Understanding Digital Health: How long do you spend on your phone?

It’s 5:30 am, my alarm just went off, I stop the alarm and use my phone for a good 30 minutes before getting out of bed or even praying. I spend a huge portion of my time on my phone doing research, playing video games and interacting with people. At times, I feel like I spend too much time on it and try to limit it.

There are many other people who think in the same way and want to reduce the amount of time spent on their phones.  Thankfully there are many apps that can help us manage our time.

Digital wellbeing is a system application built into android versions 9 and above. The fact that it is a system app means it has more control than a third party application. Upon booting up a new phone, there is the option to set the maximum number of hours to be spent on the phone.

There’s also an option to set the preferred number of applications for each specific app as well so if it’s just social media, the maximum number of hours can be set for it. When the set time is reached, the phone goes into total lockdown but it also gives the option to get more time specifically 15 minutes more or unlimited use for the rest of the day.

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Doing this for every application used is really stressful and annoying so the goal is achieved. The number of hours spent on the phone each day is recorded for each application and then summed up in a weekly report.  Everyone concerned about their phone time should set it up and the results would amaze you.

Flipd, a freemium app which locks down the phone entirely for a set time is. Unlike Digital wellbeing, Flipd blocks all non-essential apps for a set amount of time to help to focus on life but allows you to make calls, send messages, use Google maps and calculator.

The time options include 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, 8 hours and 12 hours to allows maximum control. There’s a light option for those who believe in their self-control which creates a page on your phone. If another application is opened, the session is also closed.

For 190 cedis a year, Flipd provides weekly reports about your stats and keeps the for further reference.  I find it useful to Flipd my phone when I’m about to study and it really helps. When I use Flipd with digital wellbeing, I realized I spent less time on my phone and it really helped.

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If a game or social media app is taking too much time, Freedom is here to help. It is available on the iPhone and it allows you to create blocklists of applications and even schedule the blocklists. The block lists and schedules can be shared among your iPad and Mac. Sadly, it isn’t free, all features are available for a monthly fee of 35-40 cedis a month.

As our phones take a more central role in our lives, it is necessary to make sure they don’t end up controlling us and these apps do just that.


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