Two-thirds of Australians are using social media each month, spending almost 100 minutes on social platforms each day.
That’s according to Hootsuite & We Are Social’s Digital in 2018 report which takes an indepth look at internet and social media usage across 239 countries and territories.
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Nearly 90 per cent of Australians are now online, according to the report, and we spend almost six hours a day connected to the internet (5 hours, 51 minutes). That’s 80 per cent more time than we spend watching television.
Internet users worldwide increased 7 per cent in the last 12 months, to hit 4.021 billion, or 53 per cent of the world’s population.
Global social media usage has increased by 13 per cent in the last 12 months, reaching 3.196 billion users, according to the report.
On average Australians spend 1 hour and 39 minutes using social media each day, which is less than the US, where users spend around 2 hours a day on social media. The Philippines tops the list with users spending almost four hours a day with their social media accounts.
The figures in the report are based on a survey of internet users aged 16 to 64.
Is spending too much time on social media bad for you?
The enormous reach of social media has some commentators questioning whether these platforms are harmful and addictive.
Last week Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff argued Facebook should be regulated like the tobacco industry.
“Smoking, drinking too much, & spending too much time on social media: none of these things are good for you, & they definitely aren’t good for our kids. Social media is virtually unregulated, while cigarettes & alcohol are subject to stringent regulation,” the CEO tweeted.
Even Facebook has asked the question Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us? Its research concluded passive social media use — reading but not interacting with people — makes people feel worse. While actively interacting with people — sharing messages, posts and comments — is linked to improvements in well-being.
“In sum, our research and other academic literature suggests that it’s about how you use social media that matters when it comes to your well-being,” said David Ginsberg, Facebook’s Director of Research.
When I was a kid I remember cigarette companies providing cigarettes with their logos that were made of bubble gum. You blew out powdered sugar smoke! The idea was to get kids interested in smoking early! Reminds me of questions about when kids should start using social media! pic.twitter.com/ceDUFvjy7J
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) January 30, 2018