As our phones have gotten better at just about everything we'd want them to get better at and certainly earning the "smart" part of the name, our usage time of those devices has also gone up. It took a bit longer than some might have liked, but companies like Apple and Google have finally built in features that allow smartphone owners to track just how much time they're spending on their devices.
But, data and information is only half the battle.
It is better to have the information. I'm sure a lot of us out there knew we were spending a lot of time on our phones. "I'm always on [insert app name here]" is something I'm sure we've all heard, or even said, many times before. But now that iOS's Screen Time and Android's Digital Wellbeing are available, we can actually see it.
Which means we can take action. Being able to see that we spend an hour or more in a single app, for instance, can be exactly what we need to stop spending so much time in that one app. We can respond on our own in unique ways, or we can set up rules within the software. Both Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing make it possible to set up rules, blocking us out of apps (which can be bypassed, sure, but at least it's something) altogether if necessary.
Even after getting iOS 12, I didn't set up Screen Time right out of the gate. It took me awhile. But now that I've got it up and running it's interesting to see how it all shakes out. Over the last seven days, for instance, I have 16 hours and 27 minutes total of screen time. That's 7 hours and 22 minutes of "social networking", 2 hours and some change in "entertainment", and 54 minutes in "reading & reference".
That last one really hurts, because I really do need to read more. And I usually do! I just haven't started 2019 off on the right foot in this department at all, apparently. Thanks for letting me know, Screen Time.
According to the data, that's about 2 hours and 21 minutes of screen time on a daily basis. That doesn't seem too bad, right? None of that social networking is Facebook, which I'm personally happy about, so I'm probably spending too much time on Twitter (again). But still, seven hours over the course of a week seems almost okay.
How are you faring with Screen Time or Digital Wellbeing? Are you keeping track of that data at all, or are these features you haven't turned on? Of course, both of these things can help with families keeping tabs on kids, too, so maybe that's how you're using them. If so, how is that going for you? Let me know!