Most of us have trouble prying ourselves away from our phones. On average, Americans (regardless of age group) check their phones 46 times per day, according to research by Deloitte. Our dependence on our phones is also rising – about 40% in number of views per day just since 2014. Although everyone enjoys a little connection on social media or over text, it can be good to set aside times to disconnect and be present in the beautiful summer weather. We’ve compiled 4 types of apps that you can use to limit your screen time and ensure that you’re making the most of the end of your summer with your family.
1. Catered to Your Usage
It’s one thing to say that you’re going to limit your smartphone use, and it’s another to put it into practice. It can be hard to determine what to cut out on your own. Luckily, these apps are here to help. With them, you can determine which apps you’re using most often and set rules for yourself to cut down on your usage.
Space has had a couple different names, but what hasn’t change is the personalization that the app offers in dealing with reducing screen time. As a user, you’ll complete a questionnaire to help determine your user type. Your user type will determine your goals for screen unlocking and duration of phone use. The app will also send you notifications if your screen time increases and you can receive achievement badges for meeting your goals.
If you are someone who likes to know where you stand in relation to your peers, AntiSocial is for you. The app compares your screen and app usage to that of your peers and can help you reach your goals. AntiSocial prepares a deep dive analysis into the apps that you use and your time spent on social media and on your phone. You can also blacklist some of your apps to reduce your usage.
QualityTime provides you with an overall view of your data by measuring your overall screen unlocks and your usage of individual apps. The app pulls together and sends you hourly, daily and weekly summaries so you can see how you’re spending your time digitally. You can set it to alert about screen time, suggest when to take a break, and schedule breaks during which your phone will shut down except for calls and essential messages.
Mute doesn’t just track every interaction that you have with and on your phone; it also pulls that information together and analyzes your habitual use. Mute takes a softer approach to limiting phone time by sending you motivational messages when you’ve been away from your phone for a long time and when you meet goals. Another unique aspect of this app is that it stores usage data, so you can look back at the progress you’re making at any time.
2. Complete System Shutdown
When you get to feel out of control with your phone use, even after trying to cut down, you might want a more complete solution. If there are times you just need to concentrate, no matter what, you can try an app with a complete system shutdown feature.
Flipd is one of those apps that offers you the opportunity to schedule a complete system shutdown of your phone. Got a tight deadline at work or a special recital for your kids? You can turn your phone off for a scheduled amount of time and not even restarting will get it back online. Like other apps, Flipd can also suggest times to take a break from phone use and you can earn badges when you hit your goals. This app can also be used by parents, teachers, or businesses to remotely limit the phone use and keep kids and employees focused.
3. Earn Screen Time
Sometimes the key to hitting your screen reduction goals can be shifting the incentive. You may be more motivated to limit your screen time if you have to earn it. If you think this will help you, try out one of these two apps.
Like other screen time reduction apps, Appdetox allows you to create rules and limit your access to certain apps on a schedule. One interesting feature of the app, however, is your ability to walk to earn more screen time. Go on a nice long walk outside or work out, and you can earn yourself some time to kick your feet up and browse on your phone or connect with friends later. Treating phone time as a privilege to be earned rather than a right of everyday life, can help you reduce your time on it and create balance with a healthier, more active lifestyle.
4. Incentives for Limiting Use
Incentives can also go both ways – you can earn screen time, but you can also lose out if you don’t. The following apps can allow you to see the immediate consequences of exorbitant screen time right now. They are highly effective for when you need to set aside time to focus on a specific task without getting distracted by what’s going on online.
Sometimes, you just need to get “off the grid”, and that is precisely what this app is for. You can whitelist certain contacts (i.e. friends and family) so they can get through no matter what, but set aside time to completely block your phone from everything else. Off the Grid also has features that allow you to hold yourself immediately accountable for not meeting your goals. You can set it to charge you $1 for every time you end a focus session early. With this app, you can truly see how much time attached to your phone costs you.
For a more unique and fun app that allows you to see the cost of your phone time, try forest. In the visually appealing app, you plant a seed. The longer you leave your phone alone, the more your seed will grow. If you keep using your phone, the seed will wither. You can compete with your friends to see who can get the biggest and most beautiful forests and also earn rewards and unlock different tree species.
Whatever your preferred motivation or incentive for limiting screen time, these apps can help you take the first step. Too much screen time not only has negative effects on our lives, it can also cause issues with our health, including degrading vision, causing sleep issues, and even leading to weight gain. Whether you want to limit your time on your phone by a little or a lot, downloading one of these apps can help you take the first step.