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You're Online All the Time. Here's What You're Missing

A recent white paper breaks down the opportunity cost of our online leisure time.
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Face it: You're online all the time. Whether you're surfing, streaming, tweeting, Googling or “insert online activity here”, you're always online--despite the fact that some of life happens, well, offline.

In a recent paper "What Are We Not Doing When We're Online," Scott Wallsten of the National Bureau of Economic Research, determined the actual opportunity cost of your online leisure time--or in other words what you aren’t doing when you're online. 

Here is a breakdown of what you're missing out on thanks to the World Wide Web: 

  • Every minute spent online represents almost 18 seconds less time doing another leisure activity. 
  • You spend about 16.2 seconds less time working for every minute you spend on online leisure time.
  • For each minute spent online, you decrease the amount of time you spend on personal care by 7.2 seconds. 
  • You spend 6 seconds less on travel time for every minute they spend online.
  • The amount of time you spend on education drops by about 3.4 seconds for each minute spent online.

What activities see a boost from your non-stop surfing?

Wallsten found that the more time spent online meant more time spent on consumer purchases and phone calls. He found people spend an extra 61.8 seconds and 60.6 seconds more for every minute online for each activity, respectively. 




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