We live in an age in which there are many social media and messaging apps, which leads us to spend too much time looking through posts and timelines. If you want to find out how much time you’re wasting away on social media, a new calculator now tells you how much time you have been checking posts online -- and how many books you could have read instead.
The number of social media usage among Americans has gone up over the year. On Instagram alone, those under the age of 25 spend more than 32 minutes a day on the platform, while those ages 25 and older spend more than 24 minutes a day. If you add up the time, those under 25 are spending nearly four hours on Instagram during an entire week. The amount users spend on their mobile phones has also increased. People spend an average of five hours a day on their mobile devices, with apps taking up 92 percent of the time cellphone owners use their devices for.
How Much Time Do You Spend On Social Media?
Using the Omni calculator, type in the number of times you check your social media accounts during and hour and how much time you usually stay on it. The calculator will then break down how much time you spend on social media per day and it also translates it to what you could've done instead, like how many books you could have read per year or how many calories you could’ve burned by running.
Just a couple of five-minute social media breaks an hour can turn to hundreds of hours per year. Taking a single five-minute break to look through your Facebook feed equals 97 books a year.
Here’s an infographic on social media alternatives:
The Social Media Time Alternatives Calculator was created by Jacek Staszak and his team at Omni Calculator. The site has over 300 calculators, including a “Quit Smoking And Save Calculator,” which calculates how much money people spend on cigarettes.
“We know that people spend a lot of time on social media and we wanted to create something that measures it and puts it in perspective,” Staszak told International Business Times. “One five-minute break per hour does not tell a story, but the time required to read almost 100 books per year certainly does.”
Staszak and his team hope the calculator can open people’s eyes about how much time they spend on social media.
“We've created Social Media Alternatives Calculator to give people an incentive to question the compulsive use of social media because some of us don’t realize how much time we spend scrolling through Facebook or Instagram per day,” said Staszak.
The social media calculator could scare some people into cutting down social media usage.
“Hopefully, it’ll encourage users to change their habits,” said Staszak. “Each person who’ll see the difference and decide to spend more time outside social media is a win for us.”
It might be possible considering the “Quit Smoking and Save Calculator” helped many realize how much smoking was hurting their pockets. According to Staszak, many people said they quit smoking after they saw they were losing hundreds of dollars a month.
How To Cut Down On Social Media Usage
If the number of books on your calculator was high, you may think about cutting down on social media. Staszak gave some advice to those who want to spend less time on social networks.
One of the things you should do is disable notifications.
“It all starts with controlling your time again,” he said. “All push notifications are dictating you when you should use your phone.”
The second thing is to delete apps you don’t need.
“Even with notifications disabled, some still feel the urge to open some apps, because they’re still there,” said Staszak. “Delete them, and it takes much more time to open your social media accounts, although it’s still possible to open on your mobile browser.”
You can also go old school and call someone instead of texting. That will take away the urge to open other apps, especially messaging apps or features on social media accounts.
Another way to cut social media is to go under the radar.
“From time to time it’s good to quit all social media just for a couple of hours,” said Staszak. “It’s not much, but it gives perspective and shows that life without all those apps bugging you is perfectly reasonable.”
If this is too hard for you, don’t give up. Getting distracted and starting your social media addiction is nothing out of the ordinary, and it shouldn’t discourage you.
“There are times when opening Facebook or Twitter is actually necessary,” said Staszak. “But always try to come back to your resolution and reduce the amount of time spent on social media.”