The latest data says the average American spends about an hour using his or her smartphone every day, usually doing some non-phone activity like using an app. So, assuming we get a phone when we become teenagers, how much of the average American life will be spent using the phone?
Admittedly, I'm an odd choice to do a calculation like this.1 I still (somewhat proudly) have what I consider to be a state-of-the-art flip phone. Despite being seven years old and having been dropped so many times it's developed the phone equivalent of cerebral palsy, it still serves my purposes quite well. For a luddite like me, Damon was kind enough to provide me with this reference breaking down the various uses of smart phones:
|My phone can do exactly two of these things.|
The lifespan of a person living in a technologically advanced society is about 80 years. If everyone receives a phone upon becoming a teenager, then, on average, people will each have about 70 years to stare at tiny screens. One hour per day is 1/24th of your total time, which means you'll spend a total of roughly 3 years on your smartphone. Breaking this down, that'd be 300 days of talking, 220 days of texting, 96 days of gaming,2 and 340 days worth of visiting the Internet and social networking.
Thanks for a great question, Damon! Find out more about Damon on his website or follow him on at @browndamon.
Aaron Santos is a physicist and author of the books How Many Licks? Or How to Estimate Damn Near Anything and Ballparking: Practical Math for Impractical Sports Questions. Follow him on Twitter at @aarontsantos.
 At least, I would be an odd choice if there were other silly physicists out there doing calculations for people on their blog.
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