(Credit: BankMyCell)

A report from mobile market researcher BankMyCell claims that residents of the United States spend an average of four hours on their mobile phones every day, over an hour longer than the global average. This comes amid recent attempts by Google and Facebook to implement "digital wellbeing" or "time well spent" to help us fight the addictions of social media and cell phone usage in general. Brazil topped the list at more than five hours per day.

SEE: How Android 9's Digital Wellbeing tool helps control your app time

Granted, due to how many billions of people use mobile phones every day, global averages can be pretty misleading. If you're using your iPhone to passively to play an audiobook during your commute, or you're transitioning to watching TV and movies on a mobile device instead of a TV or a PC, you may have a high total usage per day while not demonstrating the signs of an unhealthy attachment to your phone.

That said, BankMyCell has numbers for addiction, too. According to their research, 22 percent of 18 to 29 year olds check their phone literally every few minutes, all day long, and users across all age groups will spend well over an hour every day on one of the five big social networks. A whopping 85 percent of their survey respondents said that they couldn't even get through a conversation with friends or family without checking their phone at some point.

Beyond citing the time spent on social media, however, BankMyCell shies away from open criticism of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. These platforms have been repeatedly blamed not just for making people feel unfulfilled and inadequate, but they have also been accused of deliberately implementing techniques to keep people hooked, while also dragging their feet on measures to fight cyberbullying and coordinated disinformation campaigns.

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The end result can be a toxic stew that users nevertheless cannot tear themselves away from, leading to a higher chance of depression and even suicide.

BankMyCell offers some advice from its survey respondents to those of us who must fend for ourselves when the platforms fail us. The respondents indicated that they experienced some success with the following methods: Keep your phone out of sight when you're socializing, and also when you're alone. Turn off audio notifications, and turn off the device when it's time to go to bed. A quarter of respondents also recommended deleting the offending app altogether.

BankMyCell itself recommends opting to speak to people face-to-face when possible, especially if you're using it as a crutch to avoid personal engagement. They also invite mobile phone addicts to try better ways to make use of their time when they're bored or stressed out; easier said than done if your addiction has left you bereft of hobbies like cooking, foreign language learning, or automotive repair.

The takeaways

  1. According to market research firm BankMyCell, Americans spend an average of four hours a day staring at their cell phones, and users around the world spend well over an hour every day just on social networks.
  2. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are under pressure to implement time management tools

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Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.