“Where did the time go?”

Something is definitely stealing my daily hours.

“Where did the time go?”As a busy college student, I’m always asking this question throughout the day, especially when it comes panic hour to complete an assignment. Then realization hits me, and I regret spending the last three hours watching Mad Men on Netflix. Those cliff hangers…

Table 1, 2 and 3 show the hours spent on the three most common media outlets. The sample, consisting of 244 people, was selected through a self-administered computer survey.

Table 1: Hours spent for pleasure on Internet

The majority of the sample spent up to 5 or 5–15 hours per week on the Internet for pleasure (34.6%).

Table 2: Hours spent on TV
Table 3: Hours spent on mobile web

The majority of the sample spent up to to 4 hours on television per week (28%).

The majority of the sample spent 1–3 hours on the mobile web per week (42.8%).

It’s not surprising that people spend most of their time on the Internet for pleasure. The internet incorporates several diverse media outlets, including television (e.g. Netflix) and social media websites (e.g. Facebook). The internet also promotes individualism and freedom, a deeply embedded American value, by empowering users to upload or post personal perspectives with limited restrictions. At the same time, the Internet provides communicative features that allow everyone (with access) to participate in most online conversations. It’s individualized, yet connected, creating the perfect medium.

Table 1,2 and 3 include the frequency and percentages of the sample size as a whole. Let’s be more specific by clustering the sample size into groups. By doing so, we further analyze preferences and trends in media usage. Are there any differences in media usage between males and females?

Table 4: Cross tabulation of gender and pleasure Internet

Table 4 shows the cross tabulation of gender and hours spent for pleasure on the Internet per week. Within gender, the majority of females spend up to 5 hours (38.5%), and the majority of males spent up to 5–15 hours (32.2%). The largest percentage discrepancy between gender exists in the 15–25 hours category (8.80% in females and 21.80% in males). There’s also an interesting trend within gender: in the first three categories (0 hours, up to 5 hours, 5–15 hours), the percentage of females is higher than the percentage of males. In the last three categories (15–25 hours, 25–40 hours, 40+ hours), the percentage of males is higher than the percentage of females.

It isn’t easy to see the percentage discrepancies between genders in a convoluted table, and quite frankly, it’s ugly. Here’s a visual representation:

Figure 1: Percentage within gender of pleasure Internet clustered by gender

Males tend to spend more time for pleasure on the Internet than that of females. A report from eMarketer found that since most advertisements cater towards men, resulting in sexualization and objectification of women, men are more comfortable around websites that contain offensive advertisements (http://arstechnica.com/business/2009/04/men-spend-more-time-online-respond-better-to-ads/).

As we move on to the age of Web 2.0, mobile devices are becoming a more attractive way to stay connected on social media. Social media platforms with a larger female user base (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram) have already effectively adapted to the growing demand of apps and increased mobile usage, while platforms with a larger male user base (Reddit, Slashdot) are still behind in their app development. Figure 2 shows percentages of mobile web usage within gender.

Figure 2: Percentage within gender of Mobile Web usage clustered by gender

Based on Figure 2, there’s a large discrepancy in the “1–3 hours” category and the “up to 1 hour” category. The 1–3 hour category favors female usage, and the up to 1 hour category favors male usage, suggesting that females use the mobile web more frequently. The percentage differences in the rest of the categories are too small to draw valid conclusions.


These results are from from perfect. Since the sample was selected through a self-administered survey, there is some degree of self-selection bias in that the people who chose to complete the survey are inherently different than those who chose not to complete the survey. As a result, the sample is not fully representative and generalizable. Also, the sample size was largely in favor of females, which although was acknowledged by using percentages within gender, it still potentially affects representativeness and generalizability. Another limitation was the formatting of the survey. The survey required memory recall, which is often times inaccurate and misleading.

Next time before you start surfing the web or reading the newsfeed on the Facebook app, recall the amount of time you’ve spent in the past. Then set an appropriate time frame for yourself to protect those precious hours.

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