‘Screen Time’ Is A Good Start To Curbing Our Smartphone Addiction, But Apple Needs To Do More

By Catherine Price
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The iphone “Screen Time” feature automatically tracks how often you pick up your phone and how much time you spend on each app.

Los Angeles Times

Screen Time, part of the operating system that iPhone owners began downloading last week, represents the biggest move yet by a technology company to encourage less use of a device, not more.

That’s a good thing: According to data from a time-tracking app called Moment, Americans spend on average four hours a day, a quarter of our waking lives, staring at their smartphones.

Screen Time, which is new with Apple’s iOS 12, automatically tracks how often you pick up your phone and how much time you spend on each app.

It also allows you to set daily limits for time-sucks like social media, games or streaming video. It’s a good start, but Apple could do more. A huge number of people need help creating better digital boundaries.

Apple has already embedded multiple fitness features into its phones, and clearly sees this as a competitive advantage to its product.

In my fantasy, screen-time-management features would be likewise integrated into a suite of apps, let’s call it iTime.

Much like Apple’s Health suite tracks exercise, sleep, nutrition, even heart rate, iTime would support our mental health by centralizing features that control how and when we use our phones.

For example, it could enable custom home screens assigned to different times or places: I would like to have a vacation screen that displays only the camera, maps, phone and iMessage. I’d also like an automatic evenings/weekends home screen that omits my work email, and an early-morning screen that gives just my alarm clock and meditation app.

iTime might also give us the option to create “lock boxes”, folders of apps that require a passcode. We could use those to store apps that we know have a tendency to suck us in, such as social media, dating apps, even the news.

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