As Facebook and Google join the fight against phone addiction, we have to ask: do they actually care?
As much as some of us hate to admit, smartphones are a huge part of our lives. They snap photos, maintain our calendars, contact our loved ones, prove us right in arguments, and stream all the music we could ever desire. They connect us to the internet, which is the store of knowledge the helps us work throughout the day and plug many of us into the economic machine of the new millennium. However, with all good things, there is often a negative side. A yin to the yang. If you find yourself constantly checking your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter during class or at work, there’s a chance you have an unhealthy dependence on your device. To help alleviate the disease (phone addiction) Google, Apple and Facebook have developed certain tools that they think are helpful. But will these tools work?
Apple announced a new feature in their Ios12 at the WWDC, that includes several tools that assist iPhone users on their quest to understand and manage their time spent on devices. They have included features like “Do Not Disturb” that suspends notifications and suggests when to turn off the notifications you may not need. A little reminder is sometimes all a user needs when it comes to limiting their phone usage.
The Screen Time feature summarizes the amount of time you spend in every app. App Limits helps you allot budgets for every app. The iOS12 also comes with enhanced parental control, which allows you to set budgets for smartphone usage.
For a long time, mobile apps have been begging us to use them when we should be doing something else. They regularly send us notifications with an aim of drawing our attention. For most people; it is hard to identify the notifications as disruptions. Most companies have adopted the idea of fighting phone addiction. Apple dubbed the campaign Digital Health, Google nicknamed it Digital Wellbeing and Facebook named it Time Well Spent.
Google’s Digital Wellbeing campaigns take the form of a smartphone operating system update, known as the Android P, entering the market soon. Android P will feature a dashboard that allows people to see their app usage, the “Do Not Disturb” feature and a way of imposing app usage limit on kids. The features will be more aggressive and will temporarily lock you out of an app after you reach the limit.
Facebook is among the companies blamed for creating more social media junkies, but this time they have developed a usage log known as “Your Time on Facebook,” which they are currently testing in their Facebook Android app.
The new tools have shown a consensus among health advocates and researchers that spending a lot of time on the screen can ruin your life, particularly if you are a minor. Most studies link the use of social media with anxiety, depression and many other illnesses. But despite the broad consensus on this issue, the tool developers are not sure whether people will start using the tools. A study that the Discount Study conducted showed that 68% of social media users are unlikely to change their habits.