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Some Canadians now spend 8 hours of free time daily staring at screens: poll

TORONTO - The average Canadian smartphone owner estimates that they spend almost eight hours of their free time every day staring at one of the many screens they own, suggests a recently released report.

In an online poll of 2,058 Canadians — conducted this fall by Ipsos on behalf of Google — smartphone owners said 86 per cent of their daily so-called "media interactions" were screen-based, including watching TV, using a computer, tablet or e-reader. Only 14 per cent were not screen-based, such as listening to the radio, reading a newspaper, magazine or book.

The respondents said they spent an average of 7.9 hours a day glazing at one of their screens, not including time they might have spent on a computer or mobile device for work.

On average, smartphone owners said they spent about an hour and a half each day on their phone for personal use, with about 56 per cent of that activity happening outside the home.

Tablet owners said they were using their device for about an hour and 15 minutes daily, and three quarters of that usage was at home.

Computer users said they spent three hours and 10 minutes working or playing on a PC daily in their personal time, including an hour away from home.

When asked about using their devices simultaneously — for example, swiping and tapping on a phone or tablet while watching TV — 87 per cent said they do it at least once a week.

Those multi-tasking users were most likely to be on their phone while watching TV, followed by a pairing of using their phone and their computer together, and then using their tablet while channel surfing.

Half of all TV viewers said they always have their phone, tablet or computer with them while looking for something to watch.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys like the one conducted for Google cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population like traditional telephone polls.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version suggested that the average Canadian smartphone owner estimated they spent 86 per cent of their free time daily looking at a screen, based on the poll results. In fact, the respondents estimated that 86 per cent of their media interactions were screen-based

The Canadian Press

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