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Home / Technology / We finally started taking screen time in 2018 seriously – TechCrunch

We finally started taking screen time in 2018 seriously – TechCrunch



At the beginning of this year, I used my iPhone to search for new titles on Amazon when I saw the cover of "How to Break Up With Your Phone" by Catherine Price. I downloaded it to the Kindle because I really wanted to reduce the use of my smartphone, but also because I thought it would be weird to read a book on how to disconnect your smartphone on my smartphone (stupid, I know). However, in some chapters, I was motivated enough to download Price's recommended time counter app Moment, and to re-purchase the book in print.

Early in "How to Break the Phone," Price invites readers to the Smartphone Compulsion Test, developed by David Greenfield, a psychiatry professor at the University of Connecticut who also runs the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction founded. The test has 1

5 questions, but I knew I had five problems after answering the first one. Humbled by my very high score, which seems too embarrassing, I decided it was time to severely restrict the use of my smartphone.

Of the chapters in Price's book, the title "Putting the Dope in Dopamine" was the one with the most variation in my mind. She writes that "phones and most apps were deliberately designed without us attracting attention when we've had enough of it. That's why it's so easy to fail by mistake. At a certain level, we know that makes us feel coarse. But instead of stopping, our brains decide that the solution is to seek more dopamine. We check our phones again. And again. And again. "

Gross was exactly how I felt. I bought my first iPhone in 2011 (and previously had an iPod Touch). It was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw in the night. I would say that it was because I wanted to check the work, but actually I was on autopilot. When I thought about what I could have achieved in the past eight years, if I was not constantly attached to my smartphone, I felt uncomfortable. I also wondered what it had done to the feedback loop of my brain. Just as sugar changes your taste buds and you crave more and more sweets to feel full, I was worried that the increasing doses of instant gratification that my phone would give my ability to enjoy and enjoy ,

Price's book was released in February, at the beginning of the year, as if it feels like tech companies are finally treating excessive screen times as a liability (or at least paying lip service more than lip service). In addition to introducing Screen Time in iOS 12 and Android's digital wellness tools, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have introduced new features that allow users to track the time spent on their websites and apps.

Influential Activists Earlier this Year Investors Apple shares also demanded that the company focus on how their devices affect children. In a letter to Apple, hedge fund Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) wrote: "Social media sites and applications for which the iPhone and iPad are primary access are in the As addictive and time-consuming as possible As many of its original creators have publicly acknowledged, he added, "It is both unrealistic and a bad long-term business strategy to ask parents to fight this fight on their own."

The Growing Hill of Research

Then in November, researchers at Penn State published an important new study that linked the use of social media by adolescents with depression. In the experimental study conducted by psychologist Melissa Hunt, 143 students were monitored for three weeks with iPhones at the university. The students were divided into two groups: One was told to limit their time on social media, including Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, to only 10 minutes per app per day (their use was confirmed by checking the phone's iOS screen-based battery packs ). The other group used social media apps as usual. At the beginning of the study, a baseline was established with standard tests for depression, anxiety, social support, and other problems, and each group was evaluated throughout the experiment.

The Psychology results published in the Journal of Social and Clinical were striking. Researchers wrote that "the group with limited use over three weeks showed a significant reduction in loneliness and depression compared to the control group."

Even the control group benefited, although its use in social media was not restricted. "Both groups showed a significant decline in anxiety and the fear of overlooking baselines, indicating an advantage of enhanced self-monitoring," the study said. "Our findings strongly suggest that limiting the use of social media to around 30 minutes per day can significantly improve well-being."

Additional academic studies published this year have contributed to a significant increase in the amount of evidence for smartphones and mobile apps, damaging your mental and physical well-being.

A group of researchers from Princeton, Dartmouth, of the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford published a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in which they were able to use smartphones to capture photos and videos of an experience actually reduces the ability to remember them to build. Others warned against storing smartphones while working in your bedroom or even on your desk. Researchers in optical chemistry at the University of Toledo found that blue light from digital devices can cause molecular changes in your retina, potentially accelerating macular degeneration.

So in the last 12 months I certainly had a lot of motivation to reduce my screen time. Every time I scoured the messages on my phone, there seemed to be another headline about the dangers of using your smartphone. I started using Moment to track my total time and app distribution across apps. I participated in two in-app courses from Moment, "Phone Bootcamp" and "Bored and Brilliant". I also used the app to set a daily timeout, to enable "tiny reminders", or to send push notifications telling you how much time you need. I have spent the whole day on your phone using the "Force Turn me off when I'm over, "which basically annoys you as you go through your daily contingent.

At first I succeeded in halving my screen time. I had thought that some of the benefits, such as a better attention span mentioned in Price's book, are too good to be true. However, I found that after just one week of restricting my smartphone usage, my concentration improved significantly. I read more long articles, got myself into some TV shows and knitted a sweater for my toddler. Most importantly, the nagging feeling that I had at the end of each day, when I spend all my time, waned, and so I lived happily afterward, cuddling myself knowing that I was not going through Meme, Clickbait, and my life Makeup tutorials wasted. 19659002] Just a joke.

I held my iPod Touch 2010, a year before I bought my first smartphone, and back when I still had an attention span.

