Social media management platform Hootsuite and digital marketing agency We Are Social have teamed up to create their annual Digital report, revealing exactly what it is the world has been clicking, scrolling, and searching over the last year.
According to the report, the prize for "Top Internet User of 2018" goes to the Philippines, where citizens racked up a staggering 10 hours and 2 minutes of Internet time every day. In comparison, the global average stands at 6 hours and 42 minutes.
In second and third place came Brazil and Thailand respectively, with people spending a daily average of 9 hours and 29 minutes and 9 hours and 11 minutes plugged in. Meanwhile, the US and UK rank somewhere in the middle. Americans spend a daily average of 6 hours and 31 minutes online, while Brits spend 5 hours and 46 minutes.
Coming in last is Japan – the country's Internet use averages at a measly-in-comparison 3 hours and 45 minutes a day.
So, what are people doing with all this time online?
Unsurprisingly, social media is taking up a large chunk of Internet users' attention. The report found that 45 percent of the globe now has at least one social media account – that's a 9 percent rise from last year.
In terms of the amount of time spent on social media, we spend an average of 2 hours and 16 minutes scrolling, liking, and retweeting each day. However, there's a lot of variation depending on where in the world you are from. Filipinos, for example, spend an average of 4 hours and 12 minutes on social media, while in Japan, the average is just 36 minutes.
Still, despite our continued obsession with social media, only one platform (Facebook) made it into the "Top 5" most visited websites. For the record, those top five sites are (in descending order) Google, Youtube, Facebook, Baidu, and Wikipedia.
The report also highlights how the world is becoming ever more connected as more and more people come online. The country that saw the largest absolute growth last year was India, with a 21 percent increase in Internet users. Meanwhile, the country with the furthest to go is North Korea, where access is extremely limited and only permitted with special authorization. According to the report, there were only 20,000 Internet users in North Korea in 2018.
Should we be concerned about the rise in screentime? Not necessarily, Sonia Livingstone, a professor in the department of media and communications at the London School of Economics (LSE), told CNN.
A large part of this time may be explained by work, which is increasingly online. (Think of Uber, for example, which requires near constant use of the app by drivers.) Then, there's the digitalization of government and administrative processes, now increasingly done online rather than in person, which may be another contributing factor.
The survey was conducted using information from a large bank of sources, including local government bodies, the CIA Factbook, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the US census.