In March, thousands of people in the United States and internationally put away their phones for 24 hours to commemorate National Day of Unplugging, “a 24 hour global respite from technology”. But is it too little, too late?
Data shows without any doubt that the population is getting more and more addictive about using the smartphone all the time,for many people the first thing done in the morning after waking up being picking up their smartphones and checking the latest news on their favorite social media channels and apps.
At the moment there are already over 3.5 billion mobile internet users in the world, which represents almost half of the total population. The global share of mobile devices in online activity is 52.64%. It is estimated that every day we spend almost 3.5 hours using the Internet through mobile devices. In 2018 this time will be further extended. According to App Annie, more than 3.5 million applications are currently available on Google Play, while Apple App Store has over 2 million. According to Statista data, both stores last year recorded 197 billion downloads, and by 2021 this number will increase to over 350 billion. Analyzing the statistics, one can conclude that the generally known 80/20 rule also works in the case of mobile. 80% of the time we spend in this channel using 20% of mobile applications installed on the phone. The average user has 5 favorite applications. It is worth noting that the first most frequently downloaded application is active for 45% of the time, and the fifth one is only for 4%.
Deloitte surveyed 4,150 British adults in 2017 about their mobile habits, 38% said they thought they were using their smartphone too much. Among 16- to 24-year-olds, that rose to more than half. More than half (53%) of 16-75-year-olds in the UK use their smartphones while walking – the equivalent of around 22 million people – according to the latest research from Deloitte. For younger consumers aged 16-24, the proportion rises to 74%. Worryingly, more than 4.5 million people (11% of respondents) also admit to using their smartphones while crossing the road. This proportion almost doubles for 16-24-year-olds (21%).
Most people can relate to ‘smartphone zombies’, either through being one or bumping into one. But this is just one indication of just how infatuated we are with these devices, for better or worse. While we may be glued to our smartphones, it is important to acknowledge that these devices are also, increasingly, the glue that is binding society together, and will soon become the primary way to communicate, interact and transact with customers and fellow citizens, said Paul Lee, head of research for technology, media and telecoms at Deloitte.
Deloitte’s research shows that the UK’s continued love of smartphones continues to affect almost every aspect of daily life, including night-time. Among 16-19-year-olds, two-thirds (66%) check their phones in the middle of the night, double that of all UK respondents (33%). More than a quarter of ‘screenagers’ (26%) actively respond to messages they receive after falling asleep at night. More than a third (34%) of respondents look at their smartphones within five minutes of waking, and over half (55%) do so within a quarter of an hour. At the end of the day, more than three-quarters (79%) check their smartphones within the last hour before going to sleep.
At the same time, according to another Deloitte study, 47 percent of U.S. smartphone owners have made an effort to limit their phone use in the past. The most popular ways of trying to turn off are keeping the phone out of sight in a pocket and turning notifications off. The attraction for social media platforms remains hard to resist however: only 30 percent of smartphone owners have succeeded in reducing their phone time.
In this context, the new app called Siempo wants to “un-addict” you from your smartphone and its numerous attention-stealing apps. Siempo’s interface removes distractions and prevents you from getting sidetracked. The app also promises that you will get interruptions only when you want them, as it will batch all notifications to arrive at any interval or time of day that you desire.
“Siempo also leverages a number of design techniques to distance you from your distractions, including by unbranding app icons and turning them to greyscale. Plus, the launcher organizes apps into a tiered menu system where distracting apps are further away on a third page, and the location of those apps is randomized upon each visit to prevent unconscious opens and usage,” wrote TechCrunch.
Other apps that say they will help reducing the smartphone usage:
How much do you think you use your phone every day? 1 hour? 3 hours? Mute keeps you posted on: your daily screen time and pickups; the frequency you check your phone; and how long you can resist it’s pull! .
Moment sets daily limits on your usage and will even try to force you off the device with a barrage of notifications if you choose that option.
It locks you out of your favorite apps until you have completed your exercise goal. This means that instead of stalking someone’s Instagram, you’ll be greeted by a screen telling you how many more steps you have to take before you can even open the Instagram app.
It’s a personalized behavior change program designed to help you think about how you use your phone, and how it affects your life. It’s designed to help you to see the opportunities to put down your phone and to look up at the world around you.
This is a handy app for iOS users which inhibits you from accessing apps for an allocated period of time, allowing you to enjoy your meal. Users can set a timer, put down their phone, and “make dinner the place to be tech-free” for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour.
Aimed at students, Hold tracks how much time they spend not using their phone, and converts that into points to be redeemed for real-world rewards.
This app has a different approach: starting the app plants a virtual tree, which grows for as long as you don’t quit the app, but dies if you exit. Moreover, Forest team partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on the earth.
The app promises to reduce your smartphone overuse with the help of a personalized Al coach (i.e., a sympathetic bot called ‘O’), and forces users to confront the amount of time they’re spending on their phones. Simply enter your number at the “Get Started” prompt on the site and a download link will be sent to your device.