With smartphone addiction becoming a major theme of discussion around tech companies, it is interesting to see how Apple & Facebook are being blamed for this issue. Especially with children concerned, it is important for parents to set a limit on their phone usage and apps that they use. Apps like Facebook are built with feedback loops which lead to social FOMO. Today product designers are building apps with these feedback loops in mind, making people want to come back to their apps.
Apps to curb smartphone addiction
While developing Instant, smartphone addiction was the first part of the Quantified Self we focussed on. Instant initially just tracked phone usage, how many times you checked it and let you set an alert notification if you crossed your daily phone limit. By tracking all this data of your phone & app usage people are becoming more self-aware and trying to bring about changes in their behavior.
Instant lets you track your phone usage (app usage on Android), time spent at places, while sleeping, traveling and on fitness activities. With limits, a chatbot coach & weekly reports thousands of people have made improvements to their daily lifestyle.
Many people are using their phones for work, with the phone always around it is more tempting than ever to check back on email or work messages. This is causing work-life balance to go for a toss.
Life hacks with your phone
Many people have recommended shifting the phone to grayscale mode to make it less tempting to check often. It makes apps much less addictive without the bright colors. I doubt Snapchat & Instagram photos would look tempting in black and white.
Also, turning off notifications, especially from apps like Facebook would be a good start. Facebook notifications can really hijack your attention and make you want to check your phone more than ever. Some people have deleted the Facebook app and just use it on mobile web to reduce their addiction and also save some battery on their phones.
Habits to unplug
Their are parts of the day that everyone can make a habit to get some space from their phones. Keeping the phone away while going to bed, going to the gym and while dinner can be a good way to unplug from your smartphone. A few people also keep their phone out of the room or switch it off when they sleep, in order to sleep better and also avoid the phone radiation.
While we can keep hoping that companies like Apple and Facebook would take initiatives to reduce our smartphone addiction, rather we can start building habits to reduce our phone addiction. It definitely will help with improving mental health and keeping children healthy.