One of the main topics in our course, Developing Digital Citizenship, is on managing screen time and device use. Our learners discuss how to help children on monitoring and checking their screen time, such as preventing multitasking and being aware of how certain apps & games hook us into continued use and even addiction.
Sometimes, your own screen time can be more difficult than monitoring your child’s. Often, checking your phone after feeling a faint buzz can distract you from doing more important things. The first thing that you have to do is to know how much time you spend doing productive tasks such as writing for work or researching versus phubbing, or mindlessly browsing through websites such as online stores or your social network feed.
Here are some apps that can help you monitor your screen time on your smartphone:
- Settings - Yep, the default Settings app of your OS lets you customize notifications and schedule a Do Not Disturb mode for specific times of the day.
- Forest App (https://forestapp.cc/en/) - A fun twist to avoiding phubbing. When it’s time to focus, you start planting a tree and it will grow until a certain amount of time. If you leave the app, your tree will wilt and die. Seeing a forest full of trees is a nice visual reminder of how disciplined you were.
- AppDetox (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.dfki.appdetox&hl=en) - You set rules on which apps to disable and it will not let you open these apps. There are a variety of rules that you can use such as setting a usage time limit or number of launches allowed per day.
- Engross App (https://www.engrossapp.com/) - After setting a specific length of focus time and encourages you to press a button when you feel distracted to allow you to become more mindful of how many times you lose your concentration.
- Flipd App (https://www.flipdapp.co/ ) - You can create your own group and make unplugging more social/competitive.
If you don’t think apps could work for you, you can try physical measures such as turning off your phone and leaving it inside your drawer. Or you can hand it to a trusted person and tell him to not give it to you unless there’s an important call.