We Lose 11 Years on Smart Devices: Singapore health tech company calculates the cost of screen time

Plano Pte Ltd has launched its latest and most innovative development, the Plano Time Machine. Time Machine aims to educate people on the personal costs incurred due to their excessive device use behavior. It is an online experience which uses the latest scientific research and in-built algorithms to inform each user of the time they stand to lose over the course of their life and what they are trading in exchange for being on their phone or tablet.

Within only days of its soft launch, the platform went viral with over 3,000 site visits. For the thousands of users from 43 countries worldwide including Singapore, US, UK, Australia and India, the revelations have been alarming. Overall, the average 21-year-old loses 11 years on smart devices. On average, Singaporeans spend close to 15 years (8 hours a day), or 33% of their entire lives on their devices. The average screen time in India on the other hand is 9 years (6 hours a day), that is 21% of their lifetimes on their devices.

The personal costs of excessive device use are vast. In a 2018 report by We Are Social, it was found that each internet user spends an average of six hours per day using the internet on smart devices. Recent evidence suggests that too much screen time significantly increases the risk of anxiety and depression, serious eye conditions including myopia, and a range of potentially fatal systemic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Time Machine was conceptualized with the intention of educating users on the personal costs incurred due to their device use behavior. "I've always been fascinated by the concept of time. Time Machine is a product of turning my fascination into a powerful tool to help us answer one of life's most vital questions – How will I spend the time I have left?" said Plano's COO Kevin Tay. "While this may be an uncomfortable question and a good wake-up call for some, it nudges us to internalize the consequences and the required actions to better manage our screen time."

Plano's How Will You Spend Your Time campaign aims to do just that. The global campaign, which will be launched today hopes to stimulate behaviour change among the masses with regards to their relationship with their devices. As part of the campaign, Plano will be releasing a short film which follows real people and their reactions after using the Time Machine. The insightful film delves into the paradoxical nature of why people feel that they lack the time to do the things they love, even though the average life expectancy has more than doubled in the past century. In the film, participants are confronted by the number of years and the percentage of their lives that they stand to lose to their smart devices, as well as the trade-offs that cannot be regained.

Time Machine is now available for the public to use and find out their personal statistics as well as the daily adjustments they can make to reduce the number of years lost to their devices.

The global smart device revolution has seen the integration of mobile technology into almost every aspect of human life. The age at which smart devices are being used is also getting younger - as many as 97% of children aged 4 years use devices every day, and three-quarters of children as young as 1 years old use devices daily. Children under 3 years old are using devices for 2 to 5 hours daily. The worldwide impact of addiction to smart devices is staggering, with the cumulative amount of time lost globally to screen-based activities reaching 8.76 trillion hours, or 1 billion years, per year.

"The benefits of the Time Machine to the individual and society are vast," said Associate Professor Dirani. "At the individual level, those who comply with Time Machine's recommendations may live a healthier and more meaningful life. At a societal level, better management of our screen time will reduce the public health and economic burden we are seeing with the epidemic of adverse health outcomes associated with excessive use devices. Lets use smart devices as the tools they are, and not allow them to make tools of us. 

About Plano

Plano was developed with a clear purpose; to save sight and empower lives. With a culture of disruptive thinking grounded in real scientific research, Plano promotes the use of innovative technology to provide a solution to help mitigate the public health, societal and economic issues posed by excessive device usage. Plano's founding Managing Director, Associate Professor Mohamed Dirani, has dedicated his life to the study and research of myopia, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School and an Honorary Principal Investigator at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA). www.plano.co

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