Facebook and Google join the fight against phone addiction… But do they really care?
Smartphones are already part of our lives. We use them to snap photos, to maintain our calendars,
to contact our loved ones and to store and play music. They also connect us to the internet, which is
the store of knowledge and helps us keep working throughout the day no matter where we are.
If you have ever found yourself checking Facebook, Instagram or emails when in class, playing your
favorite game when walking down the street or even chatting with your friends until it is very late at
night, it is more than likely that you have already developed a bad relationship with the device. To
help you cure the disease (phone addiction) Google, Apple and Facebook have developed tools. But
will these tools work?
Apple announced a new feature in their Ios12 at the WWDC, which includes several tools to assist
users of iPhone understand and manage the amount of time they spend on their smartphones. They
have included features like “Do Not Disturb” that suspends notifications and suggests when to turn
off the notifications you do not need.
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 the 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 and 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 smartphone operating system update, known
as the Android P, entering the market soon. Android P will feature a dashboard that allows people
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 have reached
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 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.