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- Americans older than age 65 spend one-third more time a day on their screens than Americans aged 18 to 34 do, reported The Economist.
- Nielsen data reveals that TV is responsible for the difference — seniors have more interest in TV, spending about four hours more a day with the television on than younger cohorts do.
- But when used with moderation and self-control, watching TV isn’t a bad thing, according to psychologist Leora Trub.
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American millennials and Gen Z may have a reputation for being the tech-savvy and tech-addicted generations — but it’s America’s elderly who actually spend the most time on their screens.
Americans aged 65 and older spend one-third more a day on screen-time than Americans aged 18 to 34 do, reported The Economist, citing data from market-research firm Nielsen. The data shows that the elderly spend nearly 10 hours a day on their televisions, computers, or smartphones, while younger Americans spend about seven hours doing so.
According to The Economist, TV is responsible for the difference. Nielsen’s data revealed that while seniors spend an average of seven-and-a-half hours with the TV on, younger generations have less interest in TV — they spend about four hours less in front of the TV.
It’s worth noting that this includes having background TV on while engaging in other activities, and that seniors have more time on their hands — 75% of the seniors in Nielsen’s data are retired.
While younger generations spend more time on their smartphones than seniors — three-and-a-half hours compared to two hours — it doesn’t make up for the gap in TV use. Both age groups have seen an increase in mobile device use over the past four years.
Regardless of age, there’s always the risk of technology addiction.
In fact, the addiction criteria usually used for drugs and alcohol is now being used for technology, Leora Trub, Ph.D., who leads Pace University’s Digital Media and Psychology Lab, previously told Business Insider.
She likens a technology addiction, specifically, to food addiction. Technology, she noted, is "… out there for everyone, everyone needs to use it to some extent for their daily lives. It’s an alluring and compelling thing."
But when used with moderation and self-control, watching TV isn’t a bad thing, as it can offer both distraction and entertainment as a coping mechanism for burnout or stress, Trub said: "Everyone should get to have their own vices and TV is a fine one."
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