Tech Giants Launch ‘Digital Wellbeing’ Tools
It’s clear we’ve tapped into the current mood with our project Disconnect Day, as tech giants Apple and Google have both unveiled ‘digital wellbeing’ tools in the past few weeks, designed to help users reduce their screen time and find a healthier balance.
The new tools come after a backlash against tech companies for seemingly encouraging people to spend more time on their devices, with many apps including frequent notifications, infinite scrolling and other distracting features.
Google’s tools – for latest mobile operating system Android P – are very similar, with an ‘app dashboard’ to monitor usage and enhancements to the ‘do not disturb’ feature, including the option to mute visual app notifications as well as silence calls and texts. They have also published a Digital Wellbeing manifesto, stating that, “We’re committed to giving everyone the tools they need to develop their own sense of digital wellbeing. So that life, not the technology in it, stays front and center.”
Apple launches its latest operating system iOS12 later in the year, which will include new features to help users manage their screen time. This includes usage statistics on how much time they’ve spent using which apps, how many notifications they receive, how often they pick up their device and how their usage patterns compare to the average.
While the irony of using yet another digital app to monitor and reduce app usage is noted, the efforts made by both companies to counteract addictive behaviours is still a step in the right direction.
Both Android P and iOS12 won’t be launching until later this year, but if you need something to help you disconnect on the 21st June, see our post on the Bristol University student app Resist.