WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The steady increase of time spent on sites like Twitter and Facebook has been found to inversely correlate with the time spent on many daily duties and tasks.

A recent study released by Scott Wallsten, research economist for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), found that for every leisure hour spent online, 17 minutes less are spent doing recreational activities, 16 minutes less are spent working, and seven minutes less are spent sleeping.

The report uses government data about American Internet usage habits collected from 2003 to 2011.

In his report, Wallsten uses the term “crowd out” to describe the time replaced doing offline activities by time spent online.

Teens and people in their early 20s spend the most time on the internet.

“Among people age 15-19, each minute of online leisure is correlated with 0.3 fewer minutes engaged in educational activities,” Wallsten reported. “Not surprisingly, the largest amount of online leisure takes place on Saturday and Sunday, followed closely by Friday. Wednesday appears to have the least online leisure.”

On average Americans spend 100 minutes a day online for leisure activities. As a result, 27 less minutes a day are spent working or about 10 hours a month. (This calculation is assumes that there are 260 working days a year and that for every hour of work 16.2 minutes less are spent working.)

Wallsten suggests that, “a next research step may be estimating the increase in economic surplus from new online activities net of the activities they replace.”


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