I’ve been straight up ignoring weekly screen time notifications ever since I upgraded to a new device.
One reason is when I reach for my phone and I see it, there’s usually something more pressing or fun to attend to so I swipe it out of the way.
Another reason is I feel like the phone is both luring me in and judging me at the same time. It knows that I’ve been making a conscious effort to be less dependent on it. IT KNOWS.
I have taken steps to try ending this long term relationship and everything that it used to entail such as it being the first thing I look at when I wake up, checking it multiple times an hour, and staring at it again before bed. Witnessing a really cool experience through my own eyes? Forget it. At one time the viewing method of choice was through the phone screen while taking photos and videos. When I got my first smart phone around 2008ish, I referred to it as My Beloved. I’m over it. Kind of. We’re just friends now. Almost.
It still insists on sliding into my home screen with a tricky notification that wears a fancy hourglass icon. People recommend turning off notifications, but sometimes it’s not that simple.
I decided to take a closer look.
I did not expect to see such detailed stats. Scary stats. Who knew that it could track the number of times I pick up the damn thing? There are even opportunities for intervention. YOU CAN SET A LIMIT ON HOW MUCH YOU USE CERTAIN APPS. I didn’t know this.
It’s a mediocre report card that I’ll never be proud of. Calorie counting diet apps and fitness trackers I have dabbled in have a similar concept and feeling, but screen time numbers hit a little closer to home for me.
Much like report card grades, calorie totals, and physical activity data, the information is meaningless unless the user wants to make some lifestyle changes and take action. I do.
Knowing this information now, maybe there’s a real chance that I can enjoy more real life minutes during my day without being distracted by an object that has become such a “lifeline”.
Just the simple awareness of personal screen time data being logged is helping me to decrease the pickups and stay offline for longer chunks of time.
So I must say, it was very nice of my phone to let me know about my current habits so that I can start undoing years of addictive routines. I guess that’s what good friends do, even if they’re judge-y and have stalker-like tendencies. At least we don’t sleep next to each other anymore.
■ Elementary Educator for Equity & Cultural Responsibility
■ Collector of Small Moments & Thrifty Finds
■ Wife & Mother
■ Bay Area, CA