After a few weeks my screen time began to creep again. First, I disabled the "Force Me Off" feature of Moment, since my apartment does not have a land line and I need to check my husband's lyrics. I have kept the tiny memories, but these have always been easier to ignore. But even as I flipped through Instagram or Reddit, I was scared to know the Existentialist that I was abusing the best years of my life. Why is limiting screen time so difficult?

I wish I knew how to leave you, small device

I decided to speak with Moment's CEO, Tim Kendall. for a look. Moment founded in 2014 by UI designer and iOS developer Kevin Holesh, Moment has also recently introduced an Android version . It's one of the most popular genres, including Forest, Freedom, Space, Off-the-Grid, AntiSocial, and App Detox, all designed to reduce screen time (or at least promote more aware smartphone usage).

Kendall told me that I'm not alone. Currently has 7 million users and "in the last four years you can see that the average usage is increasing every year," he says. Based on the overall data, the Moment team can see that the tools and courses are helping people to reduce screen time, but they often rebuild themselves. Fighting this with new features is one of the company's key goals for the coming year.

"We invest a lot of time in research and development to find ways to help people who fall into this category. They did Phone Bootcamp, saw good results, saw benefits, but could not figure out how to make it sustainable, "says Kendall. Moment already regularly publishes new courses (the last topics were sleep, attention span and family time) and was recently offered on a subscription basis.

"Habitual and permanent behavioral change is really hard," says Kendall. He previously served as President of Pinterest and Facebook's Monetization Director. But he is optimistic. "It's easy to adjust. People can do it. I think the rewards are really meaningful. We do not stop with the courses. We are exploring various ways in which we can help people. "

As Jana Partners and CalSTRS stated in their letter, a particularly important aspect is the effect of overuse of smartphones on the first generation of adolescents and young adults who have constant access to the devices. Kendall notes that adolescent suicide rates have increased dramatically over the past two decades. Although research has not explicitly linked the time spent online with suicide, the relationship between on-screen time and depression has been identified many times, as in the Penn State study.

There is hope, however. Kendall says that the Moment Coach feature, which offers short daily exercises to reduce smartphone usage, seems to be particularly effective among millennials. The generation is the most stereotypical because it is pathologically linked to their cell phones. "It seems that it is easier for 20- and 30-year-olds to internalize the coach and therefore use less than 40- and 50-year-olds," he says. Instead, he believes that people should replace brain junk food like social media apps with online language courses or meditation apps.

Kendall stresses that using smartphones at the moment is not considered an all or nothing proposition. "I really think the intentionally used phone is one of the most wonderful things you have," he says.

Researchers have discovered that taking photos of smartphones and videos during an experience can affect your ability to remember them. (Steved_np3 / Getty Images)

I tried to limit most of my smartphone usage to apps like Kindle, but the best solution was to find offline alternatives to distract me. For example, I taught myself new knitting and crochet techniques because I can not do it while holding my phone (although I hear podcasts and audiobooks). It also gives me a tactile way to measure the amount of time I spend on my phone because the hours I broke off the screen time correlate with the number of lines in a project. To limit my use to certain apps, I rely on the iOS screen time. However, it's easy to just type "Ignore Limit", so I'm still relying on some of the Moment's functionality.

While some third-party screen-tracking apps developers have recently been scrutinized by Apple, Kendall says Screen Time's launch did not significantly impact Moment's business processes or sign-ups. The launch of the Android version also opens up a significant new market (Android also allows momentum to add new features that are not available on iOS, including access to specific apps only at set times.)

The short-term impact of iOS Screen Time was "neutral," but I think in the long run it will really help, "says Kendall." I think it will help raise awareness in the long run. "" If I use a diet metaphor, I think Apple has an excellent calorie counter and built a scale, but unfortunately, they did not give people nutritional guidelines or a regime, and when you talk to a behavioral economist, despite what was said about the quantified self, the numbers are not really motivated. "

Guilt does not work either At least not in the long run, so Moment tries "to take a compassionate voice," adds He added, "This is part of our brand and our business and our ethos. We do not think we will be very helpful if people feel judged when using our product. They need to feel cared and supported and know that the goal is not perfection, but gradual change. "

Many smartphone users are probably in my situation: Worried about their screen time statistics, unhappy with the time they waste, but it's also hard to leave their devices. Not only do we use our smartphones to distract us, or hurry up with social media likes. We use it to manage our workload, stay in touch with friends, plan our days, read books, read prescriptions, and find fun places. I've often thought about buying a Yondr bag or asking my husband to hide my phone from me, but I know that ultimately will not help.

As cheesy as it sounds, the momentum for change must come from within. No academic research, no screen-time apps or analytics can make up for that.

I say to myself only when developers no longer find ways to change our behavior, or another important paradigm shift occurs in mobile communications. My relationship with my smartphone will be in cycles. Sometimes I'm happy with my usage, then I fall into disrepair, then I'll do another moment class or try another screen time app and hopefully get back on track. In 2018, however, the conversation about screen time finally gained some urgency (and in the meantime, I've actually completed some knitting projects instead of just scrolling through # strickersofinstagram).


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