We'll spend nearly a decade of our lives staring at our phones, study says

That sure puts things into perspective.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read

Put the phone down (after you read this).

James Martin/CNET

Many of us can admit to spending too much time on our phones , and a study released last week quantified just how often we stare at our screens. According to the report by mobile comparison site WhistleOut, the average American will spend nearly nine years of their lifetime on their phone. 

Not surprisingly, Millennials spend the most amount of time on their phones, dedicating about 3.7 hours of their day to looking at their screens, according to the study. Gen X spends around three hours a day on their phones, while Boomers spend about 2.5 hours.

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps people at home and moves much of our interactions online, people have spent more time on their phones and laptops. But tech addiction is a problem that's been going on for a while, especially as phones have become a more critical component of our lives. For years, surveys have found Americans are checking their phones more than ever and struggling to reduce the amount of time they spend on them. It also doesn't help that surveys have found cutting screen time often doesn't actually curb phone addiction. Still, tech companies including Google, Apple and Facebook have launched tools to try to help people monitor their screen time.

Netflix's recent documentary The Social Dilemma sparked conversations about social media's impact on our lives and mental health, as it outlined how tech companies get us to use their products and get us hooked on those services. The film prompted Facebook itself to respond, saying that the documentary "buries the substance in sensationalism."