Healthy Living

We Spend More Time Watching Netflix Than With Our Friends

Step. Away. From. The. Laptop.
05/17/2016 03:03pm ET | Updated May 17, 2016

There's a saying that goes, "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." If that's really the case, then most of us must be a unique combination of characters from "Friends," "Gilmore Girls" or whatever other show we're currently binging on Netflix.

A new data analysis suggests we spend more time watching Netflix in a day than we do socializing, exercising and reading combined. The technology website Cord Cutting analyzed reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use survey and from Netflix about its user behavior. Among the discoveries: Americans spend, on average, over an hour more per day with the streaming service than doing other leisure activities.

Americans spend approximately 38 minutes a day on average socializing, 17 minutes engaging in sports and exercise and around 19 minutes reading, according to the Time Use survey.

Of course, there are a few caveats with Cord Cutting's finding: The publication used a Netflix-provided analysis of their global subscribers, while the Time Use survey looked at just the American population. What's more, Time Use doesn't yet have a "streaming services" question, so this data relies on reports of television watching.

But as Cord Cutting writer Stephen Lovely argues, data collected together in one survey may have been even more extreme:

Since we Americans enjoy Netflix’s largest catalog (for now, at least) and are not known for our active lifestyles, its unlikely that including international subscribers heightened the contrast – if anything, we’d expect that isolating American subscriber data would make the gap even more dramatic.

Whether we're streaming or sitting in front of the tube, we're spending more time with our devices than anything else. A 2015 Neilson report found that Americans spend an estimated 11 hours a day with digital media, Slate reported. That's almost as much time as our waking hours, which average about 16 to 18 (yeah, let that sink in for a minute).

Simply put, we opt for screen time more often than face time -- and that can be an issue. Research suggests too much tech can disrupt our emotional and physical wellbeing. Studies show excessive binge-watching can up your risk of diabetes, increase feelings of loneliness or isolation and lead to unhealthy nutrition choices.

Perhaps it's time to put the computer -- and the fifth episode of "House of Cards" -- to sleep. At least for a little while?

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