Too much time online

The internet is now regularly used by most New Zealanders, with Kiwis averaging spending nearly 2 hours a day on social media sites. 

The internet has definitely changed the scene of how we live and work. It’s now one of the most widely utilised and accessible tools for all ages, across resources and information, connecting with our loved ones, entertainment, buying and selling and more.

Having strong social connections can play an important role in helping to maintain overall wellbeing.  Routine online use can help compensate for face to face social interactions whether due to busyness in day to day life or physical distance separation from friends and loved ones.

Online platforms have enabled us to overcome barriers across location and time to stay connected and reconnected with those around us, create and share new ideas and interact with a diverse range of people and develop and tune new hobbies. This has helped us to strengthen and support our inter-personal networks and there is much research to support this. However, our pervasive engagement online is not wholly a positive.       

How much time is too much online?

Can we have too much of a good thing? The evidence suggests we can. There is a growing body of research which suggests that it’s not the online use itself that’s a problem for us. It’s how we use the platform and how long we spend on a site which is what can have a negative impact on our wellbeing. So how much time is too much time online?

In short, those who use online platforms for ‘light use’, roughly between 30mins and two hours a day, for uses which foster social connectedness tend to show higher levels of overall wellbeing compared to those who don’t use online platforms at all or who spend much of their time on them.

For those of us that start to inch up to moderate to heavy levels of online use where we are limiting or cutting ourselves off from our social supports or are using online platforms for comparisons across our relationships, lifestyles and values, we tend to see lower levels of overall wellbeing. This type of use and frequency of use means those people can show higher levels of depression and loneliness as well.

If you feel as though the amount of time you spend online is making you feel down or you notice it’s starting to have a negative impact on other parts of your hauora/wellbeing, then it might be a sign to look at some ways of cutting back. 

If you’re having trouble with a particular online platform, check out our related pages below for some helpful tips, resources and information on where to get support.

Ways I can cut down on my time online