There’s a new addiction in New Zealand – more than a third of Kiwis say they are hooked on their screens and many are blaming Covid for it.

As the country enters its second week of lockdown, New Zealanders have been averaging five hours of screen time a day on top of using devices for work and school since the Covid pandemic started last year, a new NortonLifeLock study has found.

About half of those surveyed found the amount of time they were in front of their screens had significantly increased outside the time they used it for work and school, and most were using their smartphones to do it.

Square eyes: Half of Kiwis addicted to devices, many blame Covid pandemic

This article was published in the New Zealand Herald 25 Aug, 2021 – By: Nikki Preston.

Some 36 per cent of people went so far as admitting to being addicted to their screens and 17 per cent blamed their addiction on the pandemic.

But turning to the internet is not making everyone feel good, with half of those surveyed saying it was affecting their physical health and more than a third saying it also affected their mental health.

The increased screen time made 22 per cent of respondents feel bad about their body or hurt their self-esteem. It had also led to more people feeling anxious and depressed.

However there were also significant benefits with just under half of those surveyed saying it helped them feel more connected and to unwind.

NortonLifeLock’s research division Kevin Roundy said people also faced more cyber security risks as they went online more.

“Kiwis’ addiction to their devices has taken a toll on their physical and mental health during the pandemic, making people feel burnt out and unsure how to keep themselves safe from losing personal information,” Roundy said.

NortonLifeLock senior director Mark Gorrie said it should serve as a reminder for people to protect themselves online, including keeping their devices and software updated.

The Harris Poll conducted the online poll for NortonLifeLock and surveyed 1003 adults in New Zealand between 20 May and 8 June 2021.

Source: This article was published in the New Zealand Herald 25 Aug, 2021 – By: Nikki Preston.