Norton Study Reveals Americans Average 6+ Hours of Screen Time a Day Outside of Work and School
1 in 5 Device Owners Have Not Taken Actions to Protect Themselves and Their Devices
NortonLifeLock, a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, released a new global study examining consumers’ at-home online behaviors. The findings from the U.S. portion of the research show that 1 in 3 Americans (31%) say they have become addicted to being online as a result of the pandemic and many are not taking the steps needed to protect their physical, emotional, and digital well-being.
“With the pandemic rapidly changing how we use technology, the threats people face online also continue to change and evolve”
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In the study conducted online by The Harris Poll among more than 1,000 U.S. adults, over half of Americans (53%) say the amount of time they spend in front of a screen outside of school and work purposes has increased significantly during the pandemic. Consumers reported spending an average of 6.3 hours a day in front of screens outside of work or school, and for many, it’s too much. 66% of Americans admit that they spend way too much time looking at screens, with 1 in 4 (26%) saying they have purchased a new smart home or connected device to better cope with the pandemic. This brings the total reported average number of devices owned per household to 6.
While for some Americans, increased screen time has helped them feel connected (43%), nearly 4 in 10 (38%) say it has made them less physically active and 1 in 5 (21%) note it has negatively impacted their mental health.
Americans also understand there are security risks that come from connected devices, with many believing it is very or extremely likely that a computer (56%) or smartphone (49%) will be hacked. Yet, 1 in 5 device owners (20%) have not taken actions to protect themselves and their devices.
“With the pandemic rapidly changing how we use technology, the threats people face online also continue to change and evolve,” said Darren Shou, Head of Technology, NortonLifeLock. “Solutions that you can set and forget, like keeping your software updated, using multifactor authentication and securely backing up your files, are easy first steps everyone should take to live their digital lives safely.”
Norton helps families stay safe online with products like Norton Family, which enables parents to monitor and manage their children’s online activities, and Norton provides education, tools and resources in concert with National PTA and other organizations.
Additional findings from the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release – Home & Family include:
- Millennials and Gen Z feel the negative impact of increased screen time the most. 1 in 4 U.S. adults ages 18-39 (25%) say that increased screen time has made them feel lonelier than ever before compared to those aged 40 or older (13%). Close to 1 in 4 (23%) say the additional screen time has made them feel bad about their body or hurt their self-esteem.
- Despite being aware of security threats, consumers are more reactive when it comes to their safety. Looking from preventative to reactive, though 1 in 5 device owners (20%) have not taken actions to protect themselves and their devices, if one of their connected devices were hacked, the overwhelming majority (87%) say they would take action, most commonly changing the security settings or passwords (51%).
- Only around 1 in 3 deny permissions to apps on devices (35%), change the default passwords on devices (33%), regularly update device passwords (30%) or install cybersecurity software to their devices (29%).
- More than 3 in 5 adults (63%) admit to using personal information in their password(s), and only about 2 in 5 consumers who own a Wi-Fi router change their router password more than once a year. Just 39% of consumers who own a Wi-Fi router change their router password more than once a year, with close to 3 in 10 (29%) admitting they have never changed the password or are not sure how often the password is changed.
- Americans think conversations about online safety should start young. With 9 in 10 (90%) believing most children are addicted to screens, more than 4 in 5 Americans (84%) feel it’s absolutely essential or very important for parents to teach their children about cyber safety and the large majority (94%) say these conversations are more important now than ever before.
- Still, whether these conversations happen or not, more than three-quarters (78%) concede it is difficult for parents to keep children safe when they are online.
These new findings serve as a second addendum to the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report (NCSIR) examining the impact of cybercrime, in addition to the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release – Online Creeping uncovering consumers’ online creeping behaviors. Conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release – Home & Family surveyed more than 8,000 adults aged 18+ across eight countries1 including 1,003 U.S. adults to assess consumers’ at-home online behaviors.
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