The Cure For Your Smartphone Addiction? There’s an App For That
Rebel software developers who used to work in Silicon Valley are now working diligently to wean you off your smartphone.
Good luck with that.
The pecking, scrolling, swiping, posting and on and on and on.
The uncertainty of what we might find keeping us obsessed is by design. Our attention is tech companies #1 most valuable commodity and those companies have whole divisions of soldiers consulting with behavioral scientists whose only gig is to grab our attention and hold it as long as possible.
Facebook’s founding president, for one, admitted at an event last year that the company had been “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” Its creators, Sean Parker said, “understood this consciously, and we did it anyway.”
But the first order of a rebellion is brewing.
The movement is called "digital wellness" --apps created to counter program Silicon Valley and put you back in control. Two big wins for the rebels as Google and Apple announced plans to start incorporating the concepts, like the ability to track how much screen time you're actually using, into upcoming operating systems.
One Duke University researcher spent two years tracking 200 people and how they responded to notifications. Most received between 65-80 a day. When the alert notifications were eliminated, stress levels dropped, concentration improved and inattention spans minimized. But that's just the start and the task looms large and intimidating, quoting the man from Duke, “It’s like playing chess against a billion-dollar company. For every one of us trying to fix the attention economy, they have 20 researchers trying to suck you further into it.”
Here are some of the ways you can fight back:
*Notification bundles --morning, noon and night, ONLY.
*On your web browser install the extension app "Mortality" so that whenever you go online, you are greeted by a black-and-white countdown of the days you have left to live based on an average life expectancy.
*Forest is an app that plants a virtual tree on your phone whenever you put it down. the second you pick the phone back up, the tree withers and dies (forestapp.cc)
*Moment is an app that works like a Fitbit, tracking the number of hours users spend on their phone and specific programs. It sends notifications after they’ve been on for an especially long stretch, suggesting a break. It also allows them to turn their usage into a game of sorts, challenging them to pick up their device less and less — until they feel like they’re back in control.
Moment is now one of the most successful digital wellness programs, downloaded 5.9 million times.
Other apps — Freedom, SelfControl, AppDetox, cold turkey and StayFocusd — help users block websites or apps they’ve had trouble quitting.
The average American checks their phone every every 12 minutes. Market research shows the average user touches their cellphone 2,617 times a day.