One of our hands is just a little devil when it comes to our smartphone. It’ll just reach down, grab the little piece of technology, and start moving through apps before our brain even registers what is happening. But hey, there is a new way to stop it because, as a lot of us have found it, willpower isn’t cutting it.
Enter ZenScreen, an app that is going to help you from zonking out on your phone all damn day (and might stop that automatic hand from doing what it wants). The cross-platform application uses A.I. to analyze your behavior on your phone and computer before using that information to help you manage the time you spend on a device and ultimately create a “balanced digital diet.”
The Pyramid, from their website, offers a visual representation of how much time per category you should be spending on your phone:
ZenScreen categorizes all your app usage into either entertainment, education, or productivity (these are broken down further on the pyramid above).
From there, features like “Smart Mornings” will allow 10 minutes of entertainment apps before putting you on a 20-minute break (which will hopefully remind you to get going with your day). Some other features are “Daily Limit,” which limits your time spent on entertainment apps, as well as “Quiet Time” which is a digital timeout for “family time, dinner time, date night, homework, etc. Similar to the “Smart Mornings”, “Calm Nights” will restrict app use before bed.
Other features, like “Screen Sense”, won’t block your usage, but will give you a report on how long you’ve been on your device in the past hour and how much of the time was spent on useless stuff.
The app also features a digital assistant which will aid in breaking your smartphone addiction by, amongst other things, suggesting breaks, providing information on app usage, and restricting access to certain apps.
Nitin Bhandari, the co-founder and CEO, had been working on mobile browsers and apps prior the creating ZenScreen but was worried about the addictive quality of these operations. After attending a conference about making apps more addictive, he had had enough. He decided to use technology to help people break their habits instead of create them. He looked into apps that took a similar approach to restriction on device usage, but found they all followed a don’t even touch your phone method that he didn’t find practical. ZenScreen is set-up knowing that people will inevitably use their phones, but wants to help them do so in a more conscious manner.
ZenScreen is $3.99 per month, though “Quiet Time” and usage analytics can be accessed for free if you don’t care for all the features.
For more information on the app, you can visit the website here.
Cover Photo: Alexandre Godreau