This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 10, 2014.
College students are giving new meaning to the term “phoning it in.” Recent research from Baylor University indicates they are spending close to half their waking hours on their smartphones.
Texting was, by far, the activity students said they spend the most time doing. Although men and women send about the same number of texts, women spend more time reading and writing them. E-mailing from their phones was next, followed by Facebook, browsing the Internet and listening to music.
Baylor researchers surveyed 164 college students on the amount of time they devote to 24 different smartphone activities each day and found that women average more time on social media and on communication in general. Women dominate Pinterest in particular, and say they use the app 26 minutes a day, compared to men’s one minute. Women also spent three times as long using Instagram, but men spent almost twice as much time playing games.
Other research has shown all this screen time is likely to take a toll on health. A 2013 study from Kent State University showed that students who spent the most time on their cell phones tended to be the least physically active and perform the worst on treadmill exertion tests. This is in line with older research that predated smartphones and showed people who spent the most time in front of the TV exercised the least.
Here are the smartphone stats:
The average number of hours female college students report using their smartphones each day, according to Baylor research. Male students reported nearly eight hours of daily use.
The average number of minutes college women said they spent texting each day, making it the most time-intensive activity. Men averaged 84 minutes. Both genders spent about half as much time e-mailing from their phones.
The number of texts one-third of survey respondents said they sent each day. Some said they sent more than 90. In contrast, 79 percent said they made 0 to 5 calls on their phone a day.
The number of minutes women said they spent on the Facebook smartphone app each day. Men averaged 31 minutes. Women spent 30 minutes on Twitter, compared to men’s 22, and 26 minutes on Instagram, compared to men’s 8.
The number of minutes men said they spent daily playing games on their smartphones. Women reported 8 minutes of game time.