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Do you know how much time you spend online?

How much time do you spend online? It may be more than you think. That’s because, across the world, people are spending an increasing amount of their lives online, and the hours are really adding up. A study from NordVPN breaks down some of the most striking parts of this growing trend.

Do you know how much time you spend online?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Why does time spent online matter?

It’s no surprise that the time we spend online is increasing. The internet offers us instant entertainment, social networks, and countless hours of free content. We use it for everything from online banking to dating.

That fact isn’t a problem in itself, of course. The internet is one of the greatest technical innovations in human history; it’s great that we get to benefit from it. But there’s another side to all this.

The more integrated your life is with the internet, the more scope and opportunity there is for the next hacker who decides to target you.

How do the countries compare?

In June 2021, NordVPN surveyed thousands of internet users to determine how much time they spend online. Before we go further, let’s take a look at the data. How did different countries in our study compare?

  • USA. The average internet user in the US will spend 21 years, 4 months, and 29 days online across the course of their life.
  • Australia. If you’re an Australian, 27 years, 6 months, and 17 days days of your life will be online.
  • Canada. Canadians can expect to use the internet for 22 years, 2 months, and 12 days across the course of an average lifetime.
  • lifetime online research: usa vs. australia vs. canada
  • Spain. The average internet user will spend 28 years, 9 months, and 10 days online.
  • France. The average internet user will spend 27 years, 7 months, and 6 days online.
  • Germany. The average internet user will spend 24 years, 8 months, and 14 days online.
  • lifetime online research: spain vs. france vs. germany

When we’re summing up the findings, they can sound pretty extreme. But let’s look at what these results mean on a weekly basis for the average person.

Weekly usage: How do we spend our time?

Americans will spend 5 hours and 23 minutes streaming TV shows and films on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu. Another 4 hours 37 minutes will be spent scrolling through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Almost the same again (4 hours and 22 minutes) will go into short-form video platforms like YouTube.

Australians spend a similar amount of time online, including 4 hours and 26 minutes streaming music. Not to be outdone, a Canadian will dedicate around 2 hours and 21 minutes each week to gaming — more than they spend on life admin tasks like banking and organization (2 hours and 5 minutes).

The average Spanish user spends almost 2-3 hours more per week (8:04 hrs) streaming content than French (6:18 hrs) and German (5:19 hrs) users.

The average German user spends much less time on social media per week (4:12 hrs) than Spanish (6:01 hrs) and French (6:39 hrs) users.

When it came to activities like research, video calls, gaming and others, the highest and lowest national weekly averages all fell within no more than 30 or 40 minutes of each other.

How to protect your online life

A greater amount of online engagement means a greater risk of being targeted by cybercriminals. Every account you create, every bit of personal information you input into a website — it all adds up to create a tempting prize for a hacker.

You’re probably going to keep using the internet for the rest of your life, but it’s vital that you take proper security precautions whenever you can. Not sure where to start? Read on.

  • Track your own habits. Spend some time tracking how you spend your time online. There are apps that can help with this, or you can start keeping an internet journal. This can help you identify where your greatest risks lie and whether there are easy ways to improve your security.
  • Learn about cybersecurity. Once you know where you like to spend your time online and what the associated risks might be, you’ll be ready to find cybersecurity solutions. If you browse the web a lot, get a more secure browser. If you send lots of files back and forth, consider using an antivirus or a secure cloud storage program like NordLocker.
  • Use stronger passwords. Passwords should be long, random, and complex. They should combine upper and lowercase characters with numbers and symbols. If you find such passwords hard to remember, try using a password manager to help you generate and store strong login details.
  • Use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a system by which two mechanisms or more protect your accounts. With MFA enabled, your account will ask for both a password and something else; a unique code sent to your designated personal device, or even a fingerprint.
  • Be wary of unexpected emails. Phishing emails are a common and effective way for hackers to steal your data or infect your device with malware. Always be wary of any unexpected emails, even if they appear to be from a trusted sender. And never click on the links or buttons they contain.
  • Adjust your privacy settings. If you’re going to use social media, adjust the privacy settings to ensure that you’re only giving away the information you’re comfortable with sharing. We advise that you keep your profile as private as possible.
  • Start using a VPN. A virtual private network, or VPN, is a great way to protect your data. A VPN encrypts your traffic, so even if you’re connected to unsecured public Wi-Fi, you’ll always be secured. NordVPN also has the Threat Protection feature that helps you identify malware-ridden files, stops you from landing on malicious websites, and blocks trackers and intrusive ads on the spot.

Online security starts with a click.

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