Discovering the Apple Screen Time Feature

Published: 06/03/2020 by Kayleigh Walter

Apple Screen Time is as interesting as is terrifying...

So I might be late to the party but I always wait a few weeks after Apple releases their latest updates so I can hopefully, avoid potential issues that could arise such as my battery draining. This is why I have only just discovered their latest ‘Screen Time’ feature and I must say, I only just updated my phone and I’m already a little terrified.

The basic idea of Apple IOS 12’s new feature is to help users get a better understanding of just how much time they spend on their iPhones, iPads and other electronic devices. It can tell you how much time you spend on specific apps and allows you to give yourself a certain amount of screen time each day, effectively locking you out of your phone while allowing a selected few of your chosen apps to get through the barrier.

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‍The new feature will be able to tell you how many notifications you receive by the hour as well as keeping track of how many times you pick up your phone - yep, every time you interact with the screen in some way is now kept track of and all I have to do is scroll through the information to see just how much time I spend on my phone.

In theory, it does sound like a good idea, it is also quite scary to think that my time and movement is now being monitored. I guess it’s not really much different than before, but now I can physically see and receive reports telling me where I’m spending my time and just how much time I spend using my phone.

I don’t know about you but I use my phone for an awful lot, I watch TV on my phone, I write on my phone, I do my job on my phone and now it’s scary to think about just how much time I spend on my phone. Before this feature was released it was easy to forget about it, now though, I am always thinking about the fact my time is being monitored.

According to my phone, as it stands now, I have spent 44 minutes on Social Media today, bearing in mind it’s only 10 am, that’s a lot! Considering, other than social posting, I don’t remember what I saw on those Social Channels, neither do I remember spending that much time on them - and it's only 10am!! How much time would I waste without realising it by using social apps throughout the day? The thought it terrifying, but lets find out!

I will check my statistics 4 times throughout the day to see how often I use my phone, if it was necessary or if I was just randomly scrolling through social to pass some time. Once I’ve collected the data I’ll write a brief summary and see just how much time I spent where and how much of it was time well spent. Below is a chart that will show you how many times I interacted with my phone all day.

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So, I checked in with my phone 4 times yesterday and the Results are incredibly terrifying, and it was a work day. I was crazy busy meaning I didn’t check my phone all that often. These results absolutely terrify me and have me scared as to just how much time I spend on my phone at the weekends. Another terrifying thought is that this app only monitors my phone usage, it doesn’t include any time I spend on my laptop.

Most of my time was spent using social channels, no surprise there, talking to friends on Facebook Messenger and aimlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I also spent a good half an hour of my day playing Disney Kingdoms - it’s a good game!

So it’s been a week now and I have hidden the Facebook App on my phone and I kid you not, it has made a huge difference. The only time I now spend on Facebook is when I have a notification, I’ve put a stop to the aimless scrolling because it was a complete waste of my time.

I do in fact use the screen lock filter, keeping most of my apps locked between 11 and 7 am to try and reduce my usage and other than my Disney Kingdoms game, it’s working! Netflix is a bit of a pain because it increases my screen time greatly, but if I choose to watch it on my phone, I guess that’s my own fault.

As scary as it sounds, we are now a digital obsessed society. We feel we always need to be up to date with everything, sharing the best images on Instagram and sharing fun videos with friends on Snap Chat.

The truth is we would rather text someone for hours on end then pick up the phone, I’m the same. We are a generation of Smart Phone Obsessed Users and I am excited to see how/if this new feature will have an impact on the way we use our phones.