BRAINERD, Minn. — People spend a lot of their free time online with their digital devices — a shocking and almost unbelievable amount — according to a recently released study by Verizon.
Americans spend, on average, nine hours and 39 minutes a day staring at a screen — any screen — of some sort, or more than three-quarters of the day. That includes all screen time, from work to play.
But when it comes to leisure computer screen time, Minnesotans are not as addicted as other states, it seems, spending only an average of an hour and 20 minutes of their free time on the computer, according to the survey.
The survey was based on data from 2013 to 2017 from the American Time Use Survey. The survey focused on free time, such as downloading files, using social media, browsing the web and other leisure-related activities.
Some activities were excluded from the survey, such as games, computer use for work and other household activities such as online banking or shopping.
Americans spend an average of 90 minutes of free time on the computer every day, so if they worked at the national minimum wage for the same amount of time, they would have earned $3,969.38 a year, according to survey officials.
Delaware residents spent the least amount of time online, with an average of 43 minutes a day, which is equal to 261 hours or almost 11 days, which is long enough to watch the three-hour “Avengers: Endgame” — the record-holder for the highest-grossing movie ever — 87 times.
Agustin Alanis watched the blockbuster more than 200 times and broke the Guinness World Record for the “most cinema productions attended for the same film.” The Marvel Studios film hit stores last week on Blu-ray, UHD 4K and DVD. The previous record holder was Anthony Mitchell, who watched “Avengers: Infinity War” more than 100 times at his local movie theater in Charlotte, N.C., and encouraged Alanis via Twitter when the Florida resident tied Mitchell’s record in June.
Not surprisingly, Alaskans averaged two hours and 46 minutes a day on their computers, the most of any state — almost 1,010 hours a year or 42 days — enough time to fly to the moon and back ... seven times.
Men averaged more time on the computer in 11 states, and women spend more time online in 31 states. Data for Hawaii, Maryland and Rhode Island was not available for the survey, with the South more online and states in the middle of the country, from Wisconsin to Louisiana.
South Dakota, Vermont, North Dakota, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Michigan and Utah were among the states with the least amount of time online while Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri and Alabama were among the most.
According to a recent — and online — article by Christina Gregory, internet addiction is not officially recognized as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but affects up to 8.2% of the general population in American and European cultures.
China and South Korea have identified internet addiction as a “significant public health threat and both countries support education, research and treatment,” according to a 2012 publication and information found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information website.
And according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services less than 5% of adults participate in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day, so by comparison, more Minnesotans spend their time, say, on Facebook or Twitter than pumping iron or jogging.
I hardly spend my free time online — at least if playing games on a tablet and streaming entertainment, such as TV shows and feature films with internet-connected devices like Roku and media service providers like Netflix, respectively, are excluded from the survey.
In my old age, I have recently taken up playing Solitaire offline on the iPad — an absent-minded, inconsequential distraction —along with my wife who plays the card game simultaneously on her iPhone, so I’m not sure if that is in the spirit of Solitaire, i.e. games one plays by one’s self.
Still interested? For the full report about how much of their leisure time Americans spend online, state by state, visit www.verizonspecials.com/resources/computer-usage-by-state … but ironically that means taking more free time to find out how others are using their leisure time.