If you were being honest with yourself, how many times a day would you say you looked at your smartphone? Once every couple of hours? Or is it more like once every 20 minutes?
According to technology maven Mary Meeker, the average smartphone user checks their phone 150 times a day. Since Mary’s report was published there have been questions regarding her data (or lack thereof), but is her estimation that far away from reality?
A new app designed by Polidea aims to help us reduce the amount of time we spend ‘wired in’ by encouraging us to take digital breaks. At first glance the app, which is called ‘Pause’, appears to be the definition of contradiction – an app to break app addiction, but could it work?
Pause has been developed with the goal of reconnecting us to real life by prompting us to set our phones to Airplane mode [sic] for a set amount of time. The app asks you to enter in what you plan to do instead (read a book, go for a walk, see a friend etc.) and then tracks how long you keep your phone on Airplane mode.
The Airplane setting on smartphones disconnects you from the Internet, sends any calls to voicemail and holds any texts or emails for you until you return. In today’s fast paced world many of us feel constantly switched on, whether we’re checking work emails on a Sunday morning or broadcasting to the world what we ate for breakfast. So in theory, the idea of pausing every now and then sounds appealing. But is an app the best way to do this?
Pause has added another facet to their design with a gamification element. The app uses a ranking system so you can connect and share your triumphs on your social networks – is this negating the point of Pause?
While the app may not have got it quite right, the idea behind it is a sound one. Digital addiction can take over your life, affecting far more than your well-being, and anything we can do to avoid developing an addiction can’t be all bad.
If you feel you need professional help for an addiction to the Internet or smartphone, seeing a counsellor could help you understand where the addiction stems from and how to tackle it. For more information, please see our Internet addiction page.
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