We talk a lot about how important parental controls are to put in place for your children, but often parents can have a technology addiction as well. Sometimes parents are even worse than their children! Learning to rein in our technology use is an important skill to learn at any age.
Apps To Help Break Cell Phone Addiction
There are quite a few apps that have popped up that promise to help break cell phone addiction. Mostly these apps will give you a reporting on how you are using your device, and how often you are spending on various applications.
This Android specific application can block all apps, notifications, calls, and texts for a specific amount of time. However, calls and texts from people on your VIP list will always go through. You can also go hardcore and enable Super Thrive Mode, which means you can’t access your phone or apps until Super Thrive Mode ends at the time you choose. Enabling this mode can really help you focus when you need to buckle down and get things done.
If you are really concerned about people trying to get a hold of you during your Thrive mode, an Auto Reply will let others know you’re taking time away from your phone, and when you will be available again. The app also allows you to create goals for how much you want to use specific apps and it will monitor your usage. If you feel you are using a certain app too much, you can set boundaries for them. Once you reach your limit for the particular application, it will lock you out of the app until the next day.
When you sign up for an account with Space it will ask you several questions about your current phone use. It will give you a personality type based on your answers. If you don’t think the personality quite fits you, you can toggle to the other personalities to see if one rings truer than the others. While I definitely identified with the first personality it gave me, another one fit even better, so I chose that one instead.
Based on your personality, the application will give you specific goals. For example, I was given the goal to only unlock my phone 30 times a day, and to USE my phone for 1 hr and 30 minutes a day. You might be shocked to find out how limiting that time is once you get going throughout the day. Those minutes here and there can add up VERY quickly.
Space will reward your efforts with badges and fun animations that let you know you have succeeded. Just as addicting as checking social media can be, you can also get the mental rewards with the badges you earn.
Although parents should be able to judge the kind of content they would like to see, sometimes they could decide that they would rather not see inappropriate content on their devices. Pornography addiction is very real, and there is scientific evidence on how it can be as addictive as a drug.
In order to combat this addiction, using parental control filters, even on parent devices, can be a great idea. The Spin browser provided by Boomerang is a filtered web browser that can help parents avoid accidental encounters with inappropriate content. You can also set a filter on the entire home’s wireless network through the wifi router or using a service like OpenDNS.com.
We should ALL be aware of the huge dangers that are posed by using your phone while driving a car. There are a few apps out there that will automatically enable a “drive mode” when your phone detects that you are in a car. If you just can’t resist a notification, even while driving, this is a GREAT way to combat that addiction. The DMV has a great breakdown of some of these applications.
Change Your Layout
The super colorful screen is actually a huge part of the appeal of smartphone devices. Sometimes you just can’t help but stare at the pretty. Whether its a sunset or a gorgeous group of pixels, the draw is still there. Changing your phone’s display to grayscale can actually help you check your phone and use it LESS! The grayscale setting can be found under the accessibility features of your phone.
Another way to change your phone’s appeal is to make it difficult to find apps. When you have super easy access to all of the apps you want to use, like shortcuts on your home screen, you could get distracted by notification numbers or decide you need to open another app before you put your phone down. Removing these shortcuts and forcing you to do a search for the app you want to use can help you avoid getting sucked into the smartphone void where you keep checking on different applications just because they are there.
Technology addiction is a real thing, not only for kids but parents as well. Even if you don’t think you are spending very much time on your devices, enable one of these solutions and see if your usage actually surprises you!