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 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?
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.
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).
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.
- 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. It helps you identify malware-ridden files, stops you from landing on malicious websites, and blocks trackers and intrusive ads on the spot.