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Americans Can’t Put Down Their Phones, Shut Off the TV

Have a hard time prying your eyes from a screen? You're not alone.

A new report from market research firm eMarketer reveals that US adults are now spending more than half their day—12 hours and 7 minutes, on average—consuming media. That includes nearly six hours with digital media on a mobile device, desktop, laptop, or tablet and four hours in front of the TV; nearly 1.5 hours with radio; and 25 minutes with print media sources.

EMarketer likened American's media obsession to the annual Coney Island hot dog eating contest.

"It has seemed in recent years that US adults bring a similar spirit to their consumption of media, cramming as much as possible into an average day," the firm wrote. "Like a Coney Island contestant stuffing hot dogs into his mouth with both hands, people are often using multiple media at the same time. That is how the figure for time spent can add up to 12 hours a day."

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The company said it counted simultaneous usage separately, so if someone spent an hour in front of the TV, and browsed the web on their smartphone at the same time, that counted for an hour of usage for each.

One might surmise that our collective smartphone obsession would start to dwindle by now. Not so, according to eMarketer; the average time we're spending with smartphones has "steadily increased," it said. EMarketer expects the amount of "nonvoice" time we spend with smartphones to rise from two hours, 18 minutes in 2014 to two hours, 42 minutes by 2019.

"The proliferation of apps is clearly a factor in this increase," the company wrote. "For users of smartphones — and, to a slightly lesser extent, users of tablets—time spent using those devices mostly means time spent using apps."

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