With many of us spending so much time online, it goes without saying that apps and social media have become an integral part of our daily lives. They’re something that most of us use each and every day, maybe for a minute or two at work, or perhaps an hour or more on our commute.
Social media apps in particular make it all too easy for us to open up our feeds and scroll… and scroll some more… and maybe a little bit more after that. Come to think of it, do you actually know how long you spend on social media, and how far you scroll each day?
According to data provided by Statista, the average user spends 108 minutes a day scrolling social media. That might not seem like much, but the average daily mobile usage in the UK sits at roughly 4 hours. That’s 1/6th of your day spent scrolling through apps!
To really put into perspective just how big of a deal this is, we pulled together the data provided by Statista and combined it with some clever calculations to demonstrate just how far your thumbs travel when scrolling through social media each day, week, month, and year.
How far do you scroll on social media every day?
Ok, time for some quick maths:
If the average person spends 108 minutes a day scrolling social media, and scrolls roughly 30cm every five seconds, that means in 108 minutes your thumb has travelled 38,880cm. That’s 388.8m or 0.38km!
That’s pretty far for your tiny thumb to travel in just 24 hours, but it gets even bigger when you start to think about even greater timescales.
In a week, your thumb will have scrolled a surprising 2.7km.
After a month, it will have scrolled an impressive 12.1km.
And in a year’s time? Well, in a year’s time, your thumb will have scrolled a staggering 141.912km – that’s the equivalent of roughly 3.4 marathons!
But a kilometre is just a measurement of distance after all. Surely, we can show how far you scroll from a much greater perspective?
How many days would you have to scroll to travel around the world?
Fun fact, the distance around the Earth is about 40,075km. Which means, if you were to keep scrolling, it would take you 103,073.56 days to complete one trip around the globe. In other words, that's around 282.4 years.
Of course, if you left Earth and decided to visit the moon by scroll power instead, you’re looking at a travel time of around 988,683.13 days. In other words, you’d be scrolling for 2708.72 years.
Want to go even further? How about Mars? While we’re pretty sure Elon Musk won’t be using the scrolling power of one person to fuel his potential Mars mission, if he did, it would take a mind-boggling 578,703,703.70 days, or a casual 1,585,489.6 years.
But let’s bring it back down to Earth. What about scrolling along one of America’s biggest highways? Say, Route 66? Well, it’s certainly nowhere near as long as the distance to Mars. But scrolling down Route 66 would still take you 10,133.74 days. That’s a road trip of about 27.8 years.
And finally, should you for some reason ever desire to scroll the distance of a particularly tall individual, perhaps Shaquille O’Neal, then you’d only need to scroll for 8 minutes. Though short and easy to accomplish, this measurement is unlikely to replace metres as the traditional way of tracking height.
Do we spend too much time scrolling?
By now, you might not be surprised to know that some health experts are worried about the amount of time we all spend scrolling on our phones. We all know the increased risks associated with our mental health, but excess scrolling can also lead to physical injury.
Scroll or texting thumb is a condition caused, unsurprisingly, by excessive scrolling or texting. This might be indicated by the digit in question starting to cramp, leading to substantial inflammation or even your thumb becoming stuck in a bent position.
Needless to say, we probably all spend a little too long scrolling on our phones each and every day, and there are certainly better things we could be doing with those four hours. After all, there’s a whole world out there to explore, and we’re not going to get there by scrolling on our mobiles.
Of course, we’d never advocate cutting yourself off from the online world entirely. Practically every business needs the internet to run efficiently, from reliable web hosting to powerful dedicated servers for developing new software. And where would we be without our emails?
The internet does have its benefits, so maybe it’s just about moderation (especially if the number of after-work emails Brits receive is anything to go by!).
Based on the data found within Statista’s studies, the average person in 2021 spent 108 minutes, or 6,480 seconds per day scrolling through social media.
If we assume that for every 5 seconds of phone usage, a person scrolls an average of 30 cm (estimated from the distance the screen scrolls per swipe), we can say that 6cm is scrolled every second. That means that if 108 minutes are spent scrolling, the average person scrolls 38,880 cm per day (6 cm x 6,480 = 38,880 cm).
To convert this to metres or kilometres, simply divide the cm by 100 or 1,000, respectively. To find your desired distance in days, simply multiply your cm, m, or km by the desired unit of time.