Spending too much time on your phone? Are you sure? Apple and Android have decided you are not to be trusted, and new dashboards will soon be implemented across both. These self-policing screen management tools will allow you to see how much screen time you’ve been getting, when, and on which platforms. They will enable you to set a predetermined “bedtime” and show you how many minutes you spend using your phone after you should be asleep.
Instagram will be jumping on the bandwagon too, with a built-in system designed to allow users to understand better how they use the app. This is not just a good PR stunt for Instagram and its parent company Facebook; it’s also responsible at a fundamental level. Instagram is one of the most popular, and abused, apps in the world. Seen by many as a “gateway app” it trains people, especially younger people, to use their phones at a very reactive level, something of which Facebook is inherently conscious.
Following ongoing scandals, social networks are keen to demonstrate their maturity and awareness of health issues as it relates to social media. Instagram CEO Kevin System retweeted a TechCrunch article, confirming the move,
“…we are building tools that will help the community know more about the time they spend on IG…
…understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it’s the responsibility of all companies, to be honest about this. We want to be part of the solution and I take that responsibility seriously.”
As screen time, and its impact on focus outside of technology becomes more important from a health standpoint, applications like this will be a powerful tool for parents, teachers and individuals who want to reduce their dependence on phones and tablets. From a commercial standpoint, this is a wise move for mitigating the inevitable backlash that will come about over the next few years, and getting on the front foot is something Apple does well. Hopefully, other companies and social media businesses will see the importance of being proactive in this area, not only for the sake of the health of the users but for the health of their companies also.