Insights April 2nd, 2020

Future of Life in America – Digital Obesity and Mental Health is explored in a new study by Intensions Consulting, a market research firm, and futurist Nikolas Badminton that looked at the Future of Life in America.

The age of digital obesity

Looking for factors that could help explain these findings, the researchers delved into the daily digital behaviour of Americans. While the average American reported spending a total of 301 minutes (5 hours) a day on social media, apps, and online platforms, those aged 16 to 29 reported spending 514 minutes (8.5 hours) a day.

The Future of Life in America - Digital Obesity

This was concerning, as the study found that spending more than 240 minutes (4 hours) a day on social media, apps, and online platforms, was associated with significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, and self-identified narcissism.

“To use a diet analogy, our data suggests that Americans might want to restrict their level of daily digital consumption,” says Black. “For younger Americans, whose daily digital consumption is bordering on digital obesity, a pretty substantial restriction may be required.”

Future of Life in America - Digital Consumption

However, getting younger Americans to restrict their daily digital consumption could prove challenging. Among those aged 16 to 29, 54 per cent said they would find it difficult to not use a cell phone for 24 hours, and 44 per cent said they would find it difficult to not use any social media for 24 hours.

“Parasitic social apps have created a craving for ‘likes’, ‘loves’, ‘shares’ and comments,” says Badminton. “Humanity is now at a turning-point where we must see this algorithmically-guided behaviour as being harmful to society. In fact, we need to demand that the technology companies put functionality in place to encourage moderate-to-low usage.”

About the Future of Life study

These are findings from an Intensions Consulting study conducted between January 20, 2020, and January 28, 2020. For this study a 20-minute online survey was administered with a sample of 2,025 United States residents aged 16 years and older. The sample was stratified by gender, age, and region, to ensure that the sample’s composition reflected the underlying distribution of the population as determined by Census data. A traditional probability sample of comparable size would have produced results considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on this study, please contact Nikolas.

About Intensions Consulting

Intensions Consulting Inc., is a market research company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. We use statistics and psychology to find hidden insights and market opportunities for clients across North-America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Our research findings have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, and have been quoted by news organizations including the BBC, CBC, Daily Mail, and Toronto Star.

About Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is a world-renowned futurist, speaker, and media celebrity. He leads the team Exponential Minds, an expert advisory firm that helps trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments and media shift their mindset from “what is” to “WHAT IF…” The result is empowered employees, new innovative products and incredible growth that leads to more revenues and a more resilient future.

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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA (FRSA), a media personality, and has worked with over 400 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas