Screentime: Making Sense of the iWorld

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Twenty years ago we became subjects of a new world order. A world order in which we started spending more time looking at screens than spending in face to face interaction. Today, each one of us spends, on average, 10 hours and 19 minutes each day looking at digital devices.


When we asked Australians how they spend their time, we found that the top activities Australians do on a weekly basis are indoor activities. Watching television or movies at home (90%) and spending time on social media (78%) top the list.

When asked what Australians would like to be doing less of, we find that we have an aversion towards the things we find ourselves doing. One in five of us would like to decrease the amount of time we spend on social media or the internet, and one in eight of us would like to decrease our television or movie consumption time. 

Regardless of our age or other demographics, we have become the iGen, and a group of global citizens part of a new experiment. A global experiment of digital connectivity that has transformed us to be post-linear, post-structural and post-literate. 

  • Post-linear: We no longer see life in a clear sequence, but rather a series of events that somehow come together in a new order. We don’t go to university or TAFE and end up with a trade or profession, but are entrepreneurial to the core. We up-skill, re-train, re-skill – most of us having 15 jobs across 5 careers in a lifetime.
  • Post-structural: We are post-structural, not needing our life organised in 9-5 modes. We telework, work from home, work from the train, really, we work all the time. We are a truly switched on generation, with more than half of us (54%, among Gen Y workers), admitting that we are always on and never quite feel like we can shut off.
  • Post-literate: Technology has made us post-literate and changed our lexicon and language. New words have entered our vocabulary, whether it be the emoji 'face with tears of joy' or words that aren't words at all, like #hashtag.

Screentime: Who is in control and what happens next?

Our data shows that nearly nine in ten of us have become consumers of social media, rather than contributors. Just 12% are active, sharing our life and engaging with others across social media platforms. There is no doubt that our digital times are changing our communication, our behaviour, and our learning styles. Social media has become the show-reel of our lives, breeding isolation, distraction, and a lesser ability to focus. 

Yet global connection has allowed us to gain insight into areas we never thought possible. Most of the world is now connected with a smart device. Our phones have become our 'third brain', challenging us and expanding our worldviews. In the future, new mediums will enable us to connect with the information currently available to us behind screens, in a way that is truly a part of our normal daily routine and less behind glass.

This global experiment that we find ourselves in presents a new set of challenges for us to grapple with. We have to think about how we navigate this new reality with both our cerebral capacity to think but also the deeper eyes of our heart, responding intuitively to how screens are shaping us and changing us. What future do we envision for the next generation to come, Generation Alpha? 

More than anything, it is about learning quickly from our recent past. We have the ability to create a future for the next generations that we can be proud of by maximising the best technology has to offer while leaving the 'not-so-good' bits behind.   

About Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the megatrends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth to social trends such as changing household structures, to generational change and the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

To have Eliane Miles present to your organisation on the screenage, Generation Z or the future world of work, please contact Kimberley Linco at or call 02 8824 3422



Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


census data cancelling event speakers pack urban taskforce work balance ACF trend students seasons lifestyle income Andrew Duffin new york times survey design resilience VET sector work mates states resource builders tuesday cooking couple ageing capital city office 10 years ease of travel hello fresh energy VET Aussies domestic Merry Christmas clothing Do It Yourself media 2020 generation Z WA unemployment survey online shopping South Australia society trends safe communities sun PSI easy rider group data futurist urban living relational case study educhat gold coast youth monarchy The ABC of XYZ christianity professional services community engagement conferences earning population panel young people celebration nfp property price capital cities social enquiry Caregiver career holiday eliane miles wages research priorities offenders financial dreams mover and shaker breakfast demographic trends future world report learning styles stay home SA NFP event cars greatness February 16 #censusfail work-life EFF mother's day divorce rate events 2016 census learner eliane speakers ageing population employment growth house prices budget local social media youth unemployment education culturally diverse housing trends internship grave decision cancel plans generation moreton bay teacher local community Canberra public holiday Australian demographics digital challenge professional speaker increasing densification city Generation Y consumer Tuesday Trend bus social life Education Future Forum mobile shifts townhouses sydneycity student hobart goal royal baby Australian Dream award winner TAS criminal sector wide study housing video culture princess charlotte the hills shire baby affordability qualitative research in the media young australians changing face of sydney baby names men mythbusting award conference presentation summer area graphs Australian Census TEDx social change Hornsby Shire Council social trends experience VIC the australian dream English TED talk social shifts Wagga Wagga fresh friends training menai cultural diveristy participants logan responsive tableau research visualisation royal in depth interviews economy presentations wellbeing sunny days politics 2012 collaboration Sydney Hills Business Chamber charity national private wealth women Births grandparents urban bondi SMART rent Work place wage generation alpha aged care australian 1975 follow Western Australia Australian Home education future sydney hills research pack sentiments unaffordable huffington post brand housing market 2016 census results acf15 Aussie property high density optus news society 1994 visualisation micro apartments australian communities forum FPA Geoff Brailey sector wide happiness names shopper's pick consumerism engagement census results the hills Christmas season faith mining boom wealth and income suburb Queensland trends analyst religion Generation X infographic wall communications gen alpha language results social analysis winter blues story overcast workplace spend Hills Shire Council demographer volunteering data rule keeper ACT teaching millenials faux-cilising Australian community trends christmas car growing population emerging technologies paying to work investment house price Duchess of Cambridge goals "know the times" newspaper trends non profit Kiwi REIV National Conference economic Mark McCrindle investor sydney metro Australian Bureau of Statistics teleworking Real Estate the average aussie average sydneysider households Australian Communities Trends family screenage The Daily Edition NEETs keynote speaker royal family the changing face of know the times census fail future of education sustainable careers litter Myth commute high density living McCrindle Speakers micro Social Trend future-proof World Water Day presentation statistics Financial Planning Association house price rise hills shire communicate optus my business awards Royals long weekend children parenting cloudy days affordable James Ward mccrindle in the media anzac event deloitte cold housing affordability Bathburst innovative residents demographic transformations house January 26th medicine debate group session sydney speaker selfie Northern Beaches population growth Wellington environment google for education entrepreneurs of today father's day sydney event engage publication home ownership program spirituality school students Scouts leader debt plans mentor forum property market workplace culture social lives waverton Australian Trends crime storytelling travelling financial NT forecast media activity Adelaide home small business land of the middle class suburban living manly cica emerging trends Sydney mccrindle tea research data university degree NBRS Architecture sydneysider cancelling plans networking jobs of the future Australian communities ipswich child care Christmas presents ashley mckenzie future proofing visual high density apartments Queensland: QLD marrickville schools students shopping Channel 7 innovation socialising education research pharmacy online TDE Australians Res Vis trends of 2016 Gen Y Australian schools data analyst Tasmania cost australian communities trends report year 7 education future report Australian Families media commentary organisations pharmacies megatrends year 12 volunteers healthy future identity business performance tattoos educated divorce SRE Northern Territory faux-cilise housing growth study millionth mythbusters marriages australians staying home more keynote population milestone baby boom earn marketing etiquette Charlotte insight ideas population map tips mateship renting New Zeland post rationalism local communities generational trends staying in alpha world youth day NSW home owner authenticity ultimo global financial crisis census purpose public speaking apartments Australia Day 2017 household stats weekly earnings living Tuesday Trends cultural diversity retirement education sector millennials Crime Rates GPO thrive socialites curiosity darwin tertiary education business index impact coffee demography chairty marriage insights research report research services REIV Conference crows nest state social commentary workforce not for profit professional development cash school hopes mccrindle community event perth change skills Wodonga hornsby poor Skilling sydneysiders data visualisation jobs government 2017 daily telegraph faux-ciliser twentyseventeen school satisfaction commuters baby name trends IT Specialists personalities ferry define lalor park geomapping neutral bay NBRS norwest average Australian 40 million easter blaxland dessert trends of 2017 baby name equip Financial Planning Association of Australia social researcher potts point TED Christmas lunch collaborative national crime rates thought leadership Australia Day omnibus relevant Word Up meetings daily commute quote Assistant Store Manager church the great screenage infographics rain environmental scanning Melbourne social issues pyrmont DESTEL market research christian investing supply and demand showreel rich wealth and income distribution aussie culture poker master life kate middleton national wealth middle class tea prince george financial independence families learn cost of living 1980 social commentator demographics baby names report dream friendship volunteer Population Clock ethnography ashley fell Australian Population social researchers high school urban living index professional presenters office opening wedding conference finance CPI future of work moderators guide suburbs financial future 24,000,000 average aussie rising house prices baby boomers Engineering Manager leadership rental stress transport 2014 going out professional internships vegetarian vegemite focus groups wealth distribution brisbane researcher earnings mortgage train analysis optimistic Territory typical australian Australia street water intern conference speaker list Northern beaches Event parents owning a home Love woolworths university FOMO low density dreaming workshop shopping centre social research village Real Estate Institute of Victoria outsourcing bureau Christchurch media release trend tuesday DIY Netflix ABS infographic emerging generations ACF17 2015 slideshare ACF 2016 Vocational education weather CBD wealth apartment baby names australia report click salary Macquarie University employers renter of the future mccrindle research New Zealand public speaker toys schools social australian social research sports brand experience product teachers Financial Planning Week customer Research Executive contiki winter interactive tv financial fears dare to dream australia forecasting brands office space facts rise of local not-for-profit community entrepreneurial 23 million organisational culture travel wolloomooloo entrepreneur global Channel Seven leadership workshop learning buildings 2016 Research Director sector proactive hills focus group Deaths census 2016 24 million business System's Architect personal growth food 2013 speaker Gen X JOMO meals sunburnt country staff new office baby name predictions repayments motivate trades Kirsten Brewer fears belief social impact Northern Beaches Christian School 1968 recap demographic entertainment gen z SMSF victoria future of shopping communication internet ACF2017 teach aged care puzzle generations holidays HSC global generations gender google real technology narcissism shbc royal influence Valentine’s Day annual income snapshot New South Wales cartodb Sydney keynote speaker future proof