Do you find yourself spending too much time on social media? Every day, people are spending hours of their lives on social media between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. People are having a hard time pulling themselves away from their screens and news feeds. Today’s tech companies recognize the struggle we face with social media and smartphone addiction and are giving us tools to monitor our usage.
Since the majority of social media screen time is viewed through a smartphone, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS have introduced tools to manage the amount of time spent on different apps.
The upcoming iOS 12 includes a new feature called Screen Time, which has Activity Reports showing users how much time they spend in different types of apps including Games, Entertainment, Social Networking, Productivity and more. This helps people to understand how they are using their iPhones and iPads, which apps they are spending time in and allows them to decide when they spend too much time in an app. They introduced the App Limits feature so users can limit the amount of time they can spend in specific apps per day, allowing people to police themselves.
Another feature of iOS 12 this is “Downtime” which allows users to set aside blocks of time where specific apps can’t be used and notifications won’t be displayed. These features are extremely useful for parents to be able to limit their children’s use of iPads and iPhones, parents can even access their child’s Activity Report from their own device.
On the Android side, Google is introducing a “Digital Well Being” app that includes similar features to track and limit time spent in certain app. Android’s feature also includes Parental Controls similar to what Apple will be rolling out. Once an app has reached its usage limit for the day, its icon will go grayscale on the home screen and will not open, unless you change your usage settings in the dashboard.
These new updates will make life easier for parents whose children have access to smartphones and tablets for entertainment.
As social media networks see the writing on the wall of smartphone operating systems being able to limit app usage, Facebook and Instagram are introducing their own time monitoring features. Instagram is reportedly working on their own Usage Insights feature which can track daily time spent, set a limit and receive a reminder once they exceed the time limit. Instagram has also launched a feature telling users “You’re All Caught Up” once they have seen all new posts from the last 48 hours – this could help users avoid spending extra time in the app looking at content they’ve already seen.
Facebook is working on their version currently called “Your Time on Facebook” which has similar options, showing how many minutes were spent per day in the app, allowing users to set daily limits and reducing the notifications shown during that time. Since users are aiming to spend less time on the social network, Facebook has recently made changes to their algorithm to show users more posts from their family and friends, less posts from businesses and brands, making the limited time they spend in the app more valuable and personal to them.
The first step in getting help is admitting you have a problem – these new time management features from tech companies will help users to curb their social media and tech addictions!
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