times have increased to 6.5 hours, 7 hours, 6 hours, and 5 hours, respectively.

When asked whether they felt productive during the long hours they spent on their devices, the respondents said that over 50% of their screen time felt unproductive. For respondents who were working from home, 25% of them felt less productive than ever before.

Aside from its negative impact on productivity, long screen time can also affect physical health and relationships. Some of the respondents reported eye discomfort after long periods of screen time, while others said that they had fought with their partners over the amount of time they spend staring at their screen devices.

Benjamin Dumaine, Vision Direct’s head of business development, asserted that screen time is not entirely damaging. He believes that as long as people can limit screen time, they will be able to prevent any detrimental effects in the long run.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the average adult in your country spends the same amount of time using devices like smartphones and laptops as the average American adult? Why or why not?
• Do you agree that screen time is not entirely damaging? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some people find it difficult to limit screen time? Explain.
• How can people effectively limit their screen time (e.g. use an app that monitors screen time)? Discuss.