Smartphone have become an integral part of our everyday life. Consumer technology delivered through these devices has also grown. Now more than ever technology is very addictive and it’s not really a surprise. The big tech companies and smaller app developers design their tech to be as addictive as possible. That is why when your phone beeps, you pick it up thinking you will be checking out one or two notifications. But instead you find yourself going through more and more social media feeds and before you know it, an hour is gone.
Device addiction is something that most people suffer from and sadly they don’t even know it. But the tech companies are starting to develop solutions that might assist with this. Apple and Google, in particular, are developing new features in their technologies aimed at reducing phone usage. Apps like Instagram are rolling out new features that could give people more control over the time they spend on these apps. But why are things changing? After all, it’s an established fact that technology companies go out of their way to make you addicted to your phone.
The most important thing for these companies is to achieve healthy device interaction. The argument here is simple. If people can consume technology in a way that doesn’t affect their daily lives then that would be a win for everyone. The Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit founded by a former Google employee, has been running a campaign called “Time Well Spent.” The campaign is designed to raise awareness on the increasing risks of device addiction. The nonprofit is also collaborating with tech giants and other players in the industry to try to find innovative ways to curb this vice.
We have compiled a simple analysis of how the big tech companies are trying to address device addiction. First, Apple is introducing new features on iOS 12 that will inform users on how to better manage their time on smartphones. There are also new parental control features that allow parents to control usage among kids. The Apple feature is called Screen Time. It’s an activity dashboard that gives you a detailed breakdown of how much time you’re spending on each app. You can set daily limits that lock the apps once the time limit is reached.
Google has introduced similar tools on its new Android Pie. The tools are called “Digital Wellbeing.” They are still on the beta stage but they are almost a mirror image of what Apple is offering. The search engine giant is also offering a new feature called “Wind Down” which essentially locks your phone into a “Don’t Disturb” mode. The screen turns dark and the phone can’t be used for a set period of time. The feature is perfect for night times. Facebook has also announced that it’s working on new tools that will make interactions on its platform more meaningful. So far the social media company hasn’t released any plan on what it intends to do. However, it’s clear now that device addiction is indeed a big issue and tech companies are doing something about it.