‘Screen Time’ Is My New Frenemy
The average amount of time I spend scrolling through Instagram every day is 17 minutes.
The first time I checked my activity on the app, I grossly overestimated the amount of time I actually spend on it. Having heard stories of people spending upwards of two hours endlessly scrolling, I thought I was going to be in for a rude awakening. But, it turned out that I was actually kind of proud. 17 minutes isn’t really that much, and compared to a lot of other people I was feeling pretty good about the time spent on my phone.
That is, until I realized that it was simply the time spent on Instagram that was so low, and the time spent on my phone in general is actually much, much higher.
I finally encountered that rude awakening I expected a few weeks ago when I started using Apple’s “Screen Time.” Located in the Setting app, it’s a tool I would recommend for anyone who wants to know how much time they’re actually spending with their phone.
Not only does it track the amount of time you spend looking at your screen each day, it breaks down your usage into categories like Social Networking and Productivity. It gives you a list of your most used apps and how long you spend on each one, how many times you pick up your phone per hour, and how many notifications you get each day. You can even look at a report from the last seven days that details your weekly totals.
But as interesting as all this information sounds, when you actually look at your own stats, its pretty horrifying.
I refuse to write down the amount of times I “pick up” my phone every day, because the number is actually appalling. What’s even more embarrassing is the ratio of “pickups” to notifications. The ratio is massive, as the former is unfortunately a lot larger than the latter. But that’s just a side note. The amount of time I actually spend on my phone per day (not just on Instagram) is an average of one hour and 26 minutes a day. It’s not too bad, but it’s not too great either. I guess the quick scrolls here and there, the checks between classes and the much-needed homework breaks really do add up quickly.
The false sense of superiority I felt with my 17 minute average has since been demolished.
It’s a blessing and a curse to know how much time you spend on your phone per day. It’s good to be transparent about your addiction, and to be aware of the exact portion of your day that you’re wasting away. But the bad part is, you have to feel bad about it.
One good thing, though, is that Screen Time also has a built-in way for you to remedy it. (Apple really does think of everything). The app also lets you set limits on the amount of time you can spend on each app, and get notifications sent to you when you’ve gone over your limit. I mean, when you’re on your phone all day there really is no better way to get your attention than with a notification.
So far, I’ve been too stubborn to put on any of these limits. I’ve thought that I could just kick my phone-overuse habit on my own. But maybe it’s time to get some help. I basically need an intervention for the 10 hours and 19 minutes a week I somehow spend on Social Networking apps. But maybe the two hours and 52 minutes I spend on Productivity apps make up for it? Either way, my love-hate relationship with Screen Time is going to end up benefiting me in the end.