Need to put your phone down? There’s an app for that

November 11, 2014 : TECHFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Need to put your phone down There s an app for that

These days, smartphones aren't so much a useful tool as a national obsession. For many of us, it seems we can't go 30 seconds without checking our WhatsApp messages or posting something to Instagram, and any lull in the conversation is an excuse to whip out your handset and start tapping away.

Perhaps one reason for this is there's so much we can do on our phones these days. Both the iOS and Android app stores have hundreds of thousands of offerings letting you do everything from kill zombies to finish that work spreadsheet you've been putting off.

And for those who seriously struggle to leave their phone alone, there are even apps that purport to help you quit your technology addiction.

It might seem counter-intuitive – an app to stop you spending all your time using apps – but there are now several such solutions available, and their makers believe they can fulfil a real need.

Michael Dettbarn, co-founder of one such app, Offtime, told Reuters that even though we all love our gadgets, every once in a while we all need some time off.

However, he noted this can be hard when everyone is so connected, as even a few minutes offline can lead to people worrying that they're missing out.

"People are starting to notice they check their mobile devices all the time, not because they need to, but more out of habit. We want to help people become more aware of that," Mr Dettbarn said.

Offtime works by tracking an individual's usage, taking a note of what apps are most time-consuming. It also lets users decide how long they would like to stay unplugged and which contacts and apps they want to remain active while all others are temporarily blocked. When a user gets back online, they can see a list of whatever they missed.

And Offtime is far from the only choice for people looking to cut down on their smartphone usage. Another app, Checky, for instance, lets users know exactly how many times a day they look at their phone, while Moment allows iPhone owners to set limits on their daily usage.

Mr Dettbarn said that as digital technology becomes even more ubiquitous, thanks to devices like smartwatches, people will need to find some time for themselves. "It's not going to be tolerable to be distracted all the time, so we will need to come up with solutions," he added.

This entry was posted in TECH and tagged on by sarahstooks
